Pop Culture

Angelina Jolie Criticized for Putting Children Through ‘Cruel’ Casting Game

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Angelina Jolie is working on an ambitious directorial project about a young girl in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. It’s just the sort of intense, political project Jolie has been championing for years, but now she’s facing intense criticism for an unusual game used to cast child actors for the project, which critics are calling “cruel” and “traumatizing.”

In a new Vanity Fair profile, Angelina Jolie talks about her divorce from Brad Pitt, her diagnosis with Bell’s Palsy, and her upcoming project called First They Killed My Father. It’s the life story of writer and human rights activist Loung Ung. It’s a huge movie shot entirely in Cambodia. But now Jolie’s under fire for allowing an unconventional casting process.


Jolie’s casting “game”

To cast the lead role, Jolie did not hold traditional auditions. Instead, she specifically “looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship.”

Instead of having the little girls act scenes, the casting directors set up a “game.” Casting directors set money on a table and told the little girls to imagine what they might need money for. They told the girls to snatch the money and run away. Then the casting director would run after them and catch them, and the girls would have to come up with a lie about what they needed the money for.

Jolie cast a little girl named Srey Moch, who Jolie said is “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,” Jolie said. “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.”


People are calling it cruel

Critics called the casting scheme cruel, unethical, and traumatizing.


What do you think of Angelina Jolie’s casting process? Let us know in the comments.

(Image: Wikimedia / Gage Skidmore)