Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ to Film in New Orleans After Leaving Georgia Over Voting Laws
The upcoming Will Smith movie "Emancipation" will be moving filming to New Orleans after pulling out of Georgia over the state's recently enacted law regarding voter rights.
The announcement was made at a press conference today by the city of New Orleans.
Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua will continue to film the movie in the Crescent City.
"New Orleans is a welcoming city," city spokesperson Beau Tidwell said. "Which is why we believe they chose to move their production."
The economic impact is expected to be significant, as the film was initially approved with a $100 million budget.
The film is the largest and most high profile Hollywood production to depart Georgia since the state passed a law that introduced stiffer voter identification requirements for absentee balloting, limited drop boxes, and gave the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials. Minorities have largely opposed this law.
In a joint statement, Smith and Fuqua (who are also both producers on the project) said they felt compelled to move production out of Georgia.
The statement read in part:
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.
"Emancipation" was to begin shooting in June, however, it is not yet known when production will begin in Louisiana.
Apple Studios acquired the film last year in a deal reportedly worth $130 million. It's based on a true story and stars Smith as a slave who flees a Louisiana plantation and joins the Union Army.
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