After Hour: ASU Professor talks consulting on 'The Post'

ASU Professor Leonard Downie discusses his role on the set of the movie 'The Post'


The film “The Post” depicts the true story of The Washington Post journalists attempting to publish the Pentagon Papers, which disclosed damning information regarding the involvement of the U.S. government in the Vietnam War. 

ASU Professor Leonard Downie was a reporter for The Washington Post while that drama happened, so he was asked to be a consultant on the Oscar-nominated film. 

"It was definitely nostalgic," Downie said about being on the set.

"Watching them answer the phones, pressing down the buttons to get the right line and listening to the typewriters chatter away, yeah, it was very nostalgic."

Downie was brought to the film as a consultant, helping filmmakers more accurately represent the events surrounding the Pentagon Papers in 1971.  

Downie says he often consulted with the film's co-writer, Josh Singer, but also occasionally spoke with the film's director Stephen Spielberg.

Downie and Spielberg discussed ambitions for the film amid real-world tension between the press and the U.S. government.

“He made that clear in our conversations that he wanted to make a statement,” Downie said.

Downie did not interact with actress Meryl Streep, who he says was in character as Katharine Graham for the entirety of the production. Spielberg even called her by the name Katharine between takes.

"You did not go up and have small talk with her," Downie said. 

"With (Tom) Hanks, there was 'Hello' and 'How are you?' kinda stuff."

The movie "The Post" is in theaters now.


Listen to previous episodes:

After Hour: There's a cadaver lab on campus?

After Hour: Tempe's up-and-coming comic opens for Michael Che and Collin Jost

After Hour: A discussion with Cronkite's Director of Student Success Mary Cook


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