Jacinda Ardern wants a new film in development about the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks to focus on someone else.
The movie, They Are Us, has caused outrage since its announcement on Friday. Among the criticisms are that it’s too soon, the victims and Muslim community weren’t adequately consulted, and that it will perpetuate the ‘white saviour’ narrative by putting Ardern at the centre.
“The project follows Ardern’s response to the tragic events and the remarkable achievements of her government and citizens who rallied behind her message of compassion and unity to ban assault rifles in New Zealand,” Deadline – which broke the news – reported.
Australian actress Rose Byrne will portray the Prime Minister, whose response to the atrocity was widely praised worldwide.
“While it’s for the community to speak for themselves, it’s my view March 15 remains very raw for New Zealand,” Ardern told Newshub in a statement.
“There are plenty of stories from March 15 that could be told, but I don’t consider mine to be one of them.”
More than 50 people were killed that day when a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch.
Ardern said she “had nothing to do with the film in any form and wasn’t consulted on it”.
The film is expected to be shot in New Zealand, and written and directed by Kiwi film veteran Andrew Niccol, the brains behind dystopian classics Gattaca and The Truman Show.
A petition to stop the film’s production has been signed almost 20,000 times.