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‘Swiss Army Man’ Producer Walks Off Film Project Over Georgia Abortion Law (EXCLUSIVE)

Indie producer Miranda Bailey has dropped out of the drama “Time Capsule” a month before its scheduled location shoot in Georgia in protest of the state’s controversial “heartbeat” bill which was signed into law this month, Variety has learned.

Pre-production is currently underway in Georgia in the midst of a media firestorm over the legislation, which would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy if it goes into effect next year. Bailey and her Cold Iron Pictures walked out over the measure this week, according to a spokesperson for the producer, whose credits include the Sundance breakout “Swiss Army Man” and Mike Birbiglia’s “Don’t Think Twice.” The drama, plot details for which are under wraps, has “Deadpool” breakout Brianna Hildebrand attached to star, as well as “One Day at a Time” actor Todd Grinnell. But the film currently has no producer in line.

Representatives for Hildebrand declined to comment, though one insider familiar with her involvement said her team is still considering the project. Bailey’s company is the sole credited producer attached, written by newcomers Erwann Marshall and Chad Fifer. Two insiders said “Time Capsule” still has foreign financing committed, but Bailey’s resignation leaves the production’s future in question. One person close to the matter maintains that the project remains scheduled for a July start.

Bailey’s decision to bail proves the law is affecting more than just the major media companies who have big superhero tentpoles and top TV franchises in Georgia. The abortion bill could threaten an independent film economy that benefits greatly from the state’s generous tax incentive.

“Georgia has become an attractive place to shoot, given their incentives, especially for independent filmmakers who need to stretch every production dollar,” said Josh Welsh, president of the non-profit Film Independent, which hands out the annual Indie Spirit Awards. “But with this new law I think you can expect to see a lot of those same filmmakers going elsewhere, even if it risks delaying their projects or changing their budgets. This goes to core values. Why do business in a state with a law that so blatantly and egregiously limits a woman’s right to control her own body?”

Lean production entities like Cold Iron are obviously not as mighty as their corporate counterparts. Should Disney or Netflix wind up cutting their production ties to the state if the law takes effect in 2020 — as they have pledged to consider — they could feasibly withstand the resulting financial hit given their deep pockets. However, it’s a far different story for scrappy indie filmmakers for whom the 30% tax rebate in Georgia is essential.

One top talent manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said these scenarios can also hurt up-and-coming talent.

“This can be a major transformative moment for a young star, especially someone from the action genre who wants to show off their chops,” said the manager. “If the movie is decent, that’s a big missed opportunity. But it’s great to see a producer take a stand like that with so much on the line.”

Bailey is not the first to walk since Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill on May 7. Major projects like an Amazon Studios pilot from director Reed Morano and a Lionsgate buddy comedy from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (“Bridesmaids”) have also called back location scouts and canceled plans to shoot in the state. Actor and producer Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) has vowed to leave if the law if the law takes effect on the currently scheduled Jan. 1, 2020, date.

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