A film about the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case is currently in production, and is reportedly facing backlash for a pro-life stance on the issue of abortion. Nick Loeb, one of the film's co-directors, told The Hollywood Reporter that it has been rejected from multiple locations where it was set to film after location managers learned of the subject.
Loeb is co-directing the film alongside his co-producer Cathy Allyn. On board to star in the feature is Clueless actress turned would-be conservative politician Stacey Dash, who will portray Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first Black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Deliverance actor (and Angelina Jolie's father) Jon Voight will play a Supreme Court Justice. Also included in the cast are Joey Lawrence, Steve Guttenberg, and Greer Grammer.
Loeb claimed to THR that some of the members of the cast and crew, who were not initially aware of the film's specific subject matter, left the production over the perceived pro-life stance.
Loeb told Refinery29 that while the entire cast read the script and was therefore informed of the subject of the film, some people who were not directly hired by Loeb (for example, the electrician who, Loeb claimed in his interview with The Hollywood Reporter "threw her headset on the ground and walked off [set]") may not have been as informed of the film's subject.
"In 99% of all films, if I was a key electrician, I wouldn't [be given] a script or told the story of the movie... that really isn't sent out. I'm guessing that [the key people] just didn't think [to explain the story]," Loeb told Refinery29. "But all the time, we've been up front with everybody. Sometimes, they get here, and their friends or family members find out, and they decide to quit. Although we've had those challenges, on the flip side... Louisiana is a very pro-life state... and we've gotten a lot of offers for free stuff, because the people do support our cause."
The outcome of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case found that the constitutional right to privacy "is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." The outcome of the case opened doors for safer abortions and better reproductive care for women. With Donald Trump soon appointing a new Supreme Court Justice, many people are afraid of a potential reversal of federal abortion protections.
Due to the controversial topic and alleged pro-life stance, the film, which is shooting outside of New Orleans, cloaked production under a fake name. Nevertheless, it is not exactly "secret," as it was referred to by THR. In fact, a crowdfunding effort was put in place earlier this year. Per the IndieGogo page, which describes the movie as a "true story of the most corrupt court case in history that led to the murder of 60 Million Babies," the fundraiser was backed by 1636 people and raised $134,572 of a $2 million dollar flexible goal.
Loeb told Refinery29 that the film will show the case from both the pro-choice and pro-life perspective.
"[The film is about] how the media sort of manipulated Norma McCorvey and the courts into the 1973 decision to legalise abortion. It is told from both sides... It's a 50/50 split between the pro-choice and pro-life characters. It's really a journey going from 1969 all the way up to 1973, about how the pro-choicers found Norma, got her lawyers; they prepped her, got her to the courts... The people involved... how they made up these statistics, how they lied to the media to push their agenda... On the pro-life side, you've got... their journeys paralleling each other, all the way through the Supreme Court."
Loeb also claimed that not everyone in the cast or crew is pro-life, though did he state that Refinery29 would have to follow up with each of them individually to hear their specific viewpoints.
"Half the cast is pro-choice," Loeb told Refinery29. "Other than Stacey Dash, I don't really know where Jon Voight stands on the issue... Jon loved the script because it was so factually correct... A lot of the cast, including the leads, are pro-choice... I can't speak for them personally, but overhearing conversations that they've had, a lot of them are pro-choice."
According to Loeb, the project is aiming for a theatrical release. Per THR, the film is negotiating a distribution deal now, aiming for a January 2019 release date.
If Loeb's name sounds familiar, it is because he was once the fiancé of Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, and is currently fighting the TV actress for use of the pair's frozen embryos.