• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:February 27, 2022

Contagion

NOTHING SPREADS LIKE FEAR.

Gwyneth Paltrow. Photo: Warner

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns from a trip to Hong Kong, sheā€™s caught a cold that quickly turns out to be something much worse ā€“ and the start of a global pandemic.Ā A good example of hyperlink cinema, where we are introduced to multiple characters and storylines, a jumbled narrative and a worldwide perspective, linked together by a common theme. The filmmakers aim to show what would happen if the most serious pandemic since the Spanish flu strikes and do so in a scientific, matter-of-fact way. Similar to the directorā€™sĀ TrafficĀ (2000); not always successful in its portrayal of the characters, but horrifying and well-conceived.

2011-U.S. 106 min. Color.Ā Produced byĀ Gregory Jacobs, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher.Ā Directed and photographed byĀ Steven Soderbergh.Ā Screenplay:Ā Scott Z. Burns.Ā Cast:Ā Matt Damon (Mitch Emhoff),Ā Gwyneth Paltrow (Beth Emhoff), Laurence Fishburne (Ellis Cheever), Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law…Ā Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould.

Trivia:Ā Jennifer Connelly was allegedly considered for a part.

Last word: “Scott [Z. Burns] and I were about to go into meet with Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher to close the deal to make a movie about Leni Riefenstahl. They had the Stephen Bach book, which is very good. Scott and I had a really, really interesting take on this, like a very radical interesting take on how to do this, and we were supposed to meet to talk about the pitch, like ‘Hereā€™s what we are going to do.’ And suddenly I go, ‘I donā€™t want to do this. Nobody is going to go see this.’ I go, ‘We are going to spend twenty-eight million bucks and two years of our lives, and nobody is going to want to see this, not even our friends. Iā€™m not going to do it. Iā€™ve done that. I donā€™t want to do that again. Iā€™m too old.’ I literally said [to Burns], ‘What else have you got?’ And he goes ‘I want to do an ultra-realistic pandemic film.’ I said, ‘Letā€™s go pitch that instead,’ and thatā€™s what we did.” (Soderbergh, Ain’t It Cool)

 

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