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She decided to focus on Graham’s involvement with the release of the Pentagon Papers, first printed in the New York Times . After an injunction prevented the Times from continuing to publish, the Post stepped in and began publishing the shocking, game- changing material. Graham unexpectedly became publisher of the Post after her husband, whomher father gave control of the paper to, committed suicide. The film shows her grappling with the biggest decision of her life: To publish, and potentially incur the wrath of the government, or to stay silent. This movie shows the importance of the free press to the life of a democracy, but it’s also a very personal story about a woman who was trained to be a wife becoming the main character in her own story. We see her stepping up and entering rooms that are full of patronizing men – it’s no wonder she’s shown shaking and stumbling over her words every time she needs to speak. Her judgmental audience is just waiting for an excuse to dismiss and demean her. “The Post” is a movie about a woman who finds her voice and saves democracy in the process. “Ultimately, Kay is an underdog,” says Hannah. “She was someone who was told that she was never good enough to do what she wanted to do. She was someone who had the answers but no one looked to her when they had questions.” She stresses the universality of the story, and notes that “being ignored or belittled is something that I think everyone at any age, any gender, has experienced.” That being said, Hannah believes it’s a particularly important “time for women’s stories.” She says that “it feels like in the past year, the tidehas beenshifting. Just lookatwhat people are watching, be it film or television. There is a thirst for women to step up and have their voices heard.” On social media, Hannah has voiced her support of #TimesUp, calling for an end to sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. The movement seeks to address these problems in Hollywood as well as less publicized industries. Among her upcoming projects is an anthology series based on Ann Shen’s 2016 non-fiction book “Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World.” Every episode of the project will be written and directed by women. “With ‘Bad Girls’ we saw an opportunity to not only tell the stories of so many women

that often go overlooked, but also to give voice to female writers and directors who have been overlooked themselves,” Hannah explains. Women accounted for just 11 percent of writers and 11 percent of directors on the top 250 highest-grossing films of 2017, according to research from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film. Hannah says that Shen “did an incredible

more global fear. And concern for what this event meant for the country and the world.” She observed, “So much of that day has come to signify the 17 years that followed. And because of that, I never dove into the events of that day from the perspective of the people who were running our country. I honestly never took a moment to stop and realize that yes, they were the leaders, but they were also Americans; they were also fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. Reading Garrett’s article was the first time I ever considered putting myself in their shoes and it offered me a profound sense of closure about that day.” Hannah lived in Westport from the ages of four to 17. “I had a bit of a split existence there; my mother lived in Westport, my father in New York. So I would often go to school and then spend my weekends in the city,” she says. “It was nice having access to both experiences. Westport specifically influenced me through the theater department at my high school, Staples Players, and our theater in town, The Westport Country Playhouse. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward ran the playhouse together and would give us tickets to come see rehearsals of readings, sneak previews of shows, and they would talk to us.” The conversations proved to be invaluable for Hannah, since they talked “about story and structure and any number of things that as a 15-year-old you don’t often think about” – subjects that screenwriters never stop thinking about. It was just over a year-and-a-half ago that Liz Hannah was hoping to secure an agent, and suddenly her first screenwriting credit landed her a seat at the Oscars this past March. What makes Hannah’s Hollywood fairy tale so much sweeter is the fact that “The Post” isn’t her happy ending. It’s just the beginning. --- Laura Berger is the Senior Editor at Women and Hollywood. Melissa Silverstein is the Founder and Publisher of Women and Hollywood. * WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 63

This movie shows the importance of the free press to the life of a democracy, but it’s also a very personal story about a woman who was trained to be a wife becoming the main character in her own story.

job showcasing a group of diverse, unique women” in “Bad Girls” – “some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. It’s hard to pick a favorite,” she admits. “But I’ve found myself diving into the stories of Ada Lovelace, Belva Lockwood, Sojourner Truth, Marlene Sanders and Angela Davis. And Oprah.” Hannah will also write “Only Plane in the Sky,” an MGM drama that takes place on Air Force One in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Inspired by a Politico article by Garrett Graff, the project follows former U.S. President George W. Bush and his team as they are transported from a Florida schoolroom to onboard Air Force One, considered the safest place to be following the terrorist attacks in New York City. Hannah was just 15 years old and living in Westport, Connecticut at the time. “My father lived ten blocks away from the towers and my sister often worked in that area,” she recalls. “The feeling I can most articulately contextualize about my memory of that day is simply fear. Personal fear for my family – who were OK and able to get out of the city – and friends, but also a much

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