12:13 pm PDT 04/16/2021
Director Ryan Coogler reveals that the Marvel film will stay in the state.
Black Panther II will continue to film in Georgia despite the state’s new, restrictive electoral law.
In a comment released by Shadow and Act, the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, says the Marvel film will advance its plans to film in Peach State this summer. The law has generated widespread criticism of the way it sets tough new ID requirements for postal ballot papers, restricts the use of dropboxes, and makes it a crime to give water and food to those in line to vote give. President Joe Biden has called it “Jim Crow in the 21st Century”.
In his play, Coogler condemned the law signed by Republican Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp in late March. “As an African American and as a citizen, I reject all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to downsize the electorate and reduce access to the ballot,” he wrote. Coogler found out about the bill, named SB202, when he was about to return to Georgia to shoot Black Panther II. “When I was briefed on the state’s adoption of SB202 and its impact on state voters, I was deeply disappointed.”
The director stated that while he wanted to put his disappointment into action, he realized, presumably by boycotting the state as some others had requested, by speaking with local voting activists in Georgia, that pulling business out of the state was likely only the same would harm people who are hurt most by the new law. This is a point raised by several heads of state including Stacey Abrams and Senator Jon Osoff, as well as several members of the local film community. “For these reasons, I’m not going to boycott Georgia,” writes Coogler. “Our film stays in Georgia.”
Instead, he plans to use his leverage to support organizations in the state that are working hardest against voter repression and make a donation to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action. “I have made a personal commitment to raising awareness on how to repeal this harmful bill and to continue to educate myself on the matter from the local people,” he continues. “I will encourage all who work with me to reach out to the local community directly affected by Senate Bill 202 and use their influence and resources to fight for this particular and essential pillar of democracy to help.”
Earlier this week, Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith made a different decision and decided to postpone their upcoming slave drama Emancipation based on the Electoral Act. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that passes regressive electoral laws designed to restrict electoral access,” said Smith and Fuqua. “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 are feeling compelled to relocate our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
A handful of Hollywood’s top studios and guilds have made statements denouncing the law, but no one is known to have pulled the business out of the state. Tyler Perry, who runs a studio in Atlanta, criticized the bill shortly after it was passed, but no longer recommended a boycott. “I hope the DOJ will look closely at this unconstitutional electoral suppression law that is reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,” he said. “When some think about a boycott, please remember that we’ve dyed Georgia blue and a gubernatorial race is on the horizon – that’s the beauty of a democracy.” Other large companies with major productions in the state, including Netflix and Black Panther II producer Disney, have not yet commented on the bill.