When celebrities believe their own hype over economic reality the ending is not glamorous – but it is hilarious.
The impending vote in the Georgia legislature on a toughening of abortion laws has a number of Hollywood professionals in a snit. A group of writers had initially come forward to declare they would not want their work to be involved with any productions in the state, which has seen immense expansion of its entertainment industry in recent years. Now a large group of actors has joined the cause.
Alyssa Milano has provided us with the list of dozens of actors who now have pledged that they will not work in the state if a new bill in the legislature passes. As the undersigned they have said, “We cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if HB 481 becomes law.” We are led to believe that the names of light workload performers such as Tom Arnold, Mia Farrow, Michael Sheen, and Will Wheaton would be enough to move an industry.
What this list amounts to is nothing more than a tantrum on paper. They want to preserve the availability of abortions in a state in which they do not even reside. They will pretend that their petulant little screed will lead to change, but they fail to even be aware of the machinations that led them to the Peach State in the first place.
When the government of Georgia decided some years back to lure more Hollywood work into their area they employed many of the tried methods of Canada. Tax refunds, cheaper labor offerings, and infrastructure inducements have all motivated Hollywood studios to vote with their wallets. For years now California has struggled with productions fleeing that state, and Georgia has only exacerbated that reality.
Following the blueprint of Canada from decades ago (now considered “Hollywood North”) Georgia has worked hard to develop itself as a major Hollywood destination for productions, and it has paid off. Alyssa and her cast of also-rans do not realize why studios have elected to flee her Utopia of California for the supposedly hateful state of Georgia. Even the reports that it has supposedly been an economic loss for the state are farcical.
A bulk of the Marvel films, the box office titans of the past decade or more, are now shot in Georgia. More than just movies, a growing number of television productions are also now made there, and Atlanta is also becoming a burgeoning animation center. In recent years alone complexes like Pinewood Atlanta Studios, EUE/Screen Gems Studios, Atlanta Metro Studios, Tyler Perry Studios and Blackhall Studios have all become based in the state.
So this is no longer a case of a handful of films being made there. While some economic critics only measure the direct-spend figures agains the tax incentives what they choose to ignore are the various ancillary sectors which now benefit from working with the industry. So more than Marvel, “The Walking Dead”, and “Stranger Things” are being made there. In 2017 over 300 film and television productions were shot in the state. The economic benefit to the area has been close to $10 billion. So I do not see too many names on this list that would have the juice to sway an entire industry to now pull up stakes and avoid the massive tax incentives, to say nothing of the sheer cost of moving as well.
With the exception of probably Judd Apatow — who writes and produces his own material — few on this list would generate a reaction from studio heads or producers beyond, “Okay, well who else could we cast in that role?” Even were Apatow to balk at filming on location, the chance of him deeply influencing a studio is likely mitigated by his creating an opening for another production on the calendar as the most likely result.
As for Alyssa Milano? If you want a measure on the level of influence she has in the state you can go ask Jon Ossoff. She was not able to even get people to back him to the extent he could win a runoff House seat election. I think steering billions of dollars of production work out of a despised locale is a little bit beyond her skill set.