Steven Soderbergh Puts Off Liberace In Favor Of Contagion, A Viral Outbreak Thriller

Steven Soderbergh is putting off his Liberace biopic in favor of something with a little more heat and conventional appeal. Instead of Liberace, this fall Soderbergh will now shoot a script called Contagion by his The Informant! writer Scott Z. Burns. Said to be "an action-thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus," the script reportedly is constructed in a style much like that of Traffic. So expect several narrative strands that run parallel, with some of them finally (possibly) intertwining in some measure.

Why the reason for the sudden change-up? First, Burns' script is said to be quite good. Second, it isn't the only virus thriller kicking around these days and Soderbergh & Co. wanted to beat others to the punch. That's according to The Playlist, which also has info on the killer cast lineup for the film: Matt Damon (naturally), Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law are all on board.

The site had previously reported on the Contagion script, which was mentioned on a Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast last September. Burns' work on the script kicked off when, while making The Informant!, a scene in which Damon's character complains about a sneeze lead to a conversation "dissecting the topic of germs and how the nature of a virus could be used to deal with "issues of sovereignty" and as a metaphor for the way "information and misinformation travel" in contemporary society." That, plus the Swine Flu outbreak last year, led to a script that spans four continents during the viral outbreak.

Meanwhile, Soderbergh is now shooting his action thriller Knockout. Liberace will still go before cameras with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the lead roles. That just won't happen until early 2011. And what about Cleo, his utterly insane-sounding Cleopatra musical with music by Guided by Voices and which was meant to be shot in 3D? No word on that lately; hoping it hasn't died.