Apple’s Will Smith drama ‘Emancipation’ to boycott Georgia over voting law

Will Smith smiles while wearing a blue and black patterned scarf.
Will Smith during a January 2020 photo call for “Bad Boys for Life.”
(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

Apple’s slave drama “Emancipation,” an upcoming film directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith, will no longer shoot in Georgia after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state’s controversial new voting law last month.

The film, which is expected to start production June 21, is the first major Hollywood production to pull out of the state over the Georgia elections law that has drawn condemnation from voting rights groups and corporations such as Coca-Cola Co. and Delta Air Lines.


“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,” Fuqua and Smith said in a Monday statement. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”

The filmmakers did not say to which state they would move the film, which is based on a script by William N. Collage and stars Smith as a fugitive from slavery escaping north from Louisiana.

Studios, which have previously threatened boycotts of filming in Georgia over legislation, have been largely quiet over new election rules. Why?

March 30, 2021

The Georgia law sparked outcry among some filmmakers and celebrities, but the major studios, which receive significant government incentives for filming in the state, have largely stayed quiet.

“Ford v. Ferrari” director James Mangold declared he would not make a movie in Georgia after Kemp signed the elections law. Actor Mark Hamill tweeted in support of Mangold. ViacomCBS, which owns Paramount Pictures, issued a statement opposing the legislation.

The tepid Hollywood response comes two years after leaders from Netflix and Disney threatened to consider pulling business out of Georgia following the passage of a restrictive abortion law that was later declared unconstitutional.