Melanie Lynskey, Karl Urban, Thomasin McKenzie, Jemaine Clement to star in Andrew Niccol's I, Object

Acclaimed New Zealand actors Melanie Lynskey, Karl Urban, Thomasin McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are set to star in a film by controversial filmmaker Andrew Niccol, who made headlines for his work on the March 15 terror attack film that caused outrage in Aotearoa.

I, Object will be written and directed by New Zealand-born Niccol and follow a 10-year-old who is grieving the loss of his father. Unable to relate to the people in his life, the boy takes refuge in the everyday objects that speak to him and help him heal.

Announced at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie is described as a hybrid of live-action and animation.

I, Object is currently in pre-production and filming will begin later this year.

After an early draft of his script for They Are Us was leaked to Newshub, Niccol faced fierce criticism over how it depicted the 2019 terrorist attack and aftermath. Family members of people murdered in the attack labelled the film "worse than the livestream", while some of the politicians it was to depict called it "misleading" and "offensive".

Amid the backlash, Niccol released a statement in which he did not apologise, but said he was "deeply saddened" the leak of his draft script had upset people.

"We are committed to ensuring that the voices of the affected Muslim community, and the voices of the wider community, will be heard moving forward," Niccol said in July, 2021.

Since then, very little has been heard about the production of They Are Us, which had signed Rose Byrne to play the role of Jacinda Ardern.

Earlier this month, Niccol also announced he would also be making a sequel to his Nicolas Cage film Lord of War.