Production on Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua’s runaway-slave thriller “Emancipation” has reportedly been paused following a string of positive COVID tests on the set in Louisiana.
Deadline sources claim cast and crew were notified about the hiatus, which begins on Monday (August 2), on Sunday. It is expected to last five days.
Fuqua is directing Smith from a William N. Collage script, inspired by the story of a real-life slave, named Peter, who fled a plantation in Louisiana, and the haunting photo of his bare back, scarred from a brutal whipping, known as The Scourged Back, which was published by The Independent in May, 1863 and then in the Harper’s Weekly.
It served to show the barbarity of slavery in America, and became an image used by abolitionists.
Antoine Fuqua’s Fuqua Films and Will Smith’s Westbrook Inc. are producing “Emancipation,” which is based on William N. Collage’s screenplay.
Apple Studios purchased the rights to the movie for $130 million.
The production was moved from Georgia to Louisiana, in protest of the Election Integrity Act of 2021. Critics say the legislation suppresses the right to vote in the state, especially for African Americans.
“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,” Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua shared in a joint statement.
“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,” the pair concluded.