Oscar winner Angelina Jolie says Vanity Fair’s depiction of controversial child auditions for her latest film set in Cambodia, First They Killed My Father, is “false.”
The magazine article, published online earlier this week, described a casting exercise used by those involved with the film. First They Killed My Father is based on author Loung Ung’s first-person account of the country’s Khmer Rouge genocide.
According to the profile, young Cambodian children from “orphanages, circuses and slum schools” were baited during the audition process.
Vanity Fair’s description
“In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away,” the article reads.
“The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.”
The story then quotes Jolie: “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” adding, “when she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion.”
The description caused many to criticize the behind-the-scenes casting approach as “cruel.”
Jolie fights back
In a statement to the Huffington Post published late Saturday, Jolie, who also serves as a United Nations special envoy for refugees, said the context was misrepresented.
“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,” Jolie said.