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Soderbergh's Contagion revealed

StevenSoderbergh.jpgDetails of Steven Soderbergh's upcoming film Contagion have finally been revealed after the script has been read. The film tells the story of the outbreak and spread of a virus across the globe and how it travels and affects the world population.

There has been a lot said about how this film is going to look and be made, but not much in terms of hard facts, and very little in terms of plot line, we just know that there will be a big cast.

The comments coming out of the script reading are full of praise, in fact more than that it's nigh on worship for the story, so this could indeed turn out to be something special.

Here are a few comments from the review of Scott Z. Burns' script at The Playlist:

”...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...

...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.”

I thought those two direct quotes would say it all rather than me writing it with my spin on it. It sounds superb from that write up. What's more is that they have a break down of how the casting is set to fall.

I'm not going to give too much away, as it does reveal some spoilers, but the basic premise is that on a flight three people fall ill, one of them is a main character played by Beth Emhoff. She returns home and is cared for by her husband who soon has to look after their step-daughter too. From here the virus spreads through their neighbourhood, going through the schools being passed from child to child, and then Thanksgiving weekend hits.

That means lots of travel, people enclosed within planes to breed and pass the virus easily, and with plenty of people out shopping – it's one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year for America – the virus spreads like wildfire.

With all the travel and people taking holidays coming in and out of America on Thanksgiving, it goes international. Apparently the scope of the film is enormous, covering more countries than have ever been tackled in a film before.

Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow play the Eminhoff family, and it's their home that becomes a focus of investigation by the Centre for Disease Control team comprising of the head of the CDC played by Laurence Fishburne and his colleague played by Kate Winslet.

Marion Cotillard plays doctor in the World Health Organisation who heads to Japan to investigate the outbreak there and how it began.

Meanwhile the information spread storyline is examined with Jude Law playing a blogger (sorry guys, I've yet to meet a blogger who looks like Jude Law!) who becomes the main source of information on the viral spread, both true and false. It just so happens that the blogger is a conspiracy theorist as well, how convenient that he's not a level headed, truthful blogger!

The film is also set to explore the bureaucracy, politics and sheer greed that halts the investigation and prevention of the spread of the virus. Whereby agencies don't share information, lawyers get involved with the courts and so on.

What's great is that it isn't described as anything else than a mystery, investigating the virus that is causing widespread panic and deaths, although like many of the recent outbreaks of viruses there are plenty of people who survive and who aren't infected, this isn't a planet killer. The film follows the search for patient zero, to try and identify where the disease came from, find a cure, and distribute it.

It does sound epic, in both what it's trying to cover and how many threads it seems to pull together, although I'm not sure the script really covers all this. The Playlist have an update saying that they got two characters wrong, which suggests that either their draft had completely changed or they were working off a short treatment or notes that they were given. It suggests that they haven't actually seen the complete, final script, so maybe things have been paired back since then?

Perhaps the film has become a little less ambitious and is going to concentrate on key threads, which sound like four at the moment – information spread, investigation in America, investigation in Japan, and the bureaucracy around it all.

Whatever it decides to focus on, it sounds superb and I'm so keen to see it made into a film and to carry through the themes that the read through promises, and it's not as if Steven Soderbergh couldn't pull this off is it?

What do you think? How does that sound to you?



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