Ron Howard says he will boycott Georgia if abortion law takes effect

Howard and Brian Grazer will go ahead with filming ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ here next month so they don’t abandon Georgians involved with the movie, however.

Ron Howard says he will boycott Georgia if the "heartbeat bill" goes into effect. Howard will film "Hillbilly Elegy" here, but he will make a donation toward the fight against a restrictive abortion bill. The movie begins filming next month with Glenn Close. Actress Amy Adams was one of the first to sign on for the movie. Gabriel Basso was recently signed to play the lead in the movie.

"After much thought and deliberation, we decided to continue with shooting 'Hillbilly Elegy' in Georgia next month," Imagine Entertainment partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer told The Hollywood Reporter.

However, the Acadamy Award-winning producers said, should “this law go into effect in January, we will boycott the state as a production center."

"This law" is House Bill 481, which outlaws most abortions once a doctor can detect a fetus' "heartbeat" — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant.

"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. 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.

On Friday, actor Jason Bateman, star of the Netflix show "Ozark," said he will no longer work in Georgia if the controversial abortion legislation recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp survives court challenges.

» Kemp signs anti-abortion 'heartbeat' legislation, sets up legal fight

"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 The Hollywood Reporter. The actor's Netflix show "Ozark" and HBO show "The Outsider" are currently filming in Georgia. He also filmed "The Change-Up" here in 2011.

» Writers Guild of America warns Georgia that 'heartbeat' bill may cause Hollywood to flee the state

In late March, more than 40 Hollywood celebrities signed a letter sent to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Gov. Brian Kemp saying they will push TV and film production companies to abandon Georgia if the "heartbeat" abortion bill is signed into law, AJC columnist Rodney Ho reported.

Speaking at the Georgia Republican convention Saturday, Kemp acknowledged the growing fallout after he signed the anti-abortion law.

"I understand that some folks don't like this new law. I'm fine with that," he said. "We're elected to do what's right — and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do."

Kemp added: "We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk."
» Kemp postpones film event in LA amid 'heartbeat' bill fallout

Howard, however, is hardly a C-list celebrity. As an actor, he has starred on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days, and the movie “American Graffiti.”

As a director and producer, he has won multiple Academy, Emmy, People's Choice and Critics Choice Awards.

» Alyssa Milano tells Hollywood to leave Georgia after 'heartbeat' abortion bill passed the Senate