Angelina Jolie Disputes Vanity Fair’s Depiction of Her “Disturbing” Child Auditions

The Vanity Fair cover story described a “game” casting directors played with children in Cambodia where they placed money in front of children and then took it away.

Angelina Jolie is disputing Vanity Fair‘s depiction of how children were treated in Cambodia during auditions for her upcoming film adaptation First They Killed My Father. After Vanity Fair published that casting directors were playing a game “rather disturbing in its realism” with potential child actors, Jolie responded saying that the story did not clearly describe what was a “pretend exercise in an improvisation.”

Vanity Fair contributing editor Evgenia Peretz wrote that casting directors played a game where they placed money in front of children and asked them to think of something they needed it for, and then “snatched it away” from them. When one girl (Srey Moch, who was chosen for a role in the film) was forced to give the money back, Jolie teared up while saying that the girl later expressed that she would have used the money to have a nice funeral for her grandfather.

Jolie and her crew reportedly looked at “orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship.”Peretz also wrote that the director would pretend to catch a child, and the child would have to think of a lie.

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Jolie said that all necessary precautions were taken to make sure children were taken care of on set.

“Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present,” said Jolie. “Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.”

Jolie added that she was “upset” at Vanity Fair‘s description of her audition exercises and expressed that real money was not taken from children during the auditions.

“I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario,” said Jolie. “The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened. The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.”

First They Killed My Father is Loung Ung’s 2000 memoir of the Khmer Rouge genocide. The Netflix original film was shot in Cambodia and Jolie’s son Maddox was one of her children who had an active role on set.

Read the full statement from Jolie to Huffington Post below:

Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present. Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.

I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.

The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.

 

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