Director Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “The Post,” comes to select theatres Jan. 12 to tell the story of the country’s first female publisher and her editor at the Washington Post during the tumultuous decision to release the Pentagon Papers.

The thrilling drama stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee respectively, and the characters’ race with the New York Times to uncover controversial U.S. government secrets.

“You got to start somewhere to be able to gain all kinds of progress, all sorts of insurances for our freedoms and the Pentagon Papers was an audacious never meant to be released publicly study of the fact that the entire Vietnam War under four presidential administrations was a complete lie,” Hanks said.

At once, Graham and Bradlee were forced to work together to expose three decades of government corruption under four U.S. presidents, and risk their careers and even imprisonment in their fight for truth and freedom of the press.

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“The Post” aims to fill the information gap in pop culture regarding the release of the Pentagon Papers, and the figureheads that guided their revolutionary decision. Following the well-known 1976 movie, “All the President’s Men,” the general public had little knowledge about Graham’s legacy outside of history classes.

“So I thought, what a wonderful woman, what an emblematic life and what a great opportunity to try to give her to the world because you know the film that we know about that time is ‘All The President’s Men’ and … she’s hardly in there,” Streep said.

“All the President’s Men” instead followed the story of reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and made little reference to the woman leading the publication.

Through this, “The Post” acts as a precursor of sorts to the 1976 film, but Spielberg believes the film is so much more than that.

“I think it’s a stand alone piece of reflective history about how this woman, Katharine Graham, came into her own and found her voice, finally,” Spielberg said. “And that voice led to a tremendous explosion of courage and faith in the free press and faith in each other that allowed Bradlee to release Woodward and Bernstein to pursue the truth with the plumbers and leading up to everybody  … [H.R.] Haldeman and then [Richard] Nixon.”

The script, originally written by Liz Hannah (with later work done by Josh Singer, writer of “Spotlight”), uses themes of risk, perseverance and inspiration to guide the story.

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Because of its female focus, it was important to Spielberg to include women’s perspectives at the forefront of not only its writing, but its production and execution as well.

“And the important thing about all of this was, this is a very women set up,” Spielberg said. “I got two women producers on this, I got Kristie Macosko Krieger, I got Amy Pascal. You know this is a very women centric story.”

At its core, “The Post’ aims to provide not only an accurate recollection of the history behind the Pentagon Papers, but also pulls on common knowledge of the current political climate to generate commentary on freedom of the press at large.

The truth can sometimes be ugly. But at a time where the political climate challenges the efforts made to uncover these truths and hold public officials accountable for their actions — investigative journalism matters more than ever.

“…Because sometimes bad news, makes [a] good newspaper,” Streep said.