The stars of Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 virus-outbreak drama “Contagion” — including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Ehle — reunited (virtually) to record a series of PSAs designed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The stars of the film partnered with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — a consultant on “Contagion” — in order to create the campaign #ControltheContagion.
“In the movie I played a guy who was immune to the hypothetical virus that was spreading around the world, so a few things to start: One, that was a movie, this is real life. I have no reason to believe I’m immune to COVID-19,” Damon said in his video. “Neither do you. No matter how young you are. This is a new virus, and it’s going to take some time for our bodies and our doctors to understand the best way to protect us.”
The videos, recorded in Spanish and English, involve helpful tips about social distancing, hand washing, listening to experts and what to know about vaccines. All of the material read by the actors was written under the guidance of Columbia’s health experts, including Dr. Larry Brilliant, Mark Smolinski, Laurie Garrett and Dr. W. Ian Lipkin.
All the videos were shot by the actors themselves while quarantined (Winslet’s was shot by her husband), and the campaign will add additional videos in the coming days.
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, along with Participant and the whole cast, also thanked the experts for their guidance both then and now, saying that this is a time when we all need to listen to public health experts, scientists and doctors who are fighting to stop the spread of COVID-19. These short films are their way of showing support for their brave and life-saving work.
“Contagion” has surged in popularity on streaming and rental services as the virus has continued to spread, and it was reported recently that one of the medical consultants on the film tested positive for the virus.
You can check out Damon’s video embedded above and find the other PSAs, resources and frequently asked questions at Columbia’s website here.