'Fear Street' Movies to Shoot in Georgia, Will Donate Funds to Fight Abortion Law

Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping-Getty-H 2019
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Producers Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping plan to make "a significant donation" to the ACLU amid backlash to the state's recently passed abortion bill.

More filmmakers are weighing in on Georgia's controversial abortion legislation.

Producers Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping of Chernin Entertainment still plan to shoot their upcoming R.L. Stine adaptation Fear Street and their Starz drama P-Valley in the state, but they are vowing to donate funds to the ACLU to fight the recently passed abortion ban.

"When the 'fetal heartbeat bill' was signed into law we were deep into production on two projects, our film trilogy Fear Street and the P-Valley TV series, so were conflicted about contributing to the health of an economy and a state that had declared war on the rights and freedom of its women," Chernin and Topping said Thursday in a statement.

The duo added, "On one hand, if we chose the boycott route, thousands of jobs would be lost ultimately damaging workers who rely on production for livelihood, including many women. We also know that the only way to fight the massive, now national incursion on women’s rights is through a legal battle, a battle that needs funding and on the ground support via organizations like the ACLU who are powering up to overturn the law.

"So our choice became pretty clear, we will stay in Georgia, stand shoulder to shoulder with the women of that state and the states under attack, and fight to win," they continued. "In doing so will be making a significant donation to ACLU because whatever upside we have needs to be shared with the women everywhere who have the right as human beings to make medical decisions as sovereign individuals."

The move comes on the heels of J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele's similar decision to go forward with their plans to shoot their upcoming HBO series Lovecraft Country in the state, but to donate their episodic fees to both ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia, two organizations leading the charge against the abortion ban.

On May 7, the state's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a piece of legislation that's been dubbed the "heartbeat bill" that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. It does, however, include exceptions, such as to save the life of the mother or for rape and incest — but only if a woman files a police report. Following Kemp's action, several industry figures have called on Hollywood to withdraw production for the state.

At least five productions companies have pledged to not shoot any projects in the state until the law is overturned, including Killer Films, Blown Deadline Productions, Colorforce, Duplass Brothers Productions and CounterNarrative films. Other major studios with business in the state are said to be taking a wait-and-see approach, hopeful that the bill will be overturned before it takes effect in January.

"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," said MPAA senior vp communications Chris Ortman. "The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments."