Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have halted production of the wild slave drama Release From Georgia regarding a recently enacted state law restricting access to voting.
The film is Hollywood’s largest and best-known production to leave the state since the Republican-controlled Georgia state legislature passed a law that introduced stricter requirements for voter identification for absentee voting, limited dropout funds, and granted the state election board new powers to intervene in county election offices and remove and replace election officials. Local. Opponents said the law was designed to curb the influence of minority voters.
In a joint statement, Smith and Fuqua – both producers on the project – said they feel the need to move production outside of Georgia.
“We cannot, in good conscience, provide economic support to a government that enacts retroactive voting laws aimed at restricting voter access,” said Smith and Fuqua. “Georgia’s new voting laws remind us of the voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting.”
Release Filming was scheduled to begin in June. Apple Studios acquired the film last year in a deal reportedly valued at US $ 130 million. Based on a true story, Smith plays a slave who escapes from a Louisiana farm and joins the Union Army.
Hollywood’s response to Georgia law has been closely watched because the state is a major center of movie production and boasts generous tax incentives. Some filmmakers said they would boycott, including Ford v Ferrari Director James Mangold. But the major studios have remained largely quiet until now. In 2019, Georgia’s anti-abortion act (which was later declared unconstitutional) prompted studios to threaten to halt production in the state.
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