An­gelina Jolie says child cast­ing story is false, up­set­ting

El Dorado News-Times - - Out & About -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — An­gelina Jolie says ac­counts of her cast­ing process for chil­dren to ap­pear in her film "First They Killed My Fa­ther" are false and up­set­ting. An ex­cerpt from a Van­ity Fair pro­file of the di­rec­tor sparked back­lash on­line ear­lier this week from peo­ple who crit­i­cized the meth­ods as be­ing cruel and ex­ploita­tive.

Adapted from Loung Ung's me­moir, the bi­o­graph­i­cal drama cen­ters on her child­hood un­der the bru­tal Kh­mer Rouge regime in Cam­bo­dia. Jolie co-wrote and di­rected the film, which she talked about in a re­cent Van­ity Fair pro­file.

The ar­ti­cle de­scribed a scene in which cast­ing di­rec­tors in their at­tempt to find a child ac­tress to play the lead role pre­sented money to im­pov­er­ished chil­dren only to take it away from them as an act­ing ex­er­cise.

Jolie and pro­ducer Rithy Panh is­sued joint state­ments Sun­day re­spond­ing to the out­rage and re­fut­ing claims that the pro­duc­tion was ex­ploita­tive through a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Net­flix, which is pro­duc­ing and dis­tribut­ing the film.

"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," Jolie said. "I would be out­raged my­self if this had hap­pened."

Jolie said par­ents, guardians and doc­tors were on set daily to care for the chil­dren and "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."

Panh, who him­self is a sur­vivor of the Kh­mer Rouge, added that cast­ing "was done in the most sen­si­tive way pos­si­ble."

He de­scribed a process that was in­formed both by fam­i­lies' pref­er­ences and NGO (non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion) guide­lines in which the chil­dren un­der­stood that they would be act­ing out a scene.

"The chil­dren were not tricked or en­trapped, as some have sug­gested," Panh said. "They un­der­stood very well that this was act­ing, and make be­lieve."

The Van­ity Fair ar­ti­cle went into more de­tail about the pro­duc­tion than the one para­graph that cir­cu­lated on Twit­ter, which sparked the ini­tial out­rage.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Van­ity Fair is­sued a state­ment Sun­day say­ing that au­thor Ev­ge­nia Peretz "clearly de­scribes what hap­pened dur­ing the cast­ing process as a 'game' " and "that the film­mak­ers went to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths to be sen­si­tive in ad­dress­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal stresses on the cast and crew that were in­evitable in mak­ing a movie about the geno­cide car­ried out in Cam­bo­dia by the Kh­mer Rouge."

Jolie's film will de­but on Net­flix some­time af­ter show­ing at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val this Septem­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.