Could ‘Contagion’ Really Happen?
Steven Soderbergh’s new thriller, Contagion, boasts plenty of big names – Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, and Laurence Fishburne, to name a few – but the real star of the film isn’t on the cast list and doesn’t speak a single line of dialogue.
In fact, Contagion’s main “character” isn’t a traditional one at all; rather, it’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 1995’s Outbreak and 2002’s 28 Days Later, but this one – which is grounded in science, not science fiction – may be the scariest yet.
Could “˜Contagion’ Really Happen?
In short, yes.
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Burns went to great lengths to make the movie “ultrarealistic.” 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 “not a matter of if, but when.”
Soderbergh and Burns’ main scientific advisor was Ian Lipkin, MD, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the Center for Disease Control’s National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee. Dr. Lipkin served as the film’s on-set consultant, offering counsel on everything from script rewrites to costume choices to lab protocol.