Steven Soderbergh is working on a sequel to pandemic drama 'Contagion'

Ben Arnold
·3-min read

Watch: Jude Law was warned about pandemic when making Contagion

Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns are working on a 'philosophical' sequel to their harrowing 2011 pandemic drama Contagion.

Speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Soderbergh confirmed the plans, but added that it won't be a direct sequel 'in a literal sense'.

“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,” he said.

Read more: Hanks says cinemas will survive pandemic

“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.”

Contagion (Credit: Warner Bros)
Contagion (Credit: Warner Bros)

The first movie was inspired by a combination of the 2002 outbreak of SARS and the 2009 flu pandemic.

It found Gwyneth Paltrow's travelling businesswoman at the centre of a deadly virus outbreak, with Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet as the virologists and epidemiologists fighting to trace and contain the disease.

Read more: Soderbergh came close to directing a Bond movie

In a prescient piece of storytelling, Jude Law played a charlatan conspiracy theorist who seeds panic in order to profit from it.

The movie received renewed interest in March this year, as it climbed the iTunes chart in the wake of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 26: Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (L) and director Steven Soderbergh attend the "The Report" Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 26, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Scott Z. Burns and Steven Soderbergh at the Sundance Film Festival, 2019 (Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

It climbed into the top ten, having been in 270th place at the same time the previous year.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Scott Burns said: “It is sad, and it is frustrating. Sad because so many people are dying and getting sick. Frustrating because people still don’t seem to grasp the situation we are now in and how it could have been avoided by properly funding the science around all of this.

“It is also surreal to me that people from all over the world write to me asking how I knew it would involve a bat or how I knew the term 'social distancing'. I didn’t have a crystal ball — I had access to great expertise. So, if people find the movie to be accurate, it should give them confidence in the public health experts who are out there right now trying to guide us.

“People also want to know what I think will happen next. My sense is that we are still very much in the first act of this story — how it will go from here depends on how both the people and the government react in the days ahead. I never contemplated a federal response that was so ignorant, misguided and full of dangerous information. I thought our leaders were sworn to protect us. I don’t get to write this story this time. This is a story we are all writing together.”

Watch: Contagion cast reunites to warn against COVID-19