This is Naeem Rashid, who sacrificed himself disarming the terrorist who opened fire on believers in Christchurch. Photo / Included
Unethical. Totally immoral. unacceptable.
Those are the words Ambreen Naeem has used to describe a planned movie based on the deadly March 15 terror attack that killed her husband Naeem and son Talha.
An early copy of the draft script for the upcoming Hollywood movie “They Are Us” was leaked to Newshub.
The attack takes place over 17 of the 124 pages and shows 15 deaths in graphic detail and many more injuries, Newshub reported.
The script was shown to three families who lost loved ones that day.
“It’s pretty harrowing and traumatizing,” Ambreen said.
The script version begins with a description of shoes outside Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque and the date March 15, 2019.
The concept script describes the terrorist’s presence in the film as a “shocking image” and a “blurred silhouette”, while a writer’s note states that all flashes would be accompanied by “discordant, ominous sound”.
Salwa Mohamad’s husband Khaled and son Hamza were murdered in the Al Noor mosque.
The script moves to a farm in Christchurch, where a man – named Khaled Mustafa – strokes a thoroughbred stallion and watches his son Hamza play with a football.
But Hamza wasn’t playing football that day, he was at school.
In the script, Khaled and Hamza are depicted dead in each other’s arms in the mosque.
But they did not die together in the mosque.
“They change the facts. They make their own facts. It’s not true what I read in that scene,” Salwa told Newshub.
Salwa has not been contacted by the film’s producers.
One of the heroes of March 15 is Naeem Rashid, who tried to take the gun from the terrorist – but this heroism is not included in this script.
“No one even bothered to ask us. It’s unethical, totally immoral and unacceptable,” said Naeem’s widow Ambreen.
Talha Naeem, son of Ambreen and Naeem, was also killed in the terrorist attack.
Talha’s younger brother Abdullah Naeem said the script also contained false details about his father and brother.
“Hollywood has no right to paint them as they see fit. They can’t just create a false story… just to make money.
“I was shaking when I read it, it was so horrifying. I can’t believe anyone can even create this.”
In the film’s synopsis, which was released publicly, producer Ayman Jamal said: “In a mirror of New Zealand’s own approach, during the film, the shooter is never shown and his name is never spoken.”
But a director’s note in the script obtained by Newshub said that a “lack of clear visual context for the shooter somehow makes the event more shocking and terrifying – what we are left with most is the brutality of the sound of not being – relentless gunfire.”
Maha Elmadani, who lost her father Ali in the attack, said keeping the terrorist’s face in darkness “only adds to that notoriety”.
“It just makes it all clearer that the goal of this movie is to create a great drama and turn this into a kind of horror movie.”
The script describes a “cacophony of gunfire and casings bouncing off the floor and walls, a hard rainstorm.”
Maha said she couldn’t see how the film was different from the live stream, while Salwa said it was worse.
Salwa said a film based on this script could inspire other white supremacists — and she feared what it would mean to the March 15 terrorist.
“He will be very proud of himself. He will think he has won and that will increase his fame.”
Jacinda Ardern was to be played by Australian actor Rose Byrne – and Salwa asked Byrne to put herself in her shoes.
Producers say the script is still in development and subject to change.
Producer Ayman Jamal told Newshub today that they wholeheartedly respected any victim families who did not want to share their story and would not mention or present the stories of their loved ones.