by: Associated Press, Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: Apr 12, 2021 / 8:29 PM MDT
Updated: April 12, 2021 / 8:29 PM MDT
Will Smith attends the Los Angeles premiere of “Gemini Man” left on October 6, 2019, and director Antoine Fuqua appears during a photo session in Los Angeles on July 12, 2015. Smith and director Fuqua have discontinued production of their runaway slave drama “Emancipation” from Georgia via the recently enacted state law restricting electoral access. The film is the largest and best-known Hollywood production to leave the state since Republican-controlled Georgian law passed law that imposes stricter requirements for identifying voters for postal voting. (AP photo)
NEW YORK (AP) – Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have suspended production of their runaway Georgia slave drama, Emancipation, because of the recently enacted state law restricting electoral access.
The film is the largest and best-known Hollywood production to leave the state since Republican-controlled Georgian law passed legislation that introduced stricter requirements for identifying voters for postal voting, limited dropboxing, and new powers for the State Election Board to remove and replace election offices and local election officials introduced to intervene in the county. Opponents have said the law is designed to reduce the impact of minority voters.
How Georgia’s new law restricting GOP voting rights works
In a joint statement, Smith and Fuqua – both producers on the project – said they felt compelled to move production out of Georgia.
“We cannot in good conscience provide economic assistance 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.”
“Emancipation” should begin in June. Apple Studios acquired the film for $ 130 million last year. Based on a true story, the film plays Smith as a slave who escapes from a plantation in Louisiana and joins the Union Army.
Hollywood’s response to Georgia law has been watched closely as the state is a major hub of film production and offers generous tax incentives. Some filmmakers have announced they will boycott, including Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold. But the big studios have been largely quiet so far. In 2019, an anti-abortion law in Georgia (later declared unconstitutional) prompted studios to threaten to cease production in the state.