Belfast Telegraph

Damon on his protective father role

Matt Damon has said he found it easy to relate to the father he plays in his latest movie about a global pandemic - and admitted the subject matter of the film had an impact on his own family life.

Contagion, the latest collaboration between Matt and Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh, is a thriller exploring what happens when a deadly virus spreads like wildfire and overwhelms the system set up to contain it.

The action begins when Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns home to the States from a business trip to Hong Kong. What she first believes to be jet-lag turns into a fever that kills her in just a few days, leaving her grieving husband (Damon) to look after their daughter.

As a father of three daughters, the 41-year-old actor found it only too easy to relate to the role of a protective father.

"Even though they're going through this extraordinary experience, they're still dealing with typical issues of parents and teenagers," he says.

"His daughter wants to see her boyfriend and he keeps trying to impress on her the severity of the situation and why even the slightest contact with him, if he's infected, could kill her. It leads to some highly charged moments."

Matt is aware the film's had an impact on his family, but has tried to keep it in perspective.

"We live in New York City, so when the kids come back from the park, we definitely do a lot of hand washing. But besides that, I do think, on a day-to-day level, germs are a good thing and I want my kids to build up an immunity."

:: Contagion is in cinemas now.

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