I Am Legend screenwriter responds to anti-vaxxers trying to co-opt his sci-fi flick
"Oh. My. God. It's a movie. I made that up. It's. Not. Real."
In case you didn't know, I Am Legend is a movie. It is also a work of fiction. That might seem like an inane thing to say, but what's also inane is that we're now at a point in the COVID-19 pandemic where a substantial number of anti-vaxxers believe that a vaccine caused the mutant plague in that film and, therefore, they will not be getting a real-life vaccine against the virus.
Akiva Goldsman, a screenwriter on the 2007 movie based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, weighed in on the conversation swirling around his work on social media Tuesday.
Those opposed to getting vaccinated have been disseminating the claim that the cause of I Am Legend's zombie outbreak is a vaccine — which isn't true, reports The New York Times. But also, again, it's a movie. Apparently, that bears repeating.
"One employee [at Metro Optics Eyewear] said she was concerned because she thought a vaccine had caused the characters in the film I Am Legend to turn into zombies," the Times story reads. "People opposed to vaccines have circulated that claim about the movie's plot widely on social media. But the plague that turned people into zombies in the movie was caused by a genetically reprogrammed virus, not by a vaccine."
Goldsman's response? "Oh. My. God. It's a movie. I made that up. It's. Not. Real."
I Am Legend, directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Goldsman and Mark Protosevich, starred Will Smith as Robert Neville, a former U.S. Army virologist who believes he is the last survivor after humanity largely mutated into zombie-like creatures.
According to the film, which is easily verifiable, the zombies were created as a result of a genetically engineered measles virus that was used to treat cancer. Reuters even published a fact check refuting assertions suggesting a vaccine was the cause in 2020 after anti-vaxxers started spreading the falsity.
Smith also appeared on Red Table Talk in March of last year and urged fans to practice safety measures when it comes to COVID-19. He also joked that he wanted to do so because, he said, "I made I Am Legend, so I feel responsible for a lot of the misinformation."
In conclusion: I Am Legend? A movie.
Representatives for Smith and Lawrence didn't immediately respond to EW's requests for comment.