Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have pulled production of their runaway slave drama Emancipation from Georgia over the state’s just lately enacted law proscribing voting entry.
The movie is the biggest and most excessive profile Hollywood production to depart the state since Georgia’s Republican-controlled state Legislature handed a law that launched stiffer voter identification necessities for absentee balloting, restricted drop packing containers and gave the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election places of work and to take away and exchange native election officers. Opponents have mentioned the law is designed to cut back the affect of minority voters.
In a joint assertion, Smith and Fuqua — who’re each producers on the undertaking — mentioned they felt compelled to maneuver the production out of Georgia.
“We can’t in good conscience present financial help to a authorities that enacts regressive voting legal guidelines which are designed to limit voter entry,” Smith and Fuqua mentioned. “The brand new Georgia voting legal guidelines are harking back to voting impediments that had been handed on the finish of Reconstruction to stop many People from voting.”
Emancipation had been scheduled to start taking pictures in June. Apple Studios acquired the movie final yr in a deal reportedly price $130 million. Based mostly on a real story, the movie stars Smith as a slave who flees a Louisiana plantation and joins the Union Military.
Hollywood’s response to the Georgia law has been intently watched as a result of the state is a serious hub of movie production and boasts beneficiant tax incentives. Some filmmakers have mentioned they’d boycott, together with Ford v. Ferrari director James Mangold. However main studios have to date been largely quiet. In 2019, a Georgia anti-abortion law (later declared unconstitutional) prompted studios to threaten to stop production within the state.