Director Ron Howard and actor Jason Bateman both want to have their cake and eat it too by continuing to shoot in the state of Georgia while donating money to organizations that will fight the newly-enacted fetal heartbeat bill that bans abortion the moment doctors detect an unborn child’s heartbeat in the mother’s womb.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Ron Howard and his producing partner Brian Grazer will be going forward with shooting the Amy Adams Netflix movie, “Hillbilly Elegy” in Georgia later this month — but will also boycott the state if the heartbeat law continues to persist.
“After much thought and deliberation, we decided to continue with shooting ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in Georgia next month,” the Imagine Entertainment partners told THR in an exclusive statement. “We felt we could not abandon the hundreds of women, and men, whose means of support depend on this production – including those who directly contribute on the film, and the businesses in the community that sustain the production.”
The statement condemned the fetal heartbeat bill as an “attack on women’s rights” and promised to boycott the state if the law does not change.
“We see Governor Kemp’s bill as a direct attack on women’s rights, and we will be making a donation to the ACLU to support their battle against this oppressive legislation,” the statement continued. “Should this law go into effect in January, we will boycott the state as a production center.”
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has cautioned Hollywood against leading a full-blown boycott because it would hurt far too many working families.
“While I understand the calls for a boycott in Georgia, I’m going to follow a different path,” Abrams told the Los Angeles Times. “I think the superior opportunity for Georgia, in the specific, is to actually use the entertainment industry’s energy to support and fund the work that we need to do on the ground because Georgia is on the cusp of being able to transform our political system.”
As noted by THR, only five production companies have actually pledged to boycott Georgia — all of which do not appear to have ever had a financial stake in the state. Other than those five outliers, major studios, top filmmakers, and executives have all remained fairly silent on the movement. In fact, of more than six dozen production companies, filmmakers, and actors currently shooting in the state, only two responded to THR’s inquiry: Ron Howard and “Ozark” star and producer Jason Bateman.
“If the ‘heartbeat bill’ makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights,” Bateman told THR.
Not even Tyler Perry, who operates a major studio in Alabama, weighed in on the controversy. “He likes to stay way below the radar,” one source told THR.
At least for now, the boycott champions appear to be in the minority. Both filmmakers Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams announced last week that they will still be shooting their show, “Lovecraft County,” in Georgia while donating money to organizations that will fight the law in court.