Our friends over at The Playlist have apparently been sleeping with the right people of late, as they’ve been way ahead of the trades on all the casting news on Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (as well as Soderbergh’s Knockout, currently filming).
Contagion is something akin to Ocean’s 11, cast-wise, with a deadly virus outbreak. That cast already includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, and Jude Law. The $60 million film based on the Scott Z. Burns novel was just picked up by Warner Brothers a couple of days ago, and is said to be about an international team of doctors and scientists who are brought in by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. It’s expected to be an “ultra realistic” look at how those people deal with a huge deadly virus outbreak — here, there will be multiple plotlines, and it will involve doctors jumping out of planes to assist. The movie is also expected to be filmed in four continents (and with an ensemble that recognizable, maybe this is really more like Valentine’s Day with sick and dying people).
The latest news is that Laurence Fishburne is in talks now to take a lead role, which — and no disrespect to Fishburne and his fine work on “CSI” — is a little like throwing Mathew Perry into an Ocean’s film. Maybe in his Matrix and Ike Turner prime, Fishburne wouldn’t look out of place as a lead in a movie with Matt Damon and Kate Winslett, but now? Well, not so much.
But, you have to trust that Soderbergh knows what he’s doing, and Fishburne does make for an excellent scientist-y looking dude. In either respect, Soderbergh plus real stars, an actual budget, and studio backing (suggesting it’s not one of his experimental films), and I’m all over this movie like glistening sweat on Channing Tatum’s abs.