NEW YORK — While Tracy Letts and Carrie Coon both have very busy acting careers, the married Chicago residents don’t often work together — especially in a big budget, high-profile film like “The Post” (opening Friday). The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, focuses on the Washington Post’s historic decision to print the secret Vietnam War “Pentagon Papers” in 1971. Letts portrays Post board chairman Fritz Beebe and Coon plays Meg Greenfield, the paper’s editorial page editor.
Letts chuckled about how it was “great fun to have breakfast with Carrie, to be on the set together, share both the makeup trailer and a few scenes in the film.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Tony-winning actor also noted his wife “was just about the only person involved in this film who didn’t exhibit the insecurities that the rest of us had about tackling such a nerve-wracking proposition — and that included Tom [Hanks], Meryl [Streep] and Steven!
“We all were nervous about doing it right and portraying the people we play as accurately as possible, but Carrie seemed impervious to all that.”
Coon, for her part, shrugged off her husband’s compliment, simply saying, “It was a great, rare pleasure for us to be together in the same city to work together.”
Both Beebe and Greenfield are deceased, and the actors regret they never had a chance to chat with the important figures. For Letts, he would have liked to ask Beebe “if the devotion to [publisher] Kay Graham shown us in the film’s script was because of his personal affection for her, or was because he regarded it as simply fulfilling his duties as the chairman of the board of the Washington Post Co.”
In the case of Coon, she would have liked to understand how Greenfield — long a solitary woman in a male-dominated newsroom — finally became aware of the women’s rights movement, and its impact on journalism.
• Naperville North gradBob Odenkirk portrays a key player in Pentagon Papers case: veteran Post reporter Ben Bagdikian. The actor noted a certain irony that “The Post” showcases the Nixon Administration’s anti-media bias and is being released as the current Trump Administration condemns many media outlets. “Of course, there is a big difference. Nixon’s comments were mainly expressed in private inside the White House, where today Trump openly and publicly denounces the media.”
As for portraying Bagdikian, Odenkirk admitted “I am very happy to portray a journalist who had a strong sense of the values of journalism and the ideals of it. This film shows a newsroom of adult professionals all engaged in that pursuit, and vigorously arguing the constitutional value of it.”