Screen Daily is reporting that Rose Byrne is set to portray New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern in They Are Us, a drama film from director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Good Kill) which takes place in the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings.
“They Are Us is not so much about the attack but the response to the attack,” said Niccol. “How an unprecedented act of hate was overcome by an outpouring of love and support. The film addresses our common humanity which is why I think it will speak to people around the world. It is an example of how we should respond when there’s an attack on our fellow human beings.”
However, the announcement of the film has been met with a growing backlash in New Zealand, where it has been accused of “white saviorism” by focussing on Ardern as opposed to the victims of the tragedy, and many within the Muslim community stating questioning the timing and appropriateness of the film. Meanwhile, Ardern has also spoken out to distance herself from the project by confirming to StuffNZ that “neither she nor the Government had any involvement with the production.”
Byrne will next be seen in the Apple TV+ comedy-drama series Physical, which premieres on the streaming service on June 18th. Watch the trailer here.