Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet face challenges in Contagion.
ABOUT THE FILM
An international traveler reaches into the snack bowl at an airport bar before passing her credit card to a waiter. A business meeting begins with a round of handshakes. A man coughs on a crowded bus…One contact. One instant…and a lethal virus is transmitted. When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minneapolis from business in Hong Kong, what she thought was jet lag takes a virulent turn. Two days later, she’s dead in the ER and the doctors tell her shocked and grieving husband (Matt Damon) they have no idea why. Soon, others exhibit the same mysterious symptoms: hacking coughs and fever, followed by seizure, brain hemorrhage…and ultimately, death. In Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong, the numbers quickly multiply: one case becomes four, then sixteen, then hundreds, thousands, as the contagion sweeps across all borders, fueled by the countless human interactions that make up the course of an average day. A global pandemic explodes. At the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers mobilize to break the code of a unique biological pathogen as it continues to mutate. Deputy Director Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) tries to allay the growing panic despite his own personal concerns, and must send a brave young doctor (Kate Winslet) into harm’s way. At the same time, amid a rising tide of suspicion over a potential vaccine—and who gets it first—Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) of the World Health Organization works through the network of connections that could lead back to the source of what they’re dealing with.
Actor Laurence Fishburne goes in on this contagious thriller.
HHW: You play Dr. Ellis Cheever in this film, which is a real spinetingler with real-life implications. This character is different than others that you’ve played. What is this character like?
LAURENCE FISHBURNE: He’s a smart, competent guy, the voice of reason. He’s the one people look to for reassurance that everything is under control, that we have the best people working on the problem and it’s going to be fine.
Sanaa Lathan plays your love interest in the film. What was the experience like?
Aubrey (Sanaa Lathan) is the world to him. But he cannot tell her about the virus. It’s hard to keep a secret. This dilemma really is the measure of his character. In his official capacity, he has a responsibility to protect the public and he takes that very seriously. But as a man, he has an obligation to his family. So he’s conflicted and has to make a tough choice. It was wonderful playing opposite of Sanaa. It was beautiful.
How did you feel about your character?
It wasn’t that complex; he was committed to what he does. Everyday there was a new disease that the CDC was tracking and keeping an eye on. And on a personal note, having to tell my soon-to-be-wife (Sanaa) to pack up ad get out of town was difficult for him.
How do you feel about the film?
I was blown away by how smart it was since a lot of what is made is stupid. I was honored to be a part of it.
Are you paranoid about germs?
I’m not afraid of germs and I am not afraid of getting sick.
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