Due to recently enacted laws in Georgia restricting voter access, Will Smith and Director Antoine Fuqua have decided to cease production of their new runaway slave drama ‘Emancipation.’
The decision to halt production and leave the state of Georgia was the result of Georgia’s Republican-controlled senate passing a law introducing requirements for stiffer identification for absentee voting, giving State Election Board additional power to intervene in county election offices, limiting the number of drop boxes, and the ability to replace local election officials. Opponents say the new enacted laws were aimed at suppressing the impact of minority voters.
According to the (AP), Smith and Fuqua – who are both producers on the project – released a joint statement explaining why it was necessary to move production from the state of Georgia.
“We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” Smith and Fuqua said. “The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting.”
Based on a true story, ‘Emancipation’ had been scheduled to begin shooting in June starring Smith as a runaway slave fleeing a Louisiana plantation and joining the Union Army. Reportedly, the film had been acquired in a deal last year worth $130 million by Apple Studios. Smith has not released any further details on possible new states for filming.