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I Am Legend scriptwriter slams vaccine conspiracy as he’s forced to insist film is fiction

Will Smith’s film has spawned a conspiracy theory (Picture: Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros)

Evidently, because humanity needs a good talking to, Akiva Goldsman, who co-wrote the screenplay for 2007 film I Am Legend, has been forced to set the record straight on the vaccine conspiracies inspired by the tale.

The Will Smith post-apocalyptic film (based on a 1954 book of the same name by Richard Matheson) centres around a failed attempt to genetically re-engineer measles to cure cancer, killing 99% of the world’s population and turning others into terrifying mutant, vampiric, zombie-like creatures who can’t take the sun.

The conspiracy was brought to the mainstream in a recent New York Times piece about employees of Metro Optics Eyewear who were hesitant to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with one person said to be concerned ‘because she thought a vaccine had caused the characters in the film I Am Legend to turn into zombies’.

People have been finding it a great way to spend their time circulating the conspiracy on social media, with one an anti-vaxxer warning others to ‘wait a year or two’, writing ‘In the I Am Legend timeline the vaccines didn’t kick in right away’.

Sadly for those keen for this conspiracy to be at all accurate, the plague that turned people into zombies was caused by a genetically reprogrammed virus – not a vaccine.

Also, it is a work of fiction. As Goldsman stressed on social media this week.


As people responded to the rather baffling take, Goldsman wrote: ‘Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real.’

You can smell the frustration, can’t you?

It comes after Smith said on his wife Jade Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk last year he felt ‘responsible’ for the raft of misinformation that spread linked to the film.

He explained, getting the year of I Am Legend’s release incorrect: ‘I wanted to do this because in 2008 I made I Am Legend so I feel responsible for a lot of the misinformation.’

Will – who starred as army virologist Dr. Robert Neville – went on: ‘There was a basic foundational comprehension of viruses and viral pathogens. It really changed my life and how I looked at the world.

‘There’s basic concepts that people do not understand.’

Fact-checkers have been working hard to refute the conspiracies, which have spread within anti-vax forums amid the pandemic, after a widely-shared meme read: ‘Remember, in I Am Legend, the sickness didn’t make the zombies. The vaccination did.’

Reuters declared the idea as ‘false’, noting: ‘The virus in “I am Legend” was a genetically engineered measles virus created to cure cancer, not a vaccination.’

Snopes also dismissed the suggestion, writing: ‘It’s difficult to find a claim with as many factual errors as this one.’

The UK reached a significant milestone in its vaccination efforts this week when it was announced three-quarters of adults have now received both Covid jabs.

More than 86million doses have been administered so far, with 47m people (89%) getting a first jab.

According to Department of Health statistics, more than 39m (75%) have now received both doses.

Credit: Original article published here.

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