Rose Byrne is set to play New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in upcoming title They Are Us. Andrew Niccol will write and direct the project, which focuses on the week following the 2019 Christchurch attacks on New Zealand’s Muslim community.
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. The title comes from the PM’s powerful speech describing the 51 victims of the attack, which took place across two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayer on March 15, 2019. Ardern received worldwide praise for her response to the shootings.
They Are Us is produced by Ayman Jamal, Stewart Till, Niccol and Philippa Campbell. Production will take place in New Zealand.
The script was developed in consultation with several members of the mosques affected by the tragedy.
“They Are Us is not so much about the attack but the response to the attack [and] how an unprecedented act of hate was overcome by an outpouring of love and support,” said Niccol. “The film addresses our common humanity, which is why I think it will speak to people around the world. It is an example of how we should respond when there’s an attack on our fellow human beings.”
Basner said: “We are thrilled to bring to market this inspiring story about the positive impact, even in the darkest of moments, a strong leader can have on their constituents’ lives when they work from a place of compassion, love and an unwavering conviction to do what is right.”
Byrne recently starred in FX’s limited series Mrs. America where she portrayed journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. She also stars and exec produces the upcoming Apple TV+ Original drama series Physical, which unspools on the streamer this month.
New Zealand native Niccol was nominated for an Oscar for his film Gattaca, which he wrote and directed. He also wrote and produced Oscar-nominated pic The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey.
Niccol is repped by CAA. Byrne is repped by CAA and RGM Artists.
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