LITTLE ROCK, Ark – There was a ripple in the Arkansas entertainment community July 5 with the announcement that production for the movie “Eric LaRue” moved from Arkansas to North Carolina.

The reason for the move, as stated in the press release announcing the change, was the abortion trigger law being enacted in Arkansas after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24.

The court’s decision led to Arkansas quickly outlawing abortion except to safe the life of the mother.

“Prior to the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v Wade, the film was scheduled to shoot in Arkansas. Since the Federal Court’s overturn, a decision in which Arkansas’ Attorney General has certified and upheld, Act 180 of 2019 has been triggered to go in effect, banning nearly all abortions in Arkansas, including cases of rape and incest. In response to this, the filmmakers have withdrawn production from the state and will now be shooting in and around Wilmington, North Carolina.”

Statement from producers

The film is set to be directed by Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon in his directorial debt.

This production is set to be the seventh time Shannon had teamed with Jeff Nichols and Sara Green, who have written and produced several films made in Arkansas.  

Nichols is executive producer and Green producer of “Eric LaRue.” Nichols is also cofounder of the Arkansas Cinema Society.

While “Eric LaRue,” with its affiliation with the trio of Shannon, Nichols and Green, is a high-profile production, no additional announcements of film productions leaving the state have been made.

Officials from the Arkansas Film Commission, which is part of the Economic Development Commission, said their group continues to work with film projects in the state.

 “While the film commission cannot disclose the number of projects until production for each project concludes, we can confirm that there are currently several ongoing film projects in the state, and there are several more planned to begin shooting later this year,” Chelsea O’Kelley director of communications at Arkansas Economic Development Commission, stated.

The Film Commission offers incentives for filmmakers using Arkansas as a location, including rebates on good and services and incentives to use Arkansas cast and crew in production. Discounts from Arkansas’ businesses is also offered.

Arkansas has a long history with film, with 1928’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” having scenes shot in and around Helena. “Running the Bases” filmed in Harrison, is currently in post-production. Academy-award-winning “Slingblade,” 1996, was filmed in and around Benton over 24 days.