Moviegoers sheltering in place have, to no surprise, turned to Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film “Contagion” for insight? Answers? Entertainment? Who knows what drives viewing habits in these crazy times. The film details, with eerie precision, the complete breakdown of civilization amid a rapidly spreading virus. Not exactly soothing viewing material right now, but it’s nevertheless high on VOD rental charts.
But that was a movie, and this real life. In a new series of PSAs about taking care in the time of the coronavirus, cast members from the film have teamed up to record messages for all of us quarantined at home — including the film’s stars Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Jennifer Ehle. Watch the videos below.
Damon is here to tell you about social-distancing and the life-saving benefits of sitting on your couch. Fishburne urges staying at home and pushing out the noise to listen to the experts. Ehle, meanwhile, discusses the possibilities of a COVID-19 vaccine and why a solution won’t be immediate, Cotillard shares her experience from France, and Winslet offers the most practical advice in showing you how to wash your hands like your life depends on it.
The initiative comes in partnership with director Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, along with scientists from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
In a recent Slate interview, screenwriter Burns, who worked with the CDC in 2009 and 2010 to research “Contagion,” condemned President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. “I listened to a press conference that the president gave where he described himself as a businessman who didn’t like it when people were just sitting around,” Burns said. “Well, I wonder how he feels about the fire department. I live near a firehouse, and those people spend some time sitting around when there’s no fire‚ but you can’t build a fire department once your house is on fire. Unfortunately, this administration has decided that is what it wants to do, and it puts people way behind. When you look at the amount of testing this country has done compared to other countries, that’s the part that is scary to me.”
Recently, Ian Lipkin, the university professor and epidemiologist who served as the medical consultant on “Contagion,” tested positive for the coronavirus. “If it can hit me, it can hit anybody,” Lipkin said.
Check out the “Contagion” PSA videos below.