Angelina Jolie’s new Netflix film First They Killed My Father has been fiercely criticised for the “cruel” methods used to cast child actors.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jolie explained how casting directors created a game to find out which of the Cambodian children she was auditioning was right for the lead in the historical thriller about the regime of Pol Pot.
The casting included placing money in front of the children – who were mostly from orphanages and slums – and asking them to think of reasons why the needed it. The director would then pretend to catch the child and take the money away.
Here is the extract from the interview by writer Evgenia Peretz:
First They Killed My Father is based on a true story about the Khmer Rouge genocide which killed almost two million Cambodians in the late 1970s. It is told from the perspective of a five-year-old girl.
The response to this casting method has been met with outrage online.
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) July 27, 2017
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy, UN High Commission for Refugees. https://t.co/gMBeKB8tm5
— Stephen Daisley (@JournoStephen) July 27, 2017
I’m sure the not-visibly-desperate-enough kids’ headshots were kept on file https://t.co/GQESGtUdsI
— William Mullally (@whmullally) July 27, 2017
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 26, 2017
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
Mine: this is exploitative. https://t.co/yxHBIodAm7
— J.E. Reich (@jereichwrites) July 27, 2017
Jolie has also come under fire from human rights groups for casting members of the controversial Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in her film.
Angelina Jolie’s latest movie comes under fire by Human Rights Watch https://t.co/t3htGARe9j
— Pacific Standard (@PacificStand) July 27, 2017
RadioTimes.com has contacted Jolie’s representatives and Netflix for comment.