New Will Smith Movie Emancipation Won't Film In Georgia Due To Voting Law Changes

Emancipation is the first major production to leave Georgia in the wake of the new law from Republican politicians.

The new Will Smith movie Emancipation has pulled out of filming in Georgia due to the recently announced voting laws in the state. It is the first major Hollywood production to withdraw from the state--which is known to be a huge hub for movies--due to the controversial, Republican-backed laws. Director Antoine Fuqua announced the news on Monday in a joint statement with Smith.

"At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice," they said. "We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, cameras were set to start rolling in June on the Apple Studios project.

Due to its tax credits, Georgia--and Atlanta, specifically--has become an east coast Hollywood hub for big films and TV shows. It's where Marvel and Netflix, in particular, film a lot of their shows and movies. According to THR, the decision by Fuqua and Smith to move production on Emancipation out of Georgia "could have a cascading effect" for other projects to leave the state and film elsewhere.

The new bill, which was signed into law in March, makes changes to voter ID requirements and more that many deem to be restrictive. Democratic state senator Jen Jordan said of the bill, "It's like the Christmas tree of goodies for voter suppression."

James Mangold, the director of Logan and the upcoming new Indiana Jones movie, said in March that he is boycotting making movies in Georgia due to the law.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill also weighed in on the matter, saying he agrees with Mangold about wanting to stop filming in Georgia. "No More Filming In Georgia," he wrote as a hashtag.

Emancipation the movie is inspired by the 1863 photograph, The Scourged Back, which further illuminated the brutality of slavery in America. Fuqua has said of the film, "You can't fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way.

"We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That's one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward."

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