From quarantines to empty airports, did 'Contagion' 'predict' coronavirus in 2011?

The movie was directed by Steven Soderbergh

contagion-poster via IMDb

As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, a 2011 Hollywood movie has got second life and has been slowly climbing the charts. Sci-fi drama Contagion that featured actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, has become one of the most-rented titles on iTunes and the second-most watched movie in Warner Bros' movie catalogue this year.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Contagion delivers near-prophetic scenes that eerily represent the current coronavirus situation around the world, including quarantines, empty streets, airport terminals and so on. With countries closing borders and the world moving towards a lockdown mode, the demand for the movie has been increasing. One of its posters on IMDb eerily reads: 'Don't talk to anyone, Don't touch anyone'.

The film begins with Paltrow's character returning to the US from Hong Kong, and contracting a never-seen-before illness. A few minutes into the film, she dies. What follows is a global outbreak of the disease caused by an airborne virus. With dialogues of the origin of the virus being related to animals, procedures to deal with the pandemic and the race to find a cure, the film strikes a chord with today's audience.

In an earlier interview, Soderbergh had spoken about his research for Contagion which made it evident that an outbreak, similar to the one in his film, would happen some time in the future. “There were two things that were unsettling. One is that everyone you spoke to said, ‘We’re due for a big one.',” indiewire quoted him as saying. He, however, has not spoken up about the recent spike in interest in his film.

The film's writer Scott Z. Burns recently spoke out this week against the Trump administration for failing to respond appropriately to the coronavirus outbreak in the US. “It’s stunning to me that our administration can’t put out a clear message on how people can stay safe and what our tools are for understanding the current spread. There’s a video on YouTube of a song they did in Vietnam about hand-washing and how important it is. Why isn’t our government putting out public service messages about how to stay safe? That isn’t that hard,” he said.

Contagion is not currently available on Netflix or other streaming platforms.

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