In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, one movie in particular became disturbingly relevant. Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 movie Contagion follows the worldwide spread of a virus that becomes widespread just about the same way the novel coronavirus does. The movie got a huge streaming boost back in January, and apparently Kate Winslet’s friends and family will not stop texting her about it.
Kate Winslet played the Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer Dr. Erin Mears in the film among an all-star cast that also includes Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard. Surprisingly, Winslet apparently has yet to see the entire movie herself, and she has developed a particular reaction to pestering from those close to her who find themselves triggered by Contagion's content:
"I was like, 'Well, don't fucking watch it! It will scare you.’ The story is alarmingly accurate. We did work with a remarkable team of people who would listen to the CDC, who advised on the film and gave us incredible information daily and helped design the virus and work with [screenwriter] Scott Burns on the script.
If you don’t want to watch a movie about a pandemic (since we’re living in one and all), just save yourself! That’s Kate Winslet’s advice per her EW interview. Interestingly enough, it is not predicted by coincidence. The movie sought out actual medical consultants to theorize how a pandemic may actually spread, and sure enough many of the events played out as they expected. Contagion is an odd cautionary tale today. That’s not an easy pill to swallow knowing a ton of the data in the era of COVID-19 as it still rages on.
The actress joined the Contagion cast to share a PSA from public health experts and scientists back in late March. The movie has remained in the headlines as we’ve heard word that Damon’s daughter tested positive for COVID-19 while attending college in NYC when the virus spread widely in the Big Apple. A medical consultant on the movie also had coronavirus as well, and used the news to warn that it ‘can hit anybody.’
Contagion’s eerie quality in 2020 goes to show how movies can truly serve as important teaching tools if researched properly. It tracked a fictional event and may have seemed over the top before COVID-19 was born, but now it serves as a particularly interesting movie to sit in awe of.
Kate Winslet wrapped production on Avatar 2 last month, which will reunite the actress with her Titanic director James Cameron. Winslet’s next release will be Ammonite, a lesbian period drama from Francis Lee co-starring Saorise Ronan as her love interest. Ammonite is coming out on November 13.