Coronavirus The Movie

Picture The Scene

If a scriptwriter had walked into a pitch meeting ten years ago and suggested a film about Covid19, just imagine how it would have gone down.
“Okay, so – it’s the near future – 2020.”
“Why 2020?”
“No particular reason – it has a ring to it.”
“Okay, gotcha. Early in the year, or later?”
“Um, beginning. Let’s say January. In the US, President Donald Trump –”
“Wait, WHAT?”
“Oh, there’s a whole backstory. He was elected by an evil coalition of Wikileaks, Facebook and Putin.”
“That’s… a hell of a backstory. And in the film, is this public knowledge?”
“But he’s still president?”
“I don’t know, that plotline seems like a bit… much.”
“Oh don’t worry, it’s totally in keeping with his character. Everything about him is dialled up to eleven. You know how present-day Trump is kind of nuts? We just really leaned into that.”
“Right, well, I’ll trust you. What’s going on with President Trump in January 2020?”

“He’s being impeached.”
“Because all that stuff you just mentioned. Makes sense.”
“No, nothing to do with that – he was trying to get Ukraine to destroy the reputation of his likely Democratic presidential rival.”
“What?! How?”
“Well, Trump has leverage over Ukraine because Russia is quietly invading it and the international community is turning a blind eye, but the US is propping up the Ukrainian military.”
“I have questions, but go on. Who is Trump’s rival?”
“Joe Biden.”
“Wait – wouldn’t he be pretty old by this point?”
“Don’t worry, we’ve written Bernie Sanders into the race as well, so by comparison Biden doesn’t seem so old after all.”
“Okay, okay, Trump is being impeached – is he found guilty?”
“Not enough evidence?”
“Oh the evidence is overwhelming, but all the Republicans vote to acquit anyway.”
“Doesn’t sound convincing to me. Surely that’s political suicide!”
“We wanted the Republicans to be more unmistakably the bad guys, so they’ll let Trump get away with literally anything and their voters are fine with it. So Trump gets off. But that’s not what this film’s about, and I’ve got more scene-setting to do. In the same week as Trump’s acquittal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has led the UK out of the EU.”
“Woah, hold up – there’s a lot to unpack there. For one thing, will our viewers really buy that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are BOTH heads of state?”
“We kind of thought that one would lend credibility to the other. Once we’ve established this exaggerated world, we can get away with a lot more.”
“Hm, fair point. So why on earth are they leaving the EU?”
“A sort of ‘our country used to be great and it can be great again’ bullshit popular narrative, fed by a Machiavellian adviser living in the shadows and whispering sinister policy advice to the Prime Minister.”
“He sounds like some sort of medieval eunuch.”
“We thought of that, and to make absolutely clear he’s not a eunuch, we called him Cummings. It’s subliminal.”
“Genius. So why’s Boris Johnson going along with him?”
“Oh, Boris is just doing it for career reasons.”
“Right, that figures. Any other backstory I need to know?”
“Australia is on fire.”
“Run that past me one more time.”
“Vast swathes of Australia have been burning for weeks at this point – because of climate change – and the Prime Minister hasn’t been doing much because he doesn’t believe in climate change.”
“But surely – actually no, I’m not even going to fight this one. January 2020 – I’ve got the picture. So what’s the plot of this movie?”
“A new virus appears, and the end of Trump’s impeachment trial is the point where it starts spreading like crazy.”
“We’ve seen virus-apocalypse movies a hundred times.”
“But wait – there’s a twist. This virus has a 1% fatality rate. Mostly among the very sick and very old.”
“Um, that is different. I’m confused, but go on.”
“So it starts when people eat bats in a food market in China.”
“That’s getting into questionable racial territory, just to flag that up now.”
“Then a death cult in South Korea starts spreading it deliberately.”
“Right, I’m really not sure about the racial profiling that’s going on here –”
“Then it gets to Iran, and all the Muslims there are licking their holy shrine which causes it to spread loads –”
“We really need to talk about derogatory stereotypes –”
“Then it gets to Italy, and the Italians get hysterical and shut down the country.”
“Right, I’m going to stop you there. There’ll be a backlash if we make such a culturally insensitive film!”
“Not at all. The Iranians, for example, we deal with in a very respectful way.”
“Are they being helped by the West to combat the virus?”
“No, because earlier in January –”
“The same January?!”
“Yes, the same January – Trump assassinated the top guy in Iran.”
“What, the Ayatollah?!”
“No, like, his number two. Head of the army, we thought. So there’s just been the threat of war with Iran, and Trump has tweeted about obliterating the country…”
“Trump tweets?”
“Oh, yeah. Didn’t we mention? Trump tweets.”
“So the virus…”
“Yeah. It’s everywhere. The British chancellor is this random dude who’s only just got the job because Cummings screwed over his predecessor, and suddenly he’s having to deliver a crisis budget. People across the globe are working from home. Stock markets are crashing, that sort of thing.”
“But where’s the human interest?”
“Well, we’ve got this tragic storyline of a heroic young doctor who tried to warn the authorities but they wouldn’t listen, and then he’s one of the first to die from the disease.”
“A bit cliche but not bad.”
“And Tom Hanks gets the virus. We’re hoping to cast Tom Hanks as himself.”
“So do we have a protagonist? A sympathetic underdog we can all root for?”
“Well… We’re toying with this teenage Swedish activist with Asperger’s who believes in the power of good to make a difference…”

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5 Replies to “Coronavirus The Movie”

  1. Don’t forget the Health Minister who nobly contracts the virus herself in order to show the population how safe it really is.

  2. Well there is that very old adage “that truth is stranger than fiction”, no doubt that world politics is currently very extreme.

  3. This is truly brilliant.
    We really are in a post-satire age, aren’t we? aka you can’t make this sh*t up…

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