"We stand with Stacey Abrams and the hardworking people of Georgia."
JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele have stated that they will donate all proceeds from their upcoming HBO drama to help fight the recently passed Georgia abortion law.
On Tuesday (May 7), Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, signed a piece of legislation dubbed the “heartbeat bill.” The new law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. There are, however, exceptions, such as if it’s to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is due to rape or incest – but this is only if a woman files a police report.
With their new HBO drama Lovecraft County set to shoot in Georgia in the coming weeks, JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele are speaking out against the newly passed abortion bill.
“In a few weeks we start shooting our new show, Lovecraft County, and will do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia,” the pair said in a joint statement. “Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women.”
Adding that his production company Bad Robot and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions will donate funds to fight the legislation, Abrams added: “We stand with Stacey Abrams and the hardworking people of Georgia, and will donate 100 percent of our respective episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law: the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia.”
Over the course of this past week, several industry figures called on Hollywood to withdraw production from the state. So far, at least five productions companies have pledged to not shoot any projects in the state until the law is overturned. Christine Vachon, the CEO of Killer Films – the production company behind movies such as Vox Lux, First Reformed and Carol – is one. Blown Deadline Productions, ran by The Wire and The Deuce creator David Simon, is another.
“I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies,” Simon said. “Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.”
Producer Nina Jacobson, whose company Colorforce is responsible for such hits as Crazy Rich Asians and American Crime Story, quoted Simon’s tweet and wrote, “Ditto.” Mark Duplass, whose production company Duplass Brothers Productions has a four-picture film deal with Netflix, also pulled production from the state, tweeting: “Don’t give your business to Georgia.”
The fifth company to pull out of filming in Georgia is CounterNarrative films, which produced Netflix’s Triple Frontier. “No Georgia filming on any of our projects until this law is gone,” wrote producer Neal Dodson on Twitter.
“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” says MPAA senior VP of Communications Chris Ortman. “It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”
Kemp’s “heartbeat bill” is set to go live in January 2020 but there will almost certainly be a court fight to block it before then. “We will see you in court,” read a statement from the ACLU after hearing the news of the abortion ban’s passing.
Meanwhile, JJ Abrams has revealed more about the title of the forthcoming Star Wars movie, after it was revealed that the final film in the trilogy would be called The Rise of Skywalker.
The name was revealed last month when the first teaser trailer for the colossally anticipated film was unveiled. Abrams is returning as director, having helmed The Force Awakens in 2015, before handing the reins to Rian Jo
Following its release, Deadline reported that the film took over $70 million (£53m) across its opening weekend alone. Currently holding a 94% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film became the most successful in its genre for an opening weekend at the box office.
The horror took the title from 2018’s A Quiet Place, which bagged $50 million (£38m) in its first weekend. Peele’s previous effort Get Out received $33 million (£25m) during its opening in 2017.