‘I Am Legend’ Writer Shuts Down Anti-Vaxxers Citing His Film as Reason Not to Get Covid Vaccine

"It’s. Not. Real," screenwriter Akiva Goldsman wrote on social media.
"I Am Legend"
"I Am Legend"
Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

I Am Legend” co-writer Akiva Goldsman issued a blunt response on social media to anti-vaxxers citing the 2007 Will Smith blockbuster as a reason not to get vaccinated, or at least a reason to be concerned and skeptical about getting the vaccine. Anti-vaxxers have been referencing “I Am Legend” across social media, but Goldsman caught wind of the recent attention around his film because of an article published by The New York Times that focused on employees in New York City resistant to getting vaccinated.

As reported by The Times: “One employee said she was concerned because she thought a vaccine had caused the characters in the film ‘I Am Legend’ to turn into zombies. People opposed to vaccines have circulated that claim about the movie’s plot widely on social media. But the plague that turned people into zombies in the movie was caused by a genetically reprogrammed virus, not by a vaccine.”

Goldsman reacted to The Times article by writing on Twitter: “Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real.”

Goldsman co-wrote “I Am Legend” with Mark Protosevich based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. Will Smith stars as Robert Neville, a U.S. Army virologist who is the last known survivor of a zombie outbreak in New York City. Robert spends his days trying to find a cure for the zombie virus, while at night he must fend off the cannibalistic zombies.

As Goldsman makes clear, the film’s narrative has nothing to do with vaccinations causing the zombie outbreak. “I Am Legend” begins with a news report in which anchorwoman interviews a doctor (played by Emma Thompson in a cameo apperance) who explains that she has found a way to cure cancer by genetically re-engineering the measles virus. The film is now streaming on HBO Max for anyone who needs to take a look.

“I Am Legend” opened in December 2007 with $77 million, which was the biggest opening in December in history at the time. The movie ended its run with $585 million worldwide.

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