The post-apocalyptic thriller “I Am Legend” is bubbling up in conversation among the vaccine-hesitant crowd, prompting the film’s screenwriter to emphasize that the plot is entirely fictional.
Akiva Goldsman, who co-wrote the screenplay for the 2007 film starring Will Smith, clarified that “I Am Legend” is pure fantasy after an unnamed source in a recent New York Times report said they feared vaccination because of the events of the film.
In that film, based on the 1954 novel of the same name, an attempt to engineer the measles virus into a cancer cure goes awry, infecting most of humanity and turning people into zombie-vampire hybrids. Vaccines do not factor into the plot.
Goldsman tweeted a succinct response to the misinformation inspired by the film: “Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real.”
The film has been a vessel for anti-vaccine sentiment since the first Covid-19 vaccines were authorized in 2020. Reuters published a “fact check” of the film’s plot in December of that year after social media users circulated claims that a “vaccine” had zombified the characters in the film.
To be clear, vaccines have never caused zombie-like reactions in recipients. Countless reports conducted in the last year show that vaccination against Covid-19 is the best defense against severe illness or death from the disease. A new analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 99.99% of fully vaccinated people have not had a breakthrough case of Covid-19 that resulted in hospitalization or death. (The CDC did, though, use a fictional zombie apocalypse to teach disaster preparedness in 2011.)
Smith, whose virologist character spends much of the film fending off infected mutants and searching for a cure to the would-be cure, has not commented on the “I Am Legend” hubbub. But it seems those who base their fear of vaccines on the film have misunderstood its plot.