Contagion: Soderbergh’s 2011 Prophetic Movie Vs. the Coronavirus

The thematic similarities between Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 epidemiology thriller, Contagion, and the coronavirus indicate of how timely and even prophetic some movies could be.

In both cases, the outbreaks started in China. Both reel and real life cases might have involved an infected bat. Both spread rapidly across the globe, killing victims with flu-like symptoms.

The big difference is that in the film Contagion, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character was revealed to be patient zero.

The similarities between the plot of Soderbergh’s 2011 epidemiology thriller and the real-life spread of the deadly coronavirus, which recently was categorized as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, are scary and shocking.

Contagion recently hit No. 10 on iTunes, just behind Oscar nominees Joker and Parasite.

“On one hand, someone might say, ‘That’s uncanny!” writer Scott Burns told the Hollywood Reporter. “But I’m not that surprised because when I spoke to experts in this field, they all said to me that it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when. What I learned from these scientists is that these things are going to happen.”

Burns is still in regular contact with doctors W. Ian Lipkin and Larry Brilliant, whom the writer became friends with they served as scientific consultants on the film.  Lipkin has said that he’s en route to China to help out with the situation.

That commitment to ground the plot in fact is precisely why the film is resonating now, says producer Stacey Sher. “Soderbergh and Burns’ conception was to make an extremely accurate film that dealt with actual protocols and science.”