Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2013 by Angie Han
Steven Soderbergh‘s 2011 disease thriller Contagion wasn’t exactly crying out for a sequel, but in the light of its strong box office performance of course more than a few execs’ minds went there. Warner Bros. quietly began developing a follow-up with writer Scott Z. Burns set to produce, and last October it took a small step forward by posting an open writing assignment.
Now, however, Burns says they’re thinking of changing course entirely. Instead of a feature film, Contagion 2 could wind up being a TV series. Hit the jump to read his comments.
Burns revealed the potential shift in plans when he sat down for an interview with Coming Soon to promote his new film with Soderbergh, Side Effects.
We’ve been talking about turning it into a TV series and I think it may have a life there. It has some of the properties inherently like ‘Homeland’ and ‘24’ where you can really explore outbreaks and pandemics in interesting ways. Like this story, they take you to unexpected places, whether it’s drug companies or governments or scientists or people with political agendas. All of these things, once they’re out there, can be coopted from a lot of different angles.
The change is unexpected, but it makes a lot of sense. Switching media would give the team (which does not include Soderbergh) more freedom to reboot the premise or take it in a different direction, and a TV series could go deeper than the movie did with the characters and locations. On the flip side, I’m not sure how a disease outbreak plotline can sustain more than one season. I suppose we’ll have more time to worry about that later, though.
Burns did not go into details about what the new series might look like, but offered a broad view of his approach.
That movie had an almost fractal kind of quality for me as a writer because anytime I looked at a business or a character, when it’s something like a virus, it changes everything. If you have a date with somebody and they’re sick and now you don’t go out with them to business men who don’t get on planes and don’t go to meetings, so certain things don’t happen. It becomes a causal agent for a whole bunch of plot.
If the two-hour movie version of that story made you paranoid, imagine how much more freaked out you’ll be after watching the disease spread over a matter of weeks. Would you tune in for a Contagion series?