Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Angelina Jolie responds to backlash over film’s controversial audition process

rexfeatures_8873807a.jpg

Angelina Jolie has been forced to defend the controversial casting process for her new film, First They Killed My Father.

The star – who is famed all over the world for her humanitarian efforts – came under fire last week after an interview in which it was explained that the film’s casting directors sought out children from “orphanages, circuses and slum schools” and subjected them to an unusual audition process.

According to the Vanity Fair interview, they placed a large sum of money onto a table and encouraged the children to dream about what they would use it for before being encouraged to steal it, and then being ‘caught’ by someone, to whom they’d have to explain why they took it.

Sareum Srey Moch (who eventually won the part) was, according to Jolie, the only child that “stared at the money for a very, very long time” before becoming emotional – apparently recalling real-life events.

“When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion,” said Jolie. “All these different things came flooding back.

“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.”


Read more: Angelina Jolie diagnosed with Bell’s palsy following Brad Pitt split


After Jolie’s account of the casting call was made public, it sparked a backlash online – with many pointing out how “cruel” and “disturbing” such a process would be on the children.

Now Jolie has responded to the backlash, saying it was a “pretend exercise”.

As reported by Huffington Post, she said in a statement: “Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and wellbeing 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 every day, 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: “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.”

Images: Rex Features

Related

rexfeatures_5901606a.jpg

Angelina Jolie slammed for “cruel” experiment on impoverished children

angelina jolie bell's palsy.jpg

Angelina Jolie diagnosed with Bell’s palsy following Brad Pitt split

gogglesprogs.JPG

Gogglesprogs kids expose huge sexism problem in TV and film

More

Jennifer Lawrence was forced into a naked line-up by a producer

In the name of weight-loss “inspiration”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Abigail Breslin’s photo reveals how domestic abuse can stay with you

The actor has opened up about the realities of living with PTSD

17 Oct 2017

“Why Liar is proof that TV's depiction of rape is damaging to women”

The proliferation of rape in TV and film is a real problem for the representation of women

by Harriet Hall
17 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted at 16 by a director

“Producers made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Courtney Love tried to warn us about Harvey Weinstein in 2005

This video shows her speaking out against Weinstein over a decade ago

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hillary Clinton praises NHS after receiving medical treatment in UK

Clinton spoke about the UK’s health service during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Maisie Williams’ response to Sophie Turner’s engagement is perfect

There’s a reason these two have been dubbed #BFFgoals, you know…

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017

America Ferrera reveals she was sexually assaulted as a 9-year-old

‘I believed that I was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man’

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the weekend

From Ella Eyre’s autumnal spirit to Serena Williams’ mother-daughter selfie

by Nicola Colyer
16 Oct 2017