Matt Damon coughs up "Contagion" details

(CBS) There  was  a lot of talk of sickness on the New York red carpet  Wednesday night as  Academy Award winner Matt Damon was busy promoting his latest film, "Contagion," an ensemble "Outbreak"-style thriller that  also stars Oscar-winners Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet.

We spoke with Damon at the premiere and he told us that there was a great deal of germaphobia among cast and crew on the set.

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"There was a lot of Purrell, definitely," Damon said, "Given the subject matter, that was probably to be expected."

Damon stars in this ensemble thriller as Thomas, whose wife Beth, played by another Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, develops a mysterious illness...with global implications. Damon must then protect the rest of his family from this deadly outbreak. The actor said  he chose this project to reunite with one of his longtime collaborators, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh.

"We've been working together a lot so, obviously, we're used to each other by now. We've done six movies together,"  Damon said. "He's a really special director. I've worked with a lot of them and I'm really lucky to have worked with the people I've worked with...I'd be lucky to get a job with any of them again. And Steven, for some reason, keeps hiring me."

In recent interviews, Soderbergh has compared "Contagion" to "Jaws" for germophobes, a sentiment with which Damon agrees.

"We hope it has the cultural impact that Jaws had," he told us.  ."But, yeah, ideally it is a movie that does work on that level because the science is accurate. Rather than create some over-the-top storyline, we looked at the research. If we just did what actually could happen, it might be much more horrifying."

"Contagion" is now playing in theaters nationwide. Watch more of our interview with Damon by clicking on the video at the top of this story.

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.