Steven Soderbergh talks "Contagion" and retirement

Mon Sep 5, 2011 3:43pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters)LOS ANGELES, September 5 (Reuters) - Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh explores how a lethal virus is transmitted from one person to another, until the entire world is affected in "Contagion."

The film, which debuted over the weekend at the Venice film festival and hits theaters Friday, features an all star cast that includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law among others.

Soderbergh, known for directing such movies as the "Ocean's" trilogy, "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic," sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, what he learned about viruses and why he's decided to "retire" from moviemaking.

Q: "Contagion" is about a virus that kills people with no cure in sight. With real-life scares like SARS, N1H1 and the bird flu, this is a fear anyone can relate to.

A: "Yes (the virus) doesn't speak and it doesn't have a brain, but it is alive and it wants to stay alive and propagate itself. I really felt like this was great movie material because you cannot construct a life for yourself in which you're not around germs."

Q: Once someone gets the virus, death is imminent so it's like a zombie movie without the zombies.

A: "Matt (Damon) wanted a zombie. He kept asking for one. He kept saying we'd make a lot more money if we had zombies. I said, 'Call Gwyneth! Let's see if she's up for it.'"

Q: This is your sixth film with Matt. What is it about him that made you want him form "Contagion?"   Continued...