When the coronavirus pandemic started to make headlines earlier this year, many people returned to Contagion, Steven Soderbergh‘s excellent, and oddly prophetic 2011 movie about a deadly virus that starts sweeping through America. At times, elements from Scott Z. Burns‘ Contagion script felt like blueprints for our current predicament, so much so that the film found a whole new form of popularity and ended up on the top 10 on the iTunes movie rental chart nine years after it hit theaters. Now, as the plague year that was 2020 draws to a close, Soderbergh has revealed he and Burns are working on a Contagion sequel. Sort of.
Contagion was already an excellent movie to begin with, but 2020 made the film even more relevant – and scary. Sure, the virus at the heart of that 2011 movie was much worse than COVID-19, but the parallels were impossible to miss (especially a subplot involving Jude Law playing a wormy conspiracy theorist/blogger who lies about and exploits the virus for his own personal gain).
With Contagion being more popular than ever right now, it looks like director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns are ready to revisit it with a sequel. Well…kind of. Speaking with the Happy. Sad. Confused. podcast (via The Playlist), Soderbergh said that he and Burns are working on a “philosophical sequel” in a “different context”:
“I’ve got a project in development that Scott Burns is working with me on, that’s a kind of philosophical sequel to Contagion, but in a different context. You’ll kind of look at the two of them as kind of paired, but very different hair colors. So, Scott and I had been talking about, ‘So, what’s the next iteration of a Contagion-type story? We have been working on that; we should probably hot foot it a little bit.”
As to just what the movie will be about, well, that’s anyone’s guess. It’s probably safe to assume that the film isn’t going to be about another deadly virus, but will follow Contagion‘s formula of telling a sprawling story from several points of view. And that’s probably for the best, since making a direct sequel where Matt Damon’s character looks directly at the camera and says, “Another virus?! Here we go again!” would be kind of silly.
There’s not much else we know about this “philosophical sequel,” but Soderbergh likes to keep busy and work fast, so we’ll probably learn more soon.
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