Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua made a huge decision for their upcoming film Emancipation. As a result of Georgia’s new voting laws, the project leaders behind the Apple film have elected to film elsewhere to avoid “provid[ing] economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws.”
The film team released a statement to explain the choice: “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 due to the newly enacted voting restrictions passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor.”
Smith and Fuqua were also quoted in the statement. “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. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” they said.
“Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state,” the release continued. The film, which is set to shoot in June, will now be filmed in Louisiana.
The decision comes at a steep price tag. Per the Washington Post, they could lose close to $15 million in “tax rebates” as a result.
Although many major entertainment companies have released statements concerning the importance of voter rights, this is the first major production to leave Georgia as a result – a decision that is partly due to the film’s monetary resources. Financed by Apple Studios, Emancipation definitely had the means to make the switch.
According to Deadline, the subject matter of this film made the shooting location even more important. “This is a special case, one where the optics of shooting in the state would be difficult given the subject matter,” the article explains. “Carrying the familiar peach symbol on this particular Apple film could undermine the power of the movie’s subject matter.”