‘Contagion’ centres on the threat posed by a rapidly progressing deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. As the virus spreads around the world, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film also stars Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lawrence Fishbourne, Demitri Martin, Sanaa Lathan and Elliott Gould. ‘Contagion’ opens September 9th in the US, and October 21st in the UK. In-depth interviews will be posted next week.
You really get involved with the many characters in this film….
Bryan Cranston: It’s complex, it’s easy to follow because you feel for these people. Even though ‘Contagion’ deals largely on a plot driven story, without the human involvement you wouldn’t get the connection, or feel the connection. So whether it’s Marion Cotillard’s character in Hong Kong, or Matt Damon’s character trying to save his daughters life in Minnesota. What you don’t realise is the conflict at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), where you have these Doctors, and in my characters place, Military Men, the incredibly pressurised task of first finding out what we’re dealing with, trying to find a component of it, then manufacturing it in a controlled environment so that we can start attacking it to kill it. The characters are key.
Jude, can you tell us about your character’s convictions, and his view on government controls?
Jude Law: He’s a campaigner for freedom of speech, but also conspiracy theories. I think unfortunately his ego and his pride get in the way of his convictions.
I think he has an inbuilt reaction to government backed vaccination programmes, and government backed research, he has a cynical view of the legal process, and the governmental process behind investigation on medical issues. So I think that often leads him into areas of alternatives, then raising alternatives and watching them be covered up. Where he’s very interesting to this story is that he does actually get the lead on everyone else, he sees something before everyone else, therefore he has the run on them for quite a while.
How was it working with Steven Soderbergh?
Bryan Cranston: Steven Soderbergh is great in the way that he listens to suggestions. He’s very fast, one of the fastest directors I’ve ever worked with, he moves quickly and that’s great. So when an actor goes home after ten hours, as opposed to fourteen or fifteen hours, that helps a lot, you’re much more refreshed the next day, then the following day, then the day after that. You can bring more energy to the role. He really is great.
Jude Law: I’ve wanted to work with Steven Soderbergh for many years, many many years (laughs). It’s been a really terrific experience, he brings incredible composure, and confidence, and fun to a set. He has a very unique process of…..because he’s also looking as director of photography and operator, he has a very beautiful and intimate way of choosing his shots. I felt that absolutely intensified the relationship a director has with an actor, where they’re viewing you absolutely in the moment.
The idea of this type of outbreak happening is terrifying, what are your thoughts on the possibilities of it actually happening?
Jude Law: The overriding impression from all of the experts I got from this was that it’s a matter of when, not if. I suppose if you just step back and look at it historically, these things have happened in the past, and not that long ago. We’ve had little scares in the last few years, it seems absolutely plausible, actually more so now because of travel increase, international travel increases. Therefore the ability of bugs and virus’ getting on planes and travelling half way around the world.