On Tuesday, Vanity Fair published a sprawling profile of Angelina Jolie, which covered her divorce from Brad Pitt, her family life, and her latest project — First They Killed My Father, a movie adaptation of activist Loung Ung’s 2000 memoir about surviving the Cambodian genocide.
Included is a story of how Jolie, who is also a U.N. Special Envoy, decided to cast the film:
To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “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.”
Nothing troubling and exploitative here, nope.