Christchurch terror attack film They Are Us about Jacinda Ardern dubbed 'sickening', 'too soon'

News of an upcoming Hollywood film about the aftermath of the Christchurch terror attack starring Rose Byrne as Jacinda Ardern has prompted outrage. 

The movie is set to be titled They Are Us, taken from a speech Prime Minister Ardern gave following the murder of 51 people on March 15, 2019.

Reports of the project immediately drew backlash, with online commentators dubbing the idea "sickening" and "exploitative". 

"I don't want a commercialised product about the event which had me hold a sobbing bereaved father in my arms the following Tuesday morning, thanks," one Twitter user wrote. 

"Sorry, why did anyone think this was a good idea?" Another questioned, while a third asked: "Please tell me this is all a joke." 

According to Deadline, the film "follows Ardern's response to the tragic events and the remarkable achievements of her government and citizens", leaving some people unimpressed with the spotlight being on the Prime Minister over the victims and their families. 

"The movie isn't about the victims! It's focused on Jacinda. And yes, she did well, but we CANNOT disregard the victims. No one wants this movie," one tweet reads. 

"No. Not a movie, that's so freaking gross and inconsiderate," another said. 

"The Christchurch terror attack has been seared onto the memories of Muslims around the globe, and I can't imagine what the people of Christchurch still feel. Make it a documentary or better yet, cancel it."

Just days after the terror attack in 2019, an Egyptian filmmaker saying he planned to make a film entitled Hello Brother about the massacre prompted similar outrage.

They Are Us is set to be written and directed by Kiwi Andrew Niccol - a choice with which some are taking issue, labelling his venture an example of "white saviour mentality".

"This makes me want to vomit. The act of hate was murdering 51 people and it wasn't overcome by the outpouring of love, they remain dead and their families traumatised and bereft and this white wanker wants to make a movie about how lovely we all were?" one tweet asked. 

"Get absolutely f**ked." 

Niccol said he thought the film would "speak to people around the world" as "an example of how we should respond when there's an attack on our fellow human beings".

Meanwhile, The AM Show's Amanda Gillies - who reported from Christchurch in the days after the attack - called the film "weird, oddly distasteful and maybe too soon". 

Production of the film is set to take place in Aotearoa, and the script was reportedly developed in consultation with several members of the mosque affected by the tragedy. 

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told Newshub that Ardern and the New Zealand Government have no involvement with the film.