NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: David Simon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Franco and George Pelecanos attend "The Deuce" New York premiere at SVA Theater on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images
Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Three production companies vow not to shoot in Georgia after ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill signed into law

Originally posted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Executives at three film production companies have vowed not to shoot anything in Georgia following news that Gov. Brian Kemp signed a restrictive “heartbeat” abortion bill. 

There is no immediate impact on the state’s growing TV and film operations because it doesn’t appear any of the three companies - David Simon’s Blown DeadlineKiller Films and Duplass Brothers Productions - have ever shot a movie or TV show in the state. 

Killer and Duplass specialize in indie films such as “Boys Don’t Cry” and “The Skeleton Twins.” Simon’s company has produced his well-regarded HBO shows such as “The Wire,” “Treme” and “The Deuce.” 

UPDATE: Color Force ( “Crazy Rich Asians”) and Counternarrative Forces  joined the other three in refusing to work in Georgia while this law was still in the books.

Color Force is the first major producer to join a boycott who actually had major work done in Georgia. It produced the four “Hunger Games” films. The final three films were largely shot in metro Atlanta. Color Force also produced the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series and the 2017 film was shot in Georgia. 

More importantly, the Motion Picture Association of America - which represents Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, University Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. - is taking a wait-and-see attitude. 

"Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families," said MPAA spokesman Chris Ortman to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story. "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."

Actress Alyssa Milano, who is shooting Netflix’s “Insatiable” in metro Atlanta, led the charge to protest the bill, which largely limits abortions when a doctor can hear a fetal heartbeat at around six weeks of pregnancy. Similar bills have passed in other states and have been struck down in federal court. The law would go into effect in 2020. 

Encouraged by Milano, about 50 actors such as Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Don Cheadle signed a protest letter a few weeks ago, saying they will not work in Georgia if the bill passes. 

Actress Busy Phillips on her E! show Tuesday night also discussed how offensive the bill was to her. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.