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‘The Post’ Producer Amy Pascal on What Happens in a World of ‘Women Not Speaking Up’

”In this woman finding her voice, the country found theirs,“ Pascal tells TheWrap of Kay Graham, portrayed by Meryl Streep

“The Post” is billed as a movie championing the power of the press, but it’s as much about how Katharine “Kay” Graham, a woman in a male-dominated publishing world in 1971, spoke up and made a difference.

“It was a story about a woman finding her voice,” producer Amy Pascal said in an interview with TheWrap’s CEO and Editor in Chief Sharon Waxman. “And in this woman finding her voice, the country found theirs. That really spoke to me, and I related to the idea of how hard it is to speak up.”

Pascal read screenwriter Liz Hannah’s script in October 2016, just before the presidential election — and bought it that day. But when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, everything changed.

“1971, it’s not that different from 2017 in many ways,” Pascal said. “I think that the culture in our world that is created by women not speaking up about all sorts of things, not speaking up about what they feel, feeling dismissed and overlooked — leads to the kind of culture that we find ourselves in now.”

There’s a scene in “The Post” where Graham, played by Meryl Streep, is sitting in a board room full of men. She knows the answer to a question, but is intimidated to speak up. She whispers and demurs while a man chimes in with the answer and takes the credit.

As the head of Sony from 2006 to 2015, Pascal could relate to Graham’s fight to be heard. But that power and confidence shouldn’t be limited to women in positions of authority.

“It’s more than the voice that your job gives you,” she told Waxman. “It’s the way you conduct yourself all the time. It’s the way you are in meetings. It’s the way you stand up for yourself in all sorts of small ways. This issue speaks to everything.”

Producer Kristie Macosko Krieger said that when she and Steven Spielberg saw the script, they felt the need for a feel-good movie in 2017, one that could start a discussion between men and women, Republicans and Democrats alike.

“This movie is giving everyone a voice, Republicans, Democrats, to say — the truth matters,” Macosko Krieger said. “We care about the truth. We care about a free press. All of this matters to us. That makes me feel really hopeful for the future. And I haven’t felt hopeful for a long time.”

“I feel really hopeful too,” Pascal added. “I think there’s a sea of change that’s occurring. It’s always one step forward, two steps forward, three steps back. It’s slow, it doesn’t go in a straight line. But it sure feels to me like things are changing in a way I’ve never experienced before.”

“The Post” starring Streep and Tom Hanks is currently in theaters.

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