J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele’s upcoming HBO drama Lovecraft Country is scheduled to begin shooting in Georgia in the next few weeks. The show, a horror series based on the novel by Matt Ruff, will be used to combat a recently passed bill that bans abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected. This can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill was passed on Tuesday by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, and includes exceptions for rape, incest, and in cases where the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy.
In a joint statement, the two executive producers discussed their plan. “In a few weeks we start shooting our new show, Lovecraft Country, and will do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia.” Abrams and Peele continued with, “Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women.”
Abrams then explained how his production company, Bad Robot, alongside Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, plan on donating funds in an attempt to fight the new bill. “We stand with Stacey Abrams and the hardworking people of Georgia, and will donate 100 percent of our respective episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law: the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia,” he said. “We encourage those who are able to funnel any and all resources to these organizations.”
Abrams and Peele are not the only ones to fight the bill. Since it was passed, five production companies have sworn to withdraw from plans to shoot projects in the state until the law has been overturned. Killer Films’ CEO, Christine Vachon, joined in these efforts. Her company is responsible for a number of acclaimed films, including Vox Lux, First Reformed, and Carol. On Thursday Morning, Vachon tweeted that Killer Films will “no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned.”
David Simon, the creator of The Wire and The Deuce, responded similarly. “I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies,” he said, “Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.”
Producer Nina Jacobson from Colorface, the production company behind Crazy Rich Asians and American Crime Story quoted Simon, adding “ditto.”
Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America, MPAA, says it will keep a close eye on the outcome of the filming boycott in Georgia. MPAA senior vp communications Chris Ortman said the following in a statement: “Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families. 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.”
The so called “heart beat” bill is scheduled to go into effect starting in January 2020. Until then, it is clear that Abrams and Peele will do their part via Lovecraft Country to ensure the bill is blocked before then.