Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua pull Emancipation production out of Georgia

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Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua have pulled their runaway slave thriller out of Georgia due to the state's controversial restrictive election law.

Emancipation was scheduled to begin filming on 21 June, but leading man Smith and the Training Day filmmaker have decided to look for a new location as they don't want to support the state after new rules were passed that is believed to amount to voter suppression, particularly towards people of colour.

Confirming the news on Monday, they said in a joint statement: "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."

The project will most likely shoot in Louisiana, where the actual events of the thriller took place.

Smith will play a slave who escaped plantation life after he was whipped to within an inch of his life and joined the Union Army.

Emancipation is the first film to pull out of the state since the new laws came into effect - but others could follow suit.

Director James Mangold, who will direct the new Indiana Jones movie, recently said he would not make any new movies in Georgia because of the new law.

"Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote," he tweeted. "I don't want to play there."

Georgia has become a popular state for Hollywood productions thanks to a generous tax credit incentive scheme.