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Exclusive: Might Contagion Have a Future on Television?

Source:   Edward Douglas
February 1, 2013


In 2011, director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns teamed for their second movie, the viral outbreak thriller Contagion, which proved to be an even bigger hit for Warner Bros. than some predicted, opening with $22.4 million in a slow post-Labor Day weekend and grossing $140 million globally.

Last May, there were rumors that Warner Bros. and Burns wanted to make a sequel to the movie--something which Jude Law knew nothing about when we asked him a few months later.

Earlier today, ComingSoon.net caught up with Burns to talk about his third collaboration with Soderbergh, the pharmaceutical thriller Side Effects, also starring Law with Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. When we got around to asking about that Contagion sequel, he said that they've shifted gears a bit to possibly take the idea of the movie onto a television series.

"We've been talking about turning it into a TV series and I think it may have a life there," he told us. "It has some of the properties inherently like 'Homeland' and '24' where you can really explore outbreaks and pandemics in interesting ways. Like this story, they take you to unexpected places, whether it's drug companies or governments or scientists or people with political agendas. All of these things, once they’re out there, can be coopted from a lot of different angles."

When asked whether he had other ideas they could use that didn't make it into the movie, he said, "That movie had an almost fractal kind of quality for me as a writer because anytime I looked at a business or a character, when it's something like a virus, it changes everything. If you have a date with somebody and they're sick and now you don't go out with them to businessmen who don't get on planes and don't go to meetings, so certain things don't happen. It becomes a causal agent for a whole bunch of plot."

Of course, television can be tricky to navigate especially when it comes to getting a show greenlit, but considering the impact the movie has had on anyone who has seen it--especially if you regularly spend time on mass transit with coughing people--that may seem like a better path to take than a theatrical sequel without Soderbergh.

Look for more from our interview with Burns before Side Effects opens on Friday, February 8.


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