How Steven Spielberg Beat The Odds To Deliver The Post In Just Seven Months

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks in The Post

Steven Spielberg turned 71 earlier this week, celebrating a birthday on December 18. Don't suggest to the legendary filmmaker that he's slowing down in his older age, though. The director has a new drama reaching theaters this holiday season titled The Post, and it's one of the most important features you'll see this year. And if you can believe it, he started the movie in May... delivering it to theaters after only 7 months. What?! When we had the opportunity to interview the ensemble for The Post, we asked them how Spielberg pulled off this insane feat of economical Hollywood movie-making, and co-star Sarah Paulson explained:

The only thing I noticed in an immediate way was Steven Spielberg, every time there was any down time in between any set ups, was in his trailer editing. So there was a lot of that happening. He said that the minute the movie was over, he was going right... I think they were backing up an editing bay into his driveway of where he was going to be, having a tiny little bit of a respite and a vacation, and they were going to bring the editing bay to him. Because there was that much urgency. So, in between set ups, Spielberg was working.

The Post tells the story of the staff of The Washington Post, led by esteemed executive editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), and their mission to acquire and publish the Pentagon Papers -- documents that showed our government as being dishonest in their summation of the ongoing war in Vietnam. As Bradlee and his team worked to unearth the truth, Washington Post publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) was wrestling with the legality of publishing documents the current administration, under President Nixon, didn't want to go public. It's an urgent story, with contemporary ties, and one that Steven Spielberg felt needed to be told sooner rather than later.

Because of that, Spielberg launched production on The Post in May, working off of a screenplay by Liz Hannah (and a polish by Spotlight scribe Josh Singer). And he's racing the clock to get The Post into theaters by December -- long before his own Ready Player One will open (even though he started that MONTHS before The Post).

When we asked The Post co-star Carrie Coon if the urgency to deliver created a rushed tension on Steven Spielberg's set, she clarified:

No, there was no rush to the process when you are making it. If anything, the rush happens when you... you know, I got my job very late, so I only got a few weeks to prepare. You don't have a lot of time to luxuriate and research. You just have to know your stuff and show up and do your lines. But it was fun to be with everyone. But I didn't feel like the actual process was rushed, itself.

The veterans of show business, the iconic directors who are still in their prime, are accomplishing mind-blowing feats in their older ages. Sir Ridley Scott replaced Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World, and the process only took a few weeks. And here's Steven Spielberg, entering into production on The Post in May, then getting it into theaters seven months later. It's beyond admirable. It's legendary. Here are Carrie Coon and Sarah Paulson, praising their director:

The Post will open in select theaters on December 22, so it can qualify for an Oscar run. It will expand to more theaters on January 12. And it's a must-see masterpiece that we expect to be talking about all Oscar-season long.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.