Could ‘Contagion’ Really Happen?
Steven Soderberghâ€™s new thriller, Contagion, boasts plenty of big names â€” Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, and Laurence Fishburne, to name a few â€” but the real star of the film isnâ€™t on the cast list and doesnâ€™t speak a single line of dialogue.
In fact, Contagionâ€™s main â€œcharacterâ€ isnâ€™t a traditional one at all; rather, itâ€™s a lethal flu-like virus that triggers a global panic as it threatens to wipe out millions of people worldwide. Moviegoers have seen similar threats in films like 1995â€™s Outbreak and 2002â€™s 28 Days Later, but this one â€” which is grounded in science, not science fiction â€” may be the scariest yet.
Could â€˜Contagionâ€™ Really Happen?
In short, yes.
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Burns went to great lengths to make the movie â€œultrarealistic.â€ Operating on the belief that truth is stranger than fiction, they sought advice from various experts and public officials, all of whom, according to Burns, said that a real global pandemic was â€œnot a matter of if, but when.â€
Soderbergh and Burnsâ€™ main scientific advisor was Ian Lipkin, MD, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia Universityâ€™s Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the Center for Disease Controlâ€™s National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee. Dr. Lipkin served as the filmâ€™s on-set consultant, offering counsel on everything from script rewrites to costume choices to lab protocol.