We're a week away from the kick off of the Venice Film Festival where Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" will make its world premiere and ten days after that, it will arrive in theaters nationwide. Boasting a "Traffic"-like sprawl, this thriller about a global viral pandemic is earning some advance buzz for being truly skin crawling and with the launch of the official website a few more pictures from the film have emerged, but perhaps most excitingly, there is a nice preview of Cliff Martinez's score buzzing the background. It's a wickedly propulsive piece of electronic music, punctuated by some nice melodic piano lines and if anything, it certainly sets the tone for what promises to be a fast-moving, pulse raising picture.
''You can avoid going into the ocean or taking a shower if 'Jaws' and 'Psycho' scare the s--- out of you,'' Steven Soderbergh told EW. ''You can't live a normal life without coming into contact with germs.''
“This film could do for elevator buttons and doorknobs what ‘Jaws’ did for going to the beach," he adds in the press notes for the film. And indeed, you may want to bring some hand sanitizer with you, when you head to the multiplex to see the film, because realism played a big part in the development of the screenplay.
Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns did extensive research with scientists and professors from Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, Skoll Global Threats Fund and The Global Viral Forecasting Initiative in order to present a realistic portrayal of what might happen if something like this should ever happen. “I think it’s always compelling to watch people struggling with a real-world problem, especially one with a ticking clock, where the stakes couldn’t be any higher,” Soderbergh said.
“...we didn’t have to make anything up that wasn’t true, in a sense, to make it a more terrifying ride,” said produer Gergory Jacobs, stressing the importance of placing the film in a real world setting. “I love a good zombie movie, but we know that’s not real. The impact here comes from dealing with a horror set in our own backyards that manifests, at first, like the common cold. People look normal, they’re functional, so they move around and spread it without being aware. No one realizes there’s cause for concern until they’re critical. And by then it’s too late.”
Though boasting a strong ensemble cast, the story is essentially told through the prism of there characters: everyman Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon), who loses his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and stepson to virus and remains committed to protecting his teenage daughter; CDC Deputy Director Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) who tries desperately to adapt to the fast moving virus in an effort to protect the public and freelance journalist/blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) whose breathless and alarming reporting becomes the information hub for many struggling to understand what is happening.
Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, John Hawkes, Elliott Gould, Demetri Martin and Jennifer Ehle round out the cast which will infect your local movie house on September 9th.