Trump White House Asks to Screen Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' (Exclusive)
The period drama about 'The Washington Post' stars two of Trump's Hollywood critics, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.
This weekend, filmmaker Steven Spielberg's The Post expands into additional theaters — including the White House.
President Donald Trump's team has requested, and been granted, access to the 20th Century Fox political drama for both 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and Camp David, where the president is scheduled to host a summit on Saturday and Sunday with top GOP lawmakers.
For decades, Hollywood has provided movies for the first family or White House staff to watch, when asked. Continuing that tradition, sources say the Trump White House has been fed a steady diet of new releases. That doesn't mean, however, that Trump himself is engaging.
Nevertheless, there's a certain amount of irony to The Post ask. Stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are critics of the commander in chief, while Spielberg says he rushed to make the movie to remind people of the importance of the First Amendment amid the current political climate and Trump's repeated attacks on the media.
The White House — otherwise consumed by Michael Wolff's tell-all book on Trump's first year in office — didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Post is an awards frontrunner that is up for six Golden Globe awards at Sunday's ceremony. The film has prospered since launching in nine theaters in New York, Los Angeles and D.C. on Dec. 22, posting the highest screen average of the year-end holidays ($83,000-$85,000) and earning a weighty $2 million to date.
Set in 1971, The Post recounts the decision by The Washington Post to publish the top-secret Pentagon Papers and the newspaper's ensuing legal victory over the Nixon administration. Spielberg's movie is also a tale of feminism. Publishing the Pentagon Papers was a defining moment for then-Post publisher Katharine Graham (Streep), as she cemented her standing in a man's world. Hank plays legendary editor Ben Bradlee.
In an earlier interview with THR, Hanks said he would have to decline any invitation to watch the movie at the Trump White House. "I would not have been able to imagine that we would be living in a country where neo-Nazis are doing torchlight parades in Charlottesville [Virginia] and jokes about Pocahontas are being made in front of the Navajo code talkers. And individually we have to decide when we take to the ramparts. You don't take to the ramparts necessarily right away, but you do have to start weighing things. You may think: 'You know what? I think now is the time,'" the actor said.
At last year's Globes ceremony, Streep ravaged Trump during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In turn, Trump derided Streep in a series of tweets, calling her "over-rated" and a "Hillary flunky."
On Friday, The Post will be playing in a total of 37 theaters as it prepares to rollout nationwide on Jan. 12.
Amy Pascal, who produced the film with Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, said The Post is crossing party lines, and that a number of top Republicans attended a special Washington, D.C. screening and party hosted by the Graham family, including Kellyanne Conway, special counselor to President Trump. The soiree was held the night following the official D.C. premiere.
"They completely loved the movie, because the movie is about America and the movie is about the truth. This movie is for everyone. Kellyanne loved it, too, and danced all night with [Post co-writer] Josh Singer," Pascal told THR earlier this week.
"I think it has been an unspoken truth in Hollywood that people are scared to make movies about politics. The Post is proof that this isn’t true," said Pascal, who formerly ran Sony's film studio. "And the idea of a woman finding her voice is as relevant as politics in the movie."