×

Georgia Governor’s Los Angeles Visit Takes Shape as Hollywood Weighs Production Boycott (EXCLUSIVE)

While the major studios watch and wait to see if a controversial new bill signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp goes into effect, Hollywood players are evaluating the prospect of boycotting the production hub, insiders told Variety. Kemp will also visit Los Angeles in the coming months to meet with top executives, where the legislation will likely come up, numerous individuals familiar with the trip said.

Outrage from the likes of prolific indie producers Christine Vachon (“Carol”) and Mark Duplass (“Creep”) has been rolling in since Kemp signed HB 481 on Tuesday, which would outlaw abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Stars like Alyssa Milano — currently living in Georgia, on the set of the Netflix original “Insatiable” — said they would exit what has become a booming local film economy in the name of female reproductive rights. Film distributor Oscilloscope Labs was less subtle, tweeting “F—. THIS. HEARTBEAT. BILL. BULLS—.”

Thanks to an attractive 30% production tax rebate, Georgia is a domestic hot spot for film and TV shoots. Kemp’s Los Angeles trip has been scheduled for some time, one of the insiders added, and is expected to occur by the end of July. Meanwhile. his so-called “heartbeat bill” has inspired chatter all over Los Angeles as top players take a hard look at what the symbolic gesture might mean for bottom lines.

“It’s nowhere near as easy as you think it is,” said one half of an Emmy-winning producing team, speaking to Variety on the condition of anonymity. “For the people who have invested there, there’s deep infrastructure. You can’t just yank it out.”

Indeed, content giants like Netflix and Walt Disney Studios have become reliant on lush facilities like Atlanta’s Pinewood Studios, which boasts 18 sound stages ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet and a 400-acre backlot. Films from “Captain America: Civil War” to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” have shot there.

The boycott threat also extends to many local and visiting artisans and craftspeople, as well as their families. One top executive at a streaming company singled out workers like carpenters, who are so desperately needed in the state to build sets that a huge faction from Los Angeles has moved permanent residency to Georgia.

While studios individually declined to comment on the matter, their collective voice in Washington — the Motion Picture Association of America — confirmed that economic reality this week.

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities,” an MPAA spokesperson said Wednesday, adding the group would “continue to monitor developments.”

Others in power positions are making more strategic moves. Late on Friday, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions announced that their HBO series “Lovecraft Country” would continue to shoot in Georgia as planned, but that money from the production would be donated to two charities fighting the anti-abortion law. Insiders close to the production said the donation was made to bolster politician Stacey Abrams’ crusade to prevent the bill from becoming law.

The law, set to go into effect on Jan. 1, includes exceptions for rape and incest (if a woman files a police report) or to save the life of the mother).

Read some notable Hollywood reactions:

Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content