Director/producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor/producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have decided to move production of their upcoming film Emancipation from the State of Georgia due to the newly-enacted voting restrictions passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor.
Fuqua and Smith stated: “At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.
“The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to the leading actor Academy Award for Training Day and he earned a Emmy in 2020 for his film Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name.
His recent film projects include directing The Equalizer, Equalizer 2, and as an Executive Producer of the television series The Resident.
Emancipation was scheduled to begin filming on June 21, 2021. It will star Smith in the lead role. Fuqua will direct.
The film, based on a script by William N. Collage, will star Smith as Peter, a fugitive from slavery on a harrowing journey north from Louisiana.
The character “Whipped Peter” was an enslaved person who emancipated himself from a Southern plantation and joined the Union Army. In 1863, photos taken of Peter during an Army medical examination first appeared in the July 4 issue of Harper’s Weekly.
Known as “The Scourged Back,” one image shows Peter’s bare back, mutilated by a whipping delivered on the plantation of enslavers John and Bridget Lyons.