The casting method for Angelina Jolie’s latest Netflix film, which involved taunting impoverished Cambodian children with money, has sparked outrage online, with many criticizing it to be excessively cruel and unnecessary.
Jolie’s casting directors reportedly employed the controversial technique in her latest film, “First They Killed My Father”, which is based on the memoir of Loung Ung. The book tells of Ung’s own experience as a young child in Cambodia back in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took power and implemented the genocide that followed.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jolie revealed that she traveled to Cambodia to find suitable child actors for the film.
To cast the role of young Ung, Jolie and her casting director selected impoverished children who have specifically experienced hardship in their lives. The candidates were then asked to play a “game” which many netizens found to be cruel as it involved giving money to, then taking it away from impoverished kids in Cambodia.
In the game, casting directors reportedly placed some money on the table and the children were asked to think of something they might need the money for. The children were then told to take the money off the table, but a director would then act as if to catch the child, and the children had to come up with a lie.
“Srey Moch (the girl selected for the part) was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie told Vanity Fair.
“When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back,” the actress says, in tears.
“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.”
According to the article, the emotionally demanding game was justified by the casting crew as a means of “garnering raw emotion” from the children.
As if the children weren’t traumatized enough with the hardships they experienced, such mind games further subjected them to the cruelty that was undeniably tantamount to child abuse.
Netizens expressed their outrage on Twitter, with many blasting the technique as excessive and mean:
Human rights advocate Bianca Jagger also expressed her shock over the method:
Was the casting method necessary or just ruthless? Share your thoughts!