- 31 Jul 17
The actress and director has said that she's "upset" by "false" claims that Cambodian children were exploited during the audition process for her new movie, 'First They Killed My Father'.
It was alleged in an article last week that casting directors for the new flick cruelly offered improvised young children money only to snatch it back out of their hands, as part of a twisted audition to capture the children's reaction.
But in a statement just released, Angelina Jolie insists: "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.
"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."
Angelina also told the Vanity Fair magazine: "Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time. When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion.
"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."
One of film's producers, Rithy Panh also dismissed the bizarre casting claims, saying that they are "grossly mischaracterize how child actors were selected for the film (and don't make it clear that) casting was done in the most sensitive way possible."
Panh's continued: "We wanted to see how (child actors) would improvise when their character is found 'stealing' and how they would justify their action. The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested. They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe. What made Srey Moch, who was chosen for the lead role of Loung Ung, so special was that she said that she would want the money not for herself, but for her grandfather."