Angelina Jolie: Children were not exploited during casting call

Actor and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie delivers a statement in front of the sexual and gender-based violence prevention course at the International Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 20, 2017.
Actor and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie delivers a statement in front of the sexual and gender-based violence prevention course at the International Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 20, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Children were not exploited during a casting call for her new film, First They Killed My Father, actress-director Angelina Jolie has clarified.

She said readers misinterpreted an excerpt from a Vanity Fair profile last week that dwelled on the methods used to discover Cambodian children to star in the Netflix movie.

According to the excerpt, the casting directors put money on a table in front of impoverished children for them to take, only to then snatch it from them and have them come up with a reason for why they needed it.

In the Vanity Fair interview, Jolie was quoted as saying: "Srey Moch (who was selected for the lead role) was the only child who stared at the money for a very, very long time.

"When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died and they didn't have enough money for a nice funeral."

In a statement to Huffington Post, Jolie said the "pretend exercise" had been misconstrued.

"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."

The film is based on Cambodian- American Loung Ung's memoir of her experience as a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline 'Excerpt misinterpreted: Jolie'. Print Edition | Subscribe