Jacinda Ardern admits she can't stop They Are Us film being made, but urges producers to 'listen'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is calling on those behind the They Are Us film to take note of what Christchurch terror attack victims are saying about it.

Victims' families who have seen a draft script of the movie after a copy was leaked to Newshub say it is worse than the terrorist's livestream.

Ardern, who will be played by Australian actress Rose Byrne in the movie, admits she can't stop the film from being made but has a message for its producers. 

"Whilst I don't have the ability to stop any piece of television or any piece of [a] film being made, what I can ask is for those producers to listen," she told The AM Show on Monday. "Listen to those who are most deeply affected." 

They Are Us plans to depict the shooting over 17 pages according to the draft script, which translates to around 17 minutes' screentime.

Ardern noted that many New Zealanders don't feel right about the film.

"I cannot imagine what it would be [like] to lose someone under such horrific circumstances and then have it re-enacted for the world to see.

"As has been reported, there are inaccuracies as well.

"We've said all the way through that we wouldn't want a place where we have the ability to stop film or television being made - but I think there are other ways to answer this problem and that's by having those who are seeking to make it, to hear people."

Earlier, Maha Elmadani, whose father Ali Elmandani was murdered in Al Noor Mosque, made an appeal to Ardern about the film.

"The Prime Minister has a lot of influence. She has already said her story is not the one that needs to be told, but I think she needs to go beyond that," Elmadani told The AM Show. 

"Essentially, this movie is about her response - if she could also ask Rose Byrne to drop the role, to not get involved and do the right thing, I think that would put a lot of pressure on the producers to scrap the project."

While she wouldn't appeal to Byrne directly, Ardern said she was asking everyone involved in the film to listen.

"The reason I would send my message to the producers rather than to any actors or actresses is that they can change... I think she [Byrne] would hear exactly what I'm saying right now. If I'm saying to the producers, 'listen,' I'm saying to everyone  involved in the film, 'please listen.'

"The producers and the ones seeking to finance this film are the ones that should be focussed on," she said.