Angelina Jolie found herself at the centre of a media storm at the end of last week.
She has been criticised for the allegedly “cruel” audition process for her upcoming film, First They Killed My Father, which involved exploiting underprivileged children who were hoping to get a role in the movie.
What she said about the auditioning process in a Vanity Fair article seems to have been taken out of context and Angelina herself was keen to clear it up. Here’s the basis of what was said in the original article…
The film’s casting directors played a game with the auditioning children, who mostly came from orphanages, circuses and slum schools. The game involved putting money on a table and asking the child to “steal” the money, before asking them to come up with a believable reason for taking it.
Angelina Jolie openly explained her reasons for choosing the successful child…
“Srey Moch was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” she said about the girl who landed the part.
“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.”
Although this was just an auditioning exercise, many people took to social media to explain their outrage, calling it “monstrous” and “exploitative” among other things.
As you can imagine, UN Ambassador and philanthropist Angelina Jolie had an instant reaction to these claims, and released a statement almost immediately to clear things up…
“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,” the statement read.
“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 statement began.
“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.”
We didn’t think for a second that Angelina Jolie could be involved in a legitimately cruel activity. We’re glad she cleared things up for anyone in doubt.
First They Killed My Father will be available on Netflix later this year.