Actor Jude Law has revealed that scientists warned him that a future pandemic was inevitable on the set of the 2011 drama Contagion.
“The great scientists on set with us who had worked with Scott [Z. Burns], the writer, and [director] Steven [Soderbergh] were very learned and experienced individuals who knew what to expect. And they all said to us that this was going to happen—and it was a case of when rather than if,” Law said in a recent interview with the men’s fashion lifestyle magazine GQ.
“The way they described it, which is exactly as it has happened, just made sense,” Law continued, adding, “When 2020 started, and we heard about what was initially happening in China, what fast became apparent around the world, it rang alarm bells. Unfortunately, I wasn’t hugely surprised.”
In the film, Law plays Alan Krumwiede, an anti-government conspiracy theorist and freelance journalist with a large social media following. Krumwiede claims that MEV-1, the film’s fictional yet highly contagious and lethal virus, is a biological weapon unleashed by terrorists to disrupt the holiday season around the world.
His character claims that the government is profiting off of a vaccine. He is later arrested for securities fraud and possible manslaughter after he claims to have cured himself of the virus using a remedy involving forsythia. Investigators find that he had a financial interest in pushing the so-called cure.
The movie accurately predicted several social effects that have arisen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging people to wear face masks and practice social distancing, as well as self-quarantine. The virus in the film emerges from China, just like COVID-19, and results in social unrest and conspiracy theories amid the hopes of an eventual vaccine.
However, the film uses Law’s character to examine a different sort of pandemic, the viral spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories amidst a public panic.
At one point in the film, when Krumwiede faces off against CDC scientist Dr. Ellis Cheever in a televised debate, Cheever tells the TV audience, “In order to become sick, you have to first come into contact with a sick person or something that they touched. In order to get scared, all you have to do is come into contact with a rumor, or the television, or the internet. I think what Mr. Krumwiede is spreading is far more dangerous than the disease.”
Similar theories about cures and conspiracies have flooded social media since the pandemic hit U.S. shores in early 2020.
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