The 2011 Steven Soderbergh film Contagion presented a realistic vision of what might happen if a virus were to spread worldwide, causing a deadly pandemic. The film has been widely revisited in the past few months as the spread of COVID-19 intensifies, perhaps because it offers some sense of strange comfort as we grapple with the real life version. The movie was not just Hollywood fiction, either — Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, known as a "master virus hunter," was an adviser on the film. Lipkin and his team made sure everything was accurate, and created an imaginary virus based on experience and science — "Is this fiction? Yes. Is it real? Absolutely," he wrote in 2011.
The film starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Ehle, and the latter five (so far) have released PSAs pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic; they were created in collaboration with the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
The school partnered with Steven Soderbergh, writer Scott Z. Burns, "and key members of the ensemble cast to share evidence-based information about COVID-19 to better protect yourself and your community," a release noted. Lipkin returned as well, and "reviewed the campaign PSA scripts just as he did for the Contagion film a decade ago."
Additional PSAs will be released as they are completed, but here's what they've offered up so far.
Matt Damon on social distancing:
Kate Winslet on handwashing:
Laurence Fishburne on what you can do now (stay home!):
Jennifer Ehle on a vaccine: