We reported earlier this year that Steven Soderbergh’s next directing gig after he’s finished with Knockout is a new film from a script written by Scott Z. Burns called Contagion. We did know much about the story other than the film centers on a deadly disease with multiple plotlines in the same style as Soderbergh's Traffic, and that it has an incredible cast of actors which includes, Matt Damon, KateWinslet, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
Now we have a good amount of new information to share with you on this film. It will revolve around the possibility of a crazy strand of a killer virus like the H1N1 that is spreading across the world killing hundreds of thousands of people. The story explores what would people do in this situation, how would they react? Everything from Homeland security to your next door neighbor. You’ve seen how the people panic when word gets out there is a new virus killing people. The news media blows it up and people start getting a little crazy. My first thought is this movie is kind of like that 90’s film Outbreak wih Dustin Hoffman except that movie was more action packed and contained, this movie goes global.
The Playlist recently got their hands on a script for the film and they offer a good amount of details on what this movie is about and how the actors cast in the film will end up playing. Here are a few excerpts from their script review that don't give any of the major plot details away but it's enough to get you excited about the movie.
Well, if you took the breadth and scope of "Traffic" or "Syriana," tidied up the writing, and found a subject matter that terrified you relentlessly for two hours, you'd have something close to "Contagion." Burns, who wrote the script for the previous Soderbergh/Damon collaboration "The Informant," as well as "The Bourne Ultimatum," has clearly done an enormous amount of research, and it's thoroughly, horrifyingly conceivable throughout, but it's also as much about the way that information can spread virally in the Web 2.0 age, as it is about the spread of the virus. Burns ties these dual themes together in the final pages, the two dovetailing in a hugely satisfying way.
It's certainly a thriller in tone, and an extremely tense one at that, but anyone expecting "Outbreak"-style action sequences should look elsewhere; it's really more of a mystery, almost a detective story, as the various characters desperately search for the "index patient," and a vaccine for the virus. That said, some who've read the script, perhaps misled by loglines or the presence of 'Bourne' writer Scott Z. Burns, have lamented this lack of quote unquote "action," but this is missing the point — the propulsive momentum of the script provides equally intense white knuckle thrills of the purest kind, without resorting to car chases or men beating each other up with rolled up magazines.
The film is a race against time, the stakes are incredibly high throughout the film, and Burns' script never lets up — you're never allowed the opportunity to stop and catch your breath, which gives it a tight focus lacking in Stephen Gaghan's writing on "Traffic" and "Syriana." This isn't to say that there's a lack of texture or emotion to the film (the latter in particular is something that people often complain about in regards to Soderbergh's work); while its certainly procedural in tone, there are plenty of sequences of humanity sprinkled through the script that tethers the tale in the hear and now.
As for the characters in the film:
- Gwyneth Paltrow plays Matt Damon’s wife Beth Emhoff who is infected with the virus.
- Matt Damon Plays Thomas Emhoff who is forced to care for his infected wife.
- Laurence Fishburne plays Dr. Ellis Cheever from the head of the Center for Disease Control.
- Kate Winslet plays Cheever’s colleague Dr. Erin Mears battling to find a cure for the disease.
- Marion Cotillard plays the European doctor Leonora Orantes who works for the World Health Organization.
- Jude Law will play Alan Krumwiede a truthseeking blogger with an unfortunate interest in conspiracy theories, who is responsible for spreading information about the disease, both true and false, around the world.
Sounds like it's gonna be pretty freakin incredible film! I love movies like this that are awesomely intense and keep me on the edge of my seat. After reading the full review, which I suggest you do too, this movie is going to have a more realist and natural tone to what is happening. It’s not going to go overboard, like if Roland Emmerich was to direct it. You’ve seen what Soderbergh has done in his films, the guy is a great director that knows how to tell a great story. I really like what I’m hearing about this movie so far, and I can't wait to see it brought to life.
Make sure you head on over to The Playlist to read the full script review if you want to know some more story details.