Jude Law says he wasn’t “hugely surprised” by the way the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the world this year — due to his work on director Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 thriller “Contagion” that forecast how a virus could spread so quickly and so insidiously.
“When 2020 started, and we heard about what was initially happening in China, what fast became apparent around the world, it rang alarm bells,” Law said in a video interview with GQ to promote his new film, “The Nest.”
The actor recalled how Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns brought scientific experts on set to advise the production. “There was absolutely the sense that this was going to happen,” Law said. “They all said to us that this was going to happen — and it was a case of when rather than if.”
And Law, who played an anti-government conspiracy theorist who claims to have cured himself of the disease with a forsythia-based “cure,” said he has thought back to those on-set scientists frequently this year. “The way they described it, which is exactly as it has happened, just made sense. They painted out all the obvious areas and reasons why it would spread so quickly.”
But he hasn’t been dwelling on those stark warnings in the decade since he finished shooting the film. What’s scary is that you learn on a set, on a film like that because you’re being advised by experts, but it doesn’t necessarily sit,” he said.
“That maybe sat in my system and scared the hell out of me for, what, all of 18 months,” he added. “After that I don’t know that I was as aware of it as I probably was when I came off the back of it.”
Law also admired how Soderbergh and Burns predicted not only a global pandemic — but the influence of conspiracy theorists like his character who build huge online followings while sowing confusion and misinformation. “Scott and Steven had done a huge amount of research and really sent me all sorts of links to different characters online who were gathering and building followings of their rants and predictions,” he said. “What’s extraordinary, maybe more in a way than the virus spreading, is how characters like that have really started to pop up.”
Watch the video above.