The smart science of “Contagion”

“It began really with discussions of what would be an appropriate disease to talk about. We tossed around a number of possibilities and came up with one that both Steven and Scott really liked, because it was a virus that spread by the respiratory route, so it was like flu and SARS in its ability to transmit easily from human to human. But instead of being confined to pneumonia, like SARS or influenza, it went to the central nervous system; it went to the brain and caused alteration of consciousness and seizures, so it was cinematically more interesting for them, and of course that’s helpful, because they need to sell seats — if nobody sees the movie, it’s not much good to public health or anyone, including Warner Bros.”

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