UPDATED at 6:01 am: Georgia’s exit to emancipation is now official.
Star Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua said, “At this moment the nation is grappling with its history and trying to remove traces of institutional racism in order to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that passes regressive electoral laws designed to restrict electoral access. The new electoral laws in Georgia are reminiscent of electoral barriers that were passed at the end of the reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Unfortunately, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state. “
You can read the publication at the end of the original break.
Directors’ Guild leaders condemn Georgia’s voter suppression law
EXCLUSIVE, 5:45 am, PST: Apple’s defunct slave thriller Emancipation will change its plan to film in Georgia due to the state’s controversial restrictive electoral law signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp. I’ve heard that the movie – Antoine Fuqua is being directed by Will Smith from a script by William N. Collage – will likely be shot in Louisiana, which is where the actual events of the thriller took place. The move will cost somewhere in the $ 15 million range to produce, having lost the lucrative tax breaks that made Georgia such a bustling manufacturing center in the United States.
This imminent move comes after weeks of discussion among filmmakers and officials in Georgia and Louisiana, as well as with Georgia political leaders like Stacey Abrams. Abrams, along with Tyler Perry and a few others, has urged Hollywood not to uproot its productions in response to the passage of restrictive electoral law following President Joe Biden’s election victory. Emancipation is unlikely to predict an exodus in Georgia. This is a special case where the optics of shooting in the state would be difficult given the subject. Wearing the familiar peach symbol in this particular Apple movie could undermine the power of the movie theme.
Smith will play Peter, a slave who escaped from a Louisiana plantation after being flogged within an inch of his life. He had to outsmart cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on an agonizing journey north. There he joined the Union Army. The thriller is based on its true story burned into the annals of history by an indelible image. When Peter showed his bare back during an Army medical exam, photos were taken of the scars from a whip delivered by an overseer at John and Bridget Lyons’ plantation that almost killed him.
When the photo – later known as “The Scourged Back” – was published by The Independent in May 1863 and then in the weekly July 4th edition by Harper, it became indisputable evidence of the cruelty and barbarism of slavery in America. The photo reached the whole world. It solidified the abolitionist cause and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.
Apple bought the film package last June in stiff competition, beating Warner Bros. with around $ 130 million in a deal, including back-end buyouts. It’s a passionate project for Smith and Fuqua that came about after the murder of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the country against Black Lives Matter.
“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery the world saw,” Fuqua told me last year. “Which is interesting when you put it into perspective with today’s and social media and what the world is seeing again. You cannot fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we need to do it accurately and for real. We all have to look for a better future for all of us, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things now, to show our history. We must face our truth before we can move forward. “
The emancipation treaty set a record for a festival purchase. While another deal deadline recently broke – that Netflix acquired two Knives Out sequels for over $ 400 million and became the biggest streamer deal of all time, Emancipation remains a bountiful package. The filmmakers and Apple were embarrassed about the look of shooting the expensive news film in Georgia after the state reacted in the presidential election with a restrictive red-to-blue electoral law. These include stricter identification rules on postal ballot papers, restricting the use of dropboxes, empowering state electoral board officials to override local authorities, and imposing food or water on voters in line. Critics widely derided it as an attempt to make it more difficult for blacks and other residents of the Georgian minority to vote, all in response to President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election had been stolen from him.
FUQUA FILMS AND WESTBROOK INC. WITHDRAWN FILM PRODUCTION OF THE “EMANCIPATION” FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA AS A RESULT OF NEW VOTING RESTRICTIONS
DATE: April 12, 2021
Director / producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor / producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have decided to move production of their upcoming film EMANCIPATION from the state of Georgia, signed by the governor.
Fuqua and Smith stated, “At this moment the nation is grappling with its history and trying to remove traces of institutional racism in order to achieve real racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that passes regressive electoral laws designed to restrict electoral access. The new electoral laws in Georgia are reminiscent of electoral barriers that were passed at the end of the reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Unfortunately, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state. “
Fuqua referred Denzel Washington to the Oscar for Leading Actor for Training Day and received an Emmy in 2020 for his film Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name. His recent film projects include directing The Equalizer, Equalizer 2 and executive producer on the television series The Resident.
The shooting of the emancipation should start on June 21, 2021. She will play Smith in the lead role. Fuqua will direct.
Based on a screenplay by William N. Collage, the film will play Smith as Peter, a slavery refugee on a harrowing journey north of Louisiana. The character “Whipped Peter” was an enslaved person who emancipated himself from a plantation in the south and joined the Union Army. In 1863, photos of Peter taken during an Army medical exam first appeared in the July 4th issue of Harper’s Weekly. Known as “The Scourged Back,” a picture shows Peter’s bare back, mutilated by a whip given to the plantation of the slaves John and Bridget Lyons.