The Playlist reports that Steven Soderbergh, the hardest working man in show business, has once again lengthened his to-do list. Soderbergh will re-team with The Informant! scripter Scott Z. Burns for Contagion, an “action-thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus.” The film doesn’t have a distribution deal yet, but with such heavy hitters as Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Marion Cotillard attached to star, you can expect a bidding war for the rights. More on the origins of Contagion and the rest of Soderbergh’s slate after the break.
Although the information we have so far is kinda vague, there’s a great deal of potential in the given premise, and I implicitly trust so many of the attached talent to deliver on such promise. Burns shed some light about the genesis of the project in a previous Playlist report. On the set of The Informant!, a scene in which Scott Bakula’s character sneezes launched a back-and-forth between writer and director about germs, specifically how the a virus outbreak could be used as a metaphor for “information and misinformation travel” in modern society as well as a platform to dissect “issues of sovereignty”. Some heady themes to be sure, but that philosophical space is just where all the greatest science fiction thrives.
The parties involved are looking to start production this autumn, so a release sometime next year is likely; of course, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Oscar season 2010. After the 2009 trilogy of Che, The Girlfriend Experience, and The Informant!, Soderbergh had a very busy year; if you find yourself jonesing for the director in 2010, remember his upcoming martial arts pic Knockout. From our various reports on its development, Knockout is shaping up nicely with a stellar cast featuring Michael Douglas, Ewan MacGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton, plus one of Soderbergh’s trusty non-actors, MMA fighter Gina Carano. For those worried about the state of Liberace, the director’s planned biopic of the famed effete musician starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, fear not: production has merely been postponed to early 2011.