Angelina Jolie has come in for some criticism after discussing the casting methods she used for her new directorial effort, First They Killed My Father.
The film is based on the life of Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung and recounts the horrors she suffered under the rule of Khmer Rouge.
Jolie features on the cover of Vanity Fair this month and in her interview for the magazine she recounted the techniques she and her casting director used to find the child to play the young Loung Ung in the film.
"To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. 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 director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “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.”
Following the publication of the interview, Jolie has received an online backlash for the casting methods with many commenting that it was a 'cruel' and 'exploitative.'
Angelina Jolie is crazy. What a cruel psychological game to play with impoverished children. pic.twitter.com/iAEUhINBui
— Denizcan Targaryen (@MrFilmkritik) July 26, 2017
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 26, 2017
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) July 27, 2017
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy, UN High Commission for Refugees. https://t.co/gMBeKB8tm5
— Stephen Daisley (@JournoStephen) July 27, 2017
— Rebecca Love (@BeccaL_1994) July 27, 2017
The film is due to be released on Netflix next year.