Rose Byrne's new movie about New Zealand prime minister causes controversy

·2-min read
Photo credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage - Getty Images

Bridesmaids actress Rose Byrne's new movie They Are Us has attracted controversy.

It places her in the shoes of New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern, while the action focuses on the real-life politician's handling of the Christchurch mosque shootings of 2019 (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Gattaca and Lord of War writer/director Andrew Niccol is the man behind it, basing the title on Ardern's passionate speech referencing the victims of the attack.

As news of the FilmNation project started to hit the headlines though, survivors, writers, activists and many Muslims have shared their collective exasperation over its existence – the hashtag #TheyAreUsShutdown even began trending.

Photo credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage - Getty Images

Related: Bridesmaids' Rose Byrne stars in first-look trailer for new series Physical

"Pals in film & media – please do your part for #TheyAreUsShutDown," tweeted one person in a thread. "No excuses for supporting a Hollywood film that is not from community & uses the horrors of The ChCh Mosque attacks as a backdrop for Rose Byrne's character development.

"Say no to them using your locations. Say no to hiring gear. Say no to being talent. Say no to being crew. Say no to interviewing them or promoting on your media platforms. Say no to They Are Us Film #GiveNothingToRacism #TheyAreUsShutdown."

Ardern has distanced herself from the film and has made it clear that "neither she nor the Government had any involvement" with it (via Stuff).

Photo credit: James Allan - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Allan - Getty Images

Related: 13 actors you never knew were in Star Wars movies, from Rose Byrne to Brian Blessed

Mohamed Hassan of The NZ Herald also went on to write: "The film has chosen to focus not on the tragedy and the victims, but instead on the prime minister and the rest of the country and their response.

"It is being sold as a feel-good story, a portrayal of heroism in the face of terror. In its essence, it is a story about an act of white supremacy that is centered around white voices, white feelings and white heroism.

"The irony is nauseating. The lack of self-awareness is profound."

Digital Spy has contacted FilmNation for comment.

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