Contagion director Steven Soderbergh is reuniting with the film’s screenwriter for a “philosophical” sequel to the original 2011 movie
Contagion? That’ll never catch on
Despite being nine years old, Contagion returned with a vengeance as one of the most discussed films of 2020. The reason behind the pandemic thriller spreading like a virus was, well a virus. Despite already living in a literal pandemic, everyone seemed to have a morbid curiosity for just how bad it could get: and Contagion was set to deliver all that and more.
In December 2019, Contagion was ranked as the 270th most watched Warner Bros film. By March 2020, it was the second most popular. No wonder Soderbergh wants to make a sequel.
A new virus in development?
Soderbergh announced his new project on the Happy Sad Confused podcast alongside Contagion writer Scott Burns. A “philosophical sequel” to the 2011 film, Soderbergh has described his upcoming film as “paired, but very different hair colours.” This could mean we get to see similar themes and topics that made the original so interesting, but explored from different angles.
It is unsure exactly what direction Soderbergh and Burns will take with this, with both still posing the question: “what’s the next iteration of a Contagion-type story?”. Perhaps rather than looking at the pandemic itself—something we are all too familiar with—it could look at life after it, giving everyone a much-needed morale boost as to what comes next.
Pandemic thrillers, a disease unto itself
It’s no surprise Soderbergh wants to make this film now thanks to the recent, and overwhelming, popularity of Contagion and other pandemic films like 28 Days Later and I Am Legend. While it is unknown if he had been planning it for years or just recently decided to capitalise on it, it is clear he isn’t alone in this new genre (to the dismay of literally everyone).
Directors like Michael Bay, with his latest release Songbird, have already tried to bank on the idea, and—unlike Contagion—made the decision to base it on a mutated version of the coronavirus. The film received a negative first impression and even worse critical reception perhaps hinting that no one needs or wants this style of film at all.
Hopefully, with the (mostly) real portrayal of a pandemic given by Soderbergh, his sequel will be respectful of the current situation and provide important insight into the issues that need addressing, rather than cashing in on the suffering of others.
It is currently unknown when the film will begin development but given everything at the moment, it seems like no one will complain about having to wait a bit.
Words by George Bell
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