A faction of Hollywood actors and directors may be taking their business elsewhere since the state of Georgia passed a divisive bill in May of 2019. Dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” the law was approved by Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp and plans to ban abortion from as early as six weeks into pregnancy, or as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Roughly 50 actors signed a petition letter penned by the actress Alyssa Milano against the bill. But many did not, including Clint Eastwood. The veteran actor and director is due to begin filming his latest movie in Georgia in the summer of 2019.
Eastwood’s latest venture, The Ballad of Richard Jewell, stars Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates. While the movie is highly anticipated, Eastwood has come under fire from Milano’s supporters for not reconsidering the filming location.
Georgia is the third-largest film production state in the country and benefits from billions of dollars every year from the Hollywood film industry. According to The Daily Wire, the state procured around $2.7 billion in 2018 alone.
But a troupe of progressive Hollywood activists led by the outspoken Milano is not happy with the ongoing partnership. “I will do everything in my power to get as many productions as possible to move out of this state,” Milano told The Wrap.
Actors Sophie Turner, Jessica Chastain, Amy Schumer, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Uzo Aduba, and Colin Hanks, among others, have all put their names on Milano’s open letter. “I’m not going to work in a state that discriminates,” Jessica Chastain told Sky News. “I signed [the open letter] too,” her co-star Sophie Turner added, admitting, “I have yet to tell my agents I signed it […] I can’t work in these states.”
But Eastwood can, and will.
The abortion bill backlash has not deterred the iconic producer from proceeding with business as usual in the Empire State of the South. Fox News ventured that “it wouldn’t make much sense” for Eastwood to film anywhere else; the storyline of The Ballad of Richard Jewell is pretty specific to the city of Atlanta.
Richard Jewell is the real-life story of a security guard who was misidentified as a possible perpetrator of Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic Park bombing. According to Deadline, the film will be based on Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article of the same name, which detailed how the unwitting Jewell discovered a pipe bomb in a backpack at a park near the Olympic grounds.
Allegedly, the security guard helped clear bystanders out of harm’s way, but he was later named and shamed as the primary suspect in the case. The real-life Jewell endured countless media outlets naming him a “lone bomber” and “terrorist,” according to Fox News, only to be acquitted just three months later.
The screenplay was written by Billy Ray, and standup comedian Paul Walter Hauser will play the title role. Ever the bold and timely filmmaker, it’s likely that Eastwood’s latest project will also make it in time for the next Oscars season.
Are we in line for another Million Dollar Baby? Here’s hoping!
Wishing Clint Eastwood a Happy Birthday!
Hollywood film production has put Georgia on the map, and the state at large would take a significant hit if Hollywood directors refrained from filming there in the future. Eastwood has chosen not to observe Milano’s boycott. Notably, nobody from the director’s hand-picked, stellar cast for the upcoming movie has commented publicly on their personal stance, yet.
The bill has passed, but the debate continues.