‘Contagion’ star Jude Law said he was told by on-set doctors that a potential pandemic was a ‘matter of when, not if’

Jude Law in ‘Contagion.’ Warner Bros.
  • While a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Jude Law looked back on starring in “Contagion.”
  • He said the biggest thing he remembers from making the movie were the on-set consultants saying a pandemic will happen one day.
  • Law is also shocked by how many people watched the movie in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jude Law has an interesting perspective about the pandemic because he already lived through one: well, sort of.

Law was one of the stars of Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 movie “Contagion,” which looks at a worldwide pandemic. On “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, the star spoke about his thoughts on the movie’s plot being so close to the actual events surrounding the coronavirus.

“I found it a little odd that everyone went back to watch that in the middle of the real thing,” Law said of “Contagion” becoming one of the most popular movies to stream at the beginning of the pandemic. “You just turn on the news, you don’t need to watch it.”

Law said he remembered during the early days of the pandemic reaching out to Soderbergh and telling him he was on it 10 years before it happened. But the biggest thing for him was recalling what the on-set consultants would tell him and the cast and crew.

Contagion matt damon
Matt Damon in ‘Contagion.’ Warner Bros.

“On that film were the doctors and virologists advising us, extraordinary men, and they were all saying to us this is a matter of when, not if,” Law said of a potential pandemic. “I remember leaving the whole experience thinking you touch yourself on your face 10,000 times a day, we don’t wash our hands, it was all embedded in me. But it all slowly percolates away.”

This is very similar to what “Contagion” producer Michael Shamberg told Insider back in April, noting that since making the movie, “for years I’ve been washing my hands a lot more than I used to.”

“I don’t think anyone thought for a second that this was a Roland Emmerich disaster film or a movie where an asteroid hits the Earth, it was real,” Shamberg said of making “Contagion.” “That was the power of it. So, yes, it was always in the front of our minds when we were making it, and then in the back of it after we made it. That, yeah, this could happen someday.”

And to Law’s comment on why people watched “Contagion” instead of just the news: Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Centre, told Insider it’s actually healthier to watch that than the news.

“Watch things that make you feel like you are part of a community,” Rutledge suggested. “Where you can identify with the characters.”

Watch Law talk about working on “Contagion” on “The Tonight Show” below: