contagion.jpgThousands of San Francisco residents will have an opportunity to appear in a major motion picture alongside Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law when crews film in the city in the coming weeks.

“Contagion,” an action-thriller about preventing the spread of a deadly virus, will hold open casting calls on Saturday and Sunday for about 2,000 men and women of all sizes and ethnicities to fill out background roles for about 10 days of filming in San Francisco.

“The movie is all about an infectious disease and Center for Disease Control doctors are trying to track down and isolate it,” said Rich King, who is in charge of casting the extras.

King said filming will take in several places all over the city, including an undisclosed stadium, a coffee shop, and a location near Chinatown.

The movie, based on medical novelist Dr. Robin Cook’s book of the same name, is tentatively planned for an October release, and will also feature Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne.

The book focuses on a rare strain of influenza that strikes the young, old and the innocent.

Filming has already taken place in Chicago, Atlanta, and Hong Kong, according to King.
Auditions will be held at the Fort Mason Center, Landmark Building C, room C260, at Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, auditions will be at the Embarcadero YMCA at 169 Steuart St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Filming will begin Feb. 9 and run until around Feb. 17, King said.

King said hired actors who are Screen Actors Guild members will be paid $139 daily for their work and non-union members will make $64 each day.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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