Angelina Jolie is well-known for her humanitarian work around the globe, but the Oscar winner is drawing backlash for the way she chose to audition orphans for her next film, with people calling her approach "exploitative," "monstrous" and "psychopathic."
In her new Vanity Fair interview (the one in which she addresses her split from Brad Pitt and her Bell's Palsy diagnosis), Jolie talks about the "game" she played while trying to find the right child for her Netflix film "First They Killed My Father," which is based on one girl's memories of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.
She detailed how casting directors found children in "orphanages, circuses and slum schools," and tested them for the role by putting money on the tale in front of them and asking them what they would use it for. The controversial part: The money was then taken away from the children to see how they reacted.
"[Sareum] Srey Moch [the girl who landed the role] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time," Jolie told the magazine. "When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion." The girl said she wanted to use the money for a "nice funeral" for her grandfather," who had just died.
Twitter erupted with outrage at the "game," with many calling it a form of emotional abuse.
Angelina Jolie is crazy. What a cruel psychological game to play with impoverished children. pic.twitter.com/iAEUhINBui— Denizcan Targaryen (@MrFilmkritik) July 26, 2017
this is deliberate emotional abuse inflicted upon kids and not a word should be spoken in its defense. https://t.co/l73qJJuvN4— dan (@_suprdan) July 27, 2017
Jolie told Vanity Fair there was a therapist on set every day provide support for those impacted by flashbacks and nightmares of the Khmer Rouge's deadly reign, although that's not clear if it applies to children in the audition process.
In a trailer for the film released in February, Jolie called it a "love letter to the Cambodian" people and that 15-year-old son, Maddox whom she adopted from a Cambodian orphanage in 2002, is a producer.
The movie premiered in Cambodia in February and will play the Toronto Film Fest in September. No release date has yet been announced by Netflix.
[Via Huffington Post]