Did Angelina Jolie exploit Cambodian kids in the audition process for her film?

Premiere of 'Wind River' - Arrivals

Angelina Jolie covers the September issue of Vanity Fair, and I already covered the quotes about her family and life post-divorce in a previous post (go here to read). Jolie covers VF because she’s promoting her Cambodian film (which she directed) First They Killed My Father, based on Loung Ung’s memoir. The film features a child actor playing Loung Ung during her childhood under the Khmer Rouge, as well as other child actors. As she was casting the film, Angelina obviously selected an entirely Cambodian cast, and she had a peculiar method for finding the right child actors:

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.”

That authentic connection to pain was awakened in everyone involved, says Jolie, making for a film set like nothing she’d ever seen. “There wasn’t a person who was working on the movie who didn’t have a personal connection. They weren’t coming to do a job. They were walking in the exodus for the people whom they had lost in their family, and it was out of respect for them that they were going to re-create it . . . It completed something for them.” Some had flashbacks and nightmares. For this reason, a therapist was on set every day. And then there were the odd bystanders who hadn’t been aware that a movie was being made, and were traumatized. In one scene, recalls Jolie, “when the Khmer Rouge came over the bridge, we had a few people who really dropped to their knees and wailed. They were horrified to see them come back.”

[From Vanity Fair]

As many have pointed out, the story about setting up poor children and orphans to “steal money” seems… exploitative. My first reaction when reading the cover story was that it sounded stupidly unnecessary too – surely there were easier, less complicated and less exploitative ways of auditioning these kids and figuring out if they had the capacity to portray the necessary emotions. It also seemed… odd that this was a story Angelina wanted to be told in her VF profile. Does she not realize how it would come across? Now, all that being said, re-read the passage: they set this up as a game. That’s what they told the kids, that it was just a game. I think that’s how Angelina justified it to herself, and how everyone around her justified it.

Cover courtesy of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/VF and additional photos courtesy of Getty.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

281 Responses to “Did Angelina Jolie exploit Cambodian kids in the audition process for her film?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. truth hurts says:

    Prole take anything she says as twist it to make it negative. Of I recall correctly the casting crew set that up she approved of it but is not total blame. But really she did not exploit tose kids. Enough.

    • Shijel says:

      I don’t know. A “game” that involves baiting impoverished kids with money to get a believable reaction out of them seems like exploitation of vulnerable young people to me. They chose one. Are all of the other kids who didn’t get the part just gonna spend an hour with the on-set therapist and then go home back to their ordinary lives?

      It IS negative. It is messed up. These kids understand the meaning of money if their reactions described in the interviews is anything to go by. This game is cruel, and it should’ve not happened, and it certainly should’ve not been discussed in VF as an anecdote.

    • V4Real says:

      Oh please AJ had a hand in this and hell yes she exploited those kids. If this was Charlize Theron or Paltrow you would be saying what bad people they are but AJ gets a pass. She knew about it but the casting directors set it up. Come on it’s her film, she controls it. That’s like saying the casting directors robbed the bank AJ just drove the get away car.

      • BJ says:

        If it was one of those actresses you would be praising them.Bye

      • Miles says:

        @V4Real, If this was literally anyone else, the outrage would be through the roof.

      • Artemis says:

        Exactly. Hell if any director would have a hand consenting to this, it would be called exploitation but with Jolie the personal always comes first as people don’t really care for her work. It’s her draw.

        This is a woman who insisted on controlling every single aspect of her previous movies which resulted in the most embarrassing movie in her career (BTS) as she thinks she can do anything from writing to directing. This movie is even more personal and was clearly in accordance to her understanding of the country, her relationship with its people and the writer of the book who is one of her best friends. But NO she cannot possibly have known about the casting process? Her children were even involved in the movie. It’s so odd when fans gas her skills up (she writes, directs, acts etccc) but they aren’t about it when she’s involved in bad decisions?

      • V4Real says:

        @BJ girl go buy yourself a reality check. I don’t like those two actresses and some people on here know that about me . Nice try, epic fail.

        You can defend your obsession as much as you like but AJ was wrong to do this just to get the right child actress for her film. They did this just to find the right little girl to cast. But how do they know they would get the same emotions from her once they started filming. Were they going to play those cruel little games with this child every time they needed her to emote a certain way.

        AJ and her crew were wrong to do this to these impoverished children. She should be ashamed and if you think this is ok you should be too. But you won’t because AJ can do no wrong in your eyes. Angie could slap a baby and you would blame the baby .

      • Chinoiserie says:

        BJ, Who praises Theron or Paltrow of anything here?

      • khaveman says:

        Seems like way too complicated and cruel for children – in auditions don’t you just read/act $%#^ lines in a script? This seems over the top and psychological. Sorry, the woman is twisted. I don’t buy her angelic PR BS.

    • Peanut says:

      Well it seems people are sooo excited. They’re hoping this could be ‘the THING’ – YOU KNOW THE THING that you’ve always hoped would take Angelina down. Show that she’s not a good person, not a good mother, a fake, a phoney and spell the end of all of her humanitarian good deed doing that makes others angry and feel resentful because they know they’re awful people and she isn’t.

      By the way, NO – Angelina is NOT bad for assembling child actors and going through a casting ‘method’ game exercise with them *that they were in on.* What part of “they (the kids) snatched it away” don’t you get? The adults didn’t snatch it away the kids did, then the adults “PRETENDED” to catch them and the kids pretended to be caught.

      Part of this is very obviously the way in which this story was written about. It kind of smells like a set up, not unlike the ‘can’t wait for when the kids are older to see how their parents fall in love,’ comment she made once where dozens of magazines left out the ‘blow up stuff, and be spies, ‘ stuff that showed she was talking about the characters in the movie. Every rag and mag ran with it like it was a confessional.

      Now you’ve got the usual hypocrites and women who’ve hated her since 2005, eagerly piling on about casting method games of child actors. I think it’s patronizing and condescending that you think foreign kids from other countries can’t handle an acting exercise but the American kids on stranger things can.

      Meanwhile keep beating Jolie up even as you make Jimmy Kimmel and American parents go viral several times a year, with their ‘torturing the kids’ videos that kids as young as toddler age are willfully tricked into.

      Hypocrite haters.

      • detritus says:

        Our point is that for children, the psychological impact of calling it a game doesn’t change much. Like the Milgram experiment, or the Stanford one, these types of experiments produce lasting psychological impacts, thats why they are no longer legal in most of europe and north america. it is considered an ethical violation even if the people involved consent.

        In the case of children, calling it a game may slightly reduce the impact, but it is still damaging. especially for children who are picked from the most vulnerable populations.

        If something similar happened to the children on Stranger Things, I would be against that as well, but this example is exceptionally bad for its ignorance.

      • Goats on the Roof says:

        Oh miss me wth the bullshit. This isn’t about taking Angelina down. This has everything to do with someone who knows better failing to do better when an opportunity presented itself. This casting method was cruel and unnecessary.

      • Cherise says:

        Peanut, I dont understand. If you hate Kimmels torture pranks why do you support this? Same wheelhouse, no?

        Also, please dont compare the Stranger Things kids to this. The children who auditioned were not drawn from REAL secret government experiments and a REAL alternate reality occupied by a monster and auditioned by playing a “game” wherein they are given the key to escape the government agencies and monsters clutches and then have it taken away unless they can talk their way to getting it back.

      • Savasana Lotus says:

        It’s troubling that you feel so compulsively compelled to defend Jolie that you justify this and criticize the majority that see this as exploitation.

      • Radley says:

        You’re way too invested in her. Criticism of this doesn’t mean commenters want to take her down. I mean, really. You need not write a screed in her defense.

        Why are people like this? I truly do not get it.

      • Peanut says:

        Yea @detrius, really can’t see how a casting exercise where the actor kid is told it’s just that, and to pretend or create a story around an event, is like the milgram torture experiment surrounding genocide in which the people were unaware.

        So now Angelina is Hitler.

        Quick Brad, go for sole custody – whatever damage you did to your kids when you allegedly accostedin a drunken rage,it pales in relation to Angelina’s loose change game.

        Oh and I’m sure Angelina kept the money all to herself and kicked the Cambodian kids out too. Maybe Cambodia will take back her honorary citizenship…yaaay. Maybe she’ll have to return her Hersholt Oscar! Yaaay…It will be like 13 years of humanitarianism never hapoened. They’ll finally be an opening for… saint Jen of Maragaritaville! Brad and she will get back together and be the new humanitarian couple! Squeeee!

      • detritus says:

        Lets take about 20% off there, eh?

        No one is calling Angie Hitler, no one is saying she should give back her oscars or not have custody of her children.It is similar to the MIlgram experiment in that it is causing psychological distress based on the request of someone in authority.

        I like Angie an awful lot, but this is a significant misstep.

      • Meredith says:

        “So now Angelina is Hitler.

        Quick Brad, go for sole custody – whatever damage you did to your kids when you allegedly accostedin a drunken rage,it pales in relation to Angelina’s loose change game.”

        Jesus Christ. This argument right here is why people use the term Angeloonies. Nice strawman, but literally no one said this. Except you.

      • Gretchen says:

        @ Peanut, hardly. I’m normally a fan of Jolie’s and I find this despicable. I had the great privilege of spending a few months in Cambodia, I visited the Killing Fields and S21 and had a particularly upsetting experience with one of the street kids in Siem Reap, I wouldn’t give her money knowing that it goes back to a pimp but offered to share a meal with her and her friends, we hung out for hours together and when it was unfortunately time for me to leave she ran after me, jumped up to give me a hug and clung on begging me not to leave her there. The thought of casting directors taking advantage of children in these sorts of desperate situations is sick.

        And this? “When the Khmer Rouge came over the bridge, we had a few people who really dropped to their knees and wailed. They were horrified to see them come back.” SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. PERIOD.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Peanut, it’s silly to mention Aniston when nobody else had and that because Jolie is blamed of one thing people are just haters attacking her regarding everything. You seem to just assume what people are thinking and what their motivations are and I don’t know why.

      • Hunterca says:

        @Peanut: People can still find fault with someone they admire. After all, we are all imperfect. This isn’t about “taking down AJ.” The article was more of a head scratcher, trying to figure out what would possess a normally very thoughtful and considerate woman where children are concerned to think that triggering trauma in these children (as Sixer so aptly put it) is okay. Most of us get that it was very exploitative. It’s puzzling that she does not.

        The other alternative is that she was fully aware of what she was doing and therefore responsible for something very disgusting. Either way, Peanut, her actions are going to have deserved consequences. Deal. Find a new idol.

      • Erica_V says:

        @detritus “Lets take about 20% off there, eh?” I legit LOLed.

      • Daisy says:

        How are you breathing up in there?

    • Frigga says:

      What is wrong with you?? She agreed to it, making her responsible for allowing it to happen. Baiting impoverished children is disgusting. They even had a therapist on board, knowing they would be traumatizing people. It’s pretty sickening. But every celebrity has their blind followers.

    • PPP says:

      I worked in Cambodia for many years, and they love her there. My best friend’s mom was a maid at a hotel and she got tipped $2,000 from her. I have no doubt Jolie cares about Cambodia. However, this is horrific behavior and deserves to be called out. I worked at an orphanage. To get to meet Jolie, to have the prospect of starring in a movie with her– that’s getting a disenfranchised kid’s hopes way, way, way up. That’s my first problem with this: searching specifically for the worst-off kids. Least she could do is pay for the education of these kids, as all schools in Cambodia cost money (a minimal amount to us– she could easily finance 1,000 kids’ education). But to dash a kid’s hopes this cruelly, and then they’re left with the same nothing they had before– that’s heartbreaking. I cried when I read this because I was picturing my kids going through this. It’s just so cruel.

      • PennyLane says:

        “To get to meet Jolie, to have the prospect of starring in a movie with her– that’s getting a disenfranchised kid’s hopes way, way, way up. That’s my first problem with this: searching specifically for the worst-off kids.”

        Thank you for saying this. I lived in Thailand for several years and used to volunteer occasionally at an orphanage. Those kids were so sweet. People are complicated and I’m sure that Jolie meant well, but reading what she did to those poor vulnerable children made me cry.

      • Nike says:

        @Gretchen, @PPP, and @PenyLane

        This is what I was seeing, reading the article – without ever having stepped foot in an orphanage in Cambodia. What they describe is cruelty.

        I like Angie too, and I think she’s done a lot of good, for a lot of people. But this wasn’t good, and she shouldn’t get a pass. And to compare it to the casting experience of the Stranger Things child actors is ridiculous.

    • Sarah says:

      Are you kiddin me? You don’t see that game as horribly cruel? Wow.

  2. Nicole says:

    Doesn’t matter because from the reaction of the little girl it was real. And that’s where the exploration comes in. Just like when you do psychology experiments the #1 rule should be do no harm. And this was harmful. A therapist on set does not fix that because all the kids were not hired. I doubt they gave all the kids who auditioned time with a therapist. She should know better

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      Exactly. The children believed it. And what of the kids who aren’t in the movie? did they get money to help them? Or just told- thanks, no thanks, we don’t need you?


      To give that burden to children already forgotten?

    • noway says:

      Exactly, I’m less worried about the children that were cast than the ones who weren’t, although the whole thing was bad. Honestly, though is it worth a movie to put children who have already been through such horrors to act something even adults can’t understand. First sign that maybe it isn’t worth it is you need a therapist and the children are having nightmares.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      Exactly this!

      For all her exposure and humanitarian causes, Angelina still exploited traumatized children when it suited her purpose. I won’t be watching this film.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      I can’t believe she would authorize this, but it appears she did…

    • JC says:

      Vile. Exploitative. Reprehensible. Then after she makes the movie, she and her cast, crew, and her kids pack up and leave —–but hey, they leave feeling good about their “authentic connection” with the locals.

    • Aren says:

      I was thinking about that as well, that it sounded like a psychology experiment that would’ve been allowed in the 60′s but would have now been banned and labeled unethical due to the harm done to participants.

    • Sixer says:

      They deliberately triggered lived trauma in children.

      It’s the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever heard.

      And JOLIE “teared up”? JFC. I wish I hadn’t read this article. I feel like heaving.

      • Tanguerita says:

        @Sixer my feelings exactly. I felt like taking a shower afterwards. And the bit about “tearing up” takes the cake.

      • Sixer says:

        Did nobody with a hand in the article even notice that? Nobody wanting to write a positive article about Jolie even thought “Erk, better gloss right over this bit”? I can’t get over this whole thing from beginning to end.

        I’m a neutral on Jolie generally – neither fan nor anti-fan. But I won’t be seeing her in a positive light going forward, I’m afraid.

      • lucy2 says:

        “They deliberately triggered lived trauma in children.”
        This really says it all.
        I can’t understand how anyone thought this was a good idea, and how no one considered the effects this might have on the kids – especially those who didn’t get the role, and were just sent on their way after all this. Inexcusable.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I agree, Nicole and Sixer.

        “They deliberately triggered lived trauma in children.”

        Those exact thoughts went through my mind, too. They seem to have consciously targeted victims of trauma, which might help their project, but it harms the children.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Exactly. I noted the part about her tearing up too and was equally as disgusted. Why point that out? Her tears are the least important part of this cruel “game”.

      • Ankhel says:

        THIS. You have a way with words, Sixer.

        Those privileged gits weren’t looking for child actors. They were looking for troubled kids who almost certainly KNOWS what it’s like to have to steal and beg. They were fishing for actual memories to exploit, in some very young children. GAME my ass. Those kids needs money, and the power imbalance, gah! I’m really angry right now!

    • Peanut says:

      Why are you so condescending @nicole to children of color in different countries, as if they can’t understand instructions.

      “The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.”

      “PRETEND” AND “HAVE TO COME UP WITH” are the operative word/phrase that lets you know it was an exercise that they were knowingly a part of.

      ..and by the way, I’m sure the kids who auditioned and didn’t get the part were compensated or cast as extras or both.

      • detritus says:

        Peanut, stop it. Nicole is not being condescending, so far I have seen no one arguing the point you trying to refute. Stop putting up this straw man argument of removing agency from children overseas. No one is saying that should be done.

        They picked children from the MOST vulnerable populations on purpose with the intent of having them relive their traumas. They were “specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship”, and the girl they chose was “overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back”.

        So again, this is not about removing agency from children overseas. This is about applying consistent and healthy psychological boundaries for children in work, everywhere. These children were mined for pain and suffering to make sure they could show the depths the production and director wanted to show.

        That is not healthy or safe for children with ‘regular’ resources. I do not even want to imagine what it is like for children coming from orphanages in a country still reeling from the Khmer Rouge.

      • Savasana Lotus says:

        Peanut, search your soul. You are such a big fan of Jolie that you can justify this? Now you’re calling people names for calling her out for extreme insensitivity?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Peanut, it is really sad that you would accuse a fellow commenter of such horrible things, when Nicole’s comment was completely free of it.

      • Llamas says:

        Peanut, before you write anything else please stop the straw manning. It takes away any ounce of credibility. Nobody is talking about children of color. Children IN GENERAL EVERYWHERE believe things more than adults. I probably would be believed this as a young girl and I’m white. If you don’t see anything wrong with playing with little kid’s emotions then you are a part of the problem

      • Kitten says:

        If it’s the same Nicole that often comments here, I believe she is a WoC.

        People are giving cogent, rational arguments as to why this is wrong but you can’t see past your fandom to look at this objectively.
        This is why I truly believe that at the heart of fanaticism lies a personality disorder. Because this is way past a merely passionate opinion—this is not normal adult behavior.

      • G says:

        “These children were mined for pain and suffering” – well put, @detritus. They did this, and they did it deliberately.

        @Peanut: “I’m sure the kids who auditioned and didn’t get the part were compensated or cast as extras or both” — I’m honestly not sure why this is relevant, or why this might somehow excuse the ‘game’ that they played.

        @Kitten, that’s a great point, one that highlights why stans can be so frustrating — and so scary. That blind loyalty can so easily go beyond reason and excuse all kinds of behaviour.

    • Wilma says:

      Agree with Nicole. This is shocking and wrong.

  3. HadToChangeMyName says:

    Sure, it’s a game. While they’re at it, why not get starving kids and play a “game” with them trying to get some food? And what happened to the kids who didn’t make the cut?

    • Xboxsucks says:

      It was such stupid thing to do but come on ..
      let s not go to the absurd ground,

    • Neens says:

      But of course the small, starving child would know it’s only a game. They wouldn’t cry at all having a meal snatched from them. Small children are renown for not taking things literally and being able to separate fantasy from reality.

      • MostlyMegan says:

        I hear your snark and I cosign. Telling vulnerable children (from slums, orphanages) it’s a ‘game’ means nothing. And the child who was the least capable of separating her traumatic life from the ‘game’ – BINGO – was the winner. It’s sick.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        This reminds me of the MGMT video for the song Kids. The little toddler is SO FRIGHTENED by the monsters they surround him with. I saw a behind the scenes video, and at first you think that since the monsters are being nice and friendly to the toddler when the video isn’t being shot, he’s smiling, maybe this experience was ok for him. But there were so many moments where the child was TERRIFIED by the monsters he was just playing with. Screaming in terror, grabbing for his mom like his life depended on it. Kids brains aren’t able to separate fiction from reality like adults. Just because they were told that it was a game, doesn’t mean that it FEELS like a game even 2 minutes later.

    • Linda says:

      This. It’s in such poor taste and AJ is usually savvy enough to keep her image pristine.

      I’ll be giving this mess a miss for sure.

    • lily valley says:

      Oh Pleaase! Children are not fragile butterflies and they instinctively know the difference between a game and a reality. In fact, the children in those “poor” countries are far more aware of realities of life than majority of adults in the West. Considering the said majority get their information from films and TV shows, as long as the film portrays actual event as close to reality as possible, that will be a win for them all. Public Opinion is still the deciding factor in your countries’ foreign policies.

      • D says:

        Are you serious? Of course children are fragile, especially children that have grown up poor, orphans, starving etc. I get that you want to defend someone you’re a fan of ( I was a fan of hers as well) but your comment is just sad.

      • Frigga says:

        You aren’t very familiar with children’s minds, are you? Willing to excuse a child’s trauma for your favorite celebrities? Sickening.

      • Cherise says:

        If children are not “fragile butterflies” why are her own children, all of who are much older than these poor children, still being shielded from their dad over an incident that no government authority thought was serious enough to charge him for?? Dont get me wrong, I am not defending Brad. I am telling you that whatever went down on that plane was an itsy bitsy teeny weeny fraction of what the kids she targeted have lived. And if you agree that her kids are “fragile butterflies” deserving protection where do you get off denying much younger, less privileged, more oppressed children the same protections? Because they are poor?

        Do Cambodian children lose their right to compassion if they arent raised by two white superstars??? Step down.

        Oh and by the way. ALL five year olds regardless of what they have lived ARE “fragile butterflies” to be protected always.

      • Lilly valley says:

        On the contrary I have children and they are fragile precisely because they are protected, cuddled and fed. I also meet a lot of children from extremely horrendous situations which we all have a hand in. I respect them and always shocked to see how resilient they are. I am a not a fan of anybody and I don’t care for over the top actresses and I enjoy this site for the comments from funny, I intelligent women. But I also think you all are sitting on a high horse.

      • detritus says:

        “ALL five year olds regardless of what they have lived ARE “fragile butterflies” to be protected always. ”

        Yes. Yes. Yes.

        Children who have face traumas are not enured to them, or somehow toughened. That argument makes me sick. it reminds me of the ‘older than her years’ arguments used in statutory rape. These children are not older than their years or more mature, they are children.

      • MostlyMegan says:

        A child growing up in a developing economy in a slum or an orphanage is fragile. And if you want to call them ‘butterflies’ (whatever that means.. beautiful? Delicate? Fleeting?) that also applies.

      • lucy2 says:

        Right. Like childhood trauma isn’t a thing. Come on.
        Those kids have experienced and survived a lot of things many adults haven’t, I’ll give you that. But that should be even more reason to not traumatize them further.

      • attackofthekb says:

        “If children are not “fragile butterflies” why are her own children, all of who are much older than these poor children, still being shielded from their dad over an incident that no government authority thought was serious enough to charge him for???

        Boom. I can’t think of anything more to the point than that.

      • detritus says:

        attackofthekb, thats it isn’t it?
        her children are little precious babies. children in malaysia are hardened and tough.
        the whole thought process is gross.

      • LadyT says:

        Well said Cherise. You nailed it.

  4. ArchieGoodwin says:

    Nightmares, flashback, therapist.

    Never occurred that this movie didn’t need to be made? A documentary is different.

    I am so disappointed in Angelina. Not that she cares, but I do. This is exactly what I believed she was trying to help, in the world.

    These kids and people need therapists, but not because their trauma was brought on by a f*cking movie. Shame on her.

    • SM says:

      I agree completely. And she comes off pretty bad and self-absorbed here because it kinda sounds like she is bragging – look, I made this important piece of art that brought tears, memories, nightmares to young traumatised children while I was making it. That is insensitive to say the least and right out cruel if we are being honest. She always says she puts her humanitarian work first and movies second. This is not the indication of that. the hypocrisy!!!
      If you guys remember, a while back Cary Fukunaga did a movie about child soldiers Beasts of No Nation. If I recall correctly, the story which is based on the civil war in Sierra Leone was made not there but in Ghana, so the local cast would be removed from the experience and Cary stressed that they tried to make the experience as comfortable for the locals by separating the film from reality (the film it self was pretty dark, but they would play football and make movie viewing between work), so they would clearly understand that whatever was going on on camera was a make-believe removing it from the experiences of people. While may be still tricky to involve kids who are poor and orphaned for purely artistic purposes, clearly there are more human ways to do that than what Agnie is describing and at least recognise the sensitivity of the situation…. I mean, this is just horrible.

      • Cherise says:

        Yes, Beasts of No Nation came to mind. The boy playing opposite Idris was so good and I was pleased to learn that he wasnt digging into actual experience. He was just a middle class boy from Ghana which has thankfully never experienced war. None of the kids were explained the implied molestation scene and that was by design. The director just told them what face to make when Idris character called them to his tent (Seeing your least favorite teacher in the middle of your holidays). And Idris says he made sure to casually chat out of character with the kid before and after the scene so that a psycological distance between acting and real life could be made.

  5. Xboxsucks says:

    said, re-read the passage: they set this up as a game. That’s what they told the kids, that it was just a game. I think that’s how Angelina justified it to herself, and how everyone around her justified it.

    Thank you.
    While i dont think it is nice , it is actually fucking stupid but they knew about it but still some reacted differently which i assumed that was the casting people were looking for.

    • Erinn says:

      Yes, but did they REALLY understand? I mean they’re five. A five year old doesn’t have the reasoning skills that an older child would have. Most children by age five can do things like recognize MOST letters of the alphabet, count 10 or more objects, know what money is for, etc. But that’s MOST children, not even all. “Limitations in a 5-year-old’s ability to understand multiple attributes of things, rudimentary understanding of time, and a tendency to view change as permanent often result in over-simplified, sometimes magical, reasoning and problem solving.” “most 5-year-olds are just beginning to think logically and understand abstract ideas.” and these kids aren’t the kids that are growing up in nurturing homes. They’re the kids who have lived through trauma and unstable lives, so it’s fair to assume that at least a good portion of these kids aren’t necessarily at the same developmental stage as peers in stable home lives.

  6. Jeesie says:

    Exploitative…how about wildly irresponsible, potentially hugely damaging, not to mention purposefully cruel.

    They purposefully sought out incredibly vulnerable young children and then put them in a situation where a massive carrot was dangled in front of them as a tease, and they were actually encouraged to dredge up past traumas. The ethics of that are just…it would already be iffy enough if they’d done it to impoverished adults, but children?

  7. toni says:

    Imagine if Aniston did this, what the reactions here would be.

  8. Miles says:

    You can tell the children that its a game all you want but if anyone has ever worked with children, you’d know that even if it is just a “game” to them its real. And I’m not even talking about what Angelina Jolie did. I’m talking about in general. Children do not know the difference between what’s real and what’s a game.

    What Angelina and her crew did was messed up and there is no way to justify it…nor should anyone try to justify it.

    Also I’d like to point out, that they didn’t do this to child actors either. not that it would make it any better. But Angelina herself says that they went to slum schools and orphanages to seek out their lead. So they purposefully sought out kids who had nothing, and did this to them.

    Sickening. Just sickening.

    • Jeesie says:


      I mean just imagine playing a ‘game’ with your kids where you tell them they’re going to Disneyland, and you want them to get really really excited and start planning all the things they want to do. Trust me, even if they do fully understand it’s a game, they’re not going to be happy kids when the game ends and the fantasy dies. And you’re not going to be happy when you’re now badgered about Disneyland ceaselessly.

      So now imagine instead of Disneyland, the ‘game’ is getting extremely poor and vulnerable children to dream about having more money than they’ve seen in their lives, and this ‘game’ results in fantasising about having enough money to properly bury a relative.

      Anyone who thinks a child is going to be fine after that because they’ve been told it’s just a ‘game’ is seriously lacking in empathy. And common sense.

    • annabanana says:

      You’re right it’s sickening! Considering that she has a lot of children she should know that kids have a hard time differentiating game/fantasy from reality. Their thought process are not the same as adults yet. Anyone who has a kid or is often around children knows this. It’s totally irresponsible. I can’t think of any scenario that would make this ok. And to do that to already traumatized and vulnerable children is just too much and the fact that it is only for a movie. It’s just a movie!

      • applepie says:

        @annabanana, ‘Considering that she has a lot of children she should know that kids have a hard time differentiating game/fantasy from reality.’ ..But her kids don’t have to! Maybe that’s why she did it……..No shade at you though, your comment just made me think that :-)

    • G says:

      YES, exactly this. How was this allowed to happen? Was there no one involved who knew better? Do they truly believe that this was an acceptable, empathetic, and ethically sound way to go about making this film? I’m at a loss.

  9. nemera34 says:

    She will be asked about this in interviews to come. I will wait to hear what she has to say. I don’t understand why it was included in the interview. I would imagine Netflix will be contacted about it. So they may says something.

  10. Missy says:

    That’s a pretty rotten game to play with these kids. For someone like Angelina who seems to love children so much, this is terrible. She’s so concerned for her own children and the trauma caused by the divorce…but these starving, parent less, possible abused children are fine to fool with. I’m sure their whole lives are full of trauma.

  11. annier says:

    a game….. so, a trick? awesome. /s

  12. FishBeard says:

    Exploitative and awful. No excuse.

  13. Ramona says:

    I appreciate the noble attempt but this is not a defence. Those children were drawn from hardship and this money “game” not only exploits their survival struggles but guarantees that they will mine their pain to play. A Bel Air five year old child could never ever think up the “please let me bury my grandfather” excuse.

  14. fubar says:

    I hope people will boycott this movie

  15. DiamondGirl says:

    It made me feel sick to read that. No movie is worth upsetting children who are already in sad circumstances.

  16. EOA says:

    They were 5 and 6 year old kids who come from vulnerable circumstances. The fact that some want to justify this by saying, “she told them this was just a game!” is astounding to me.

    Really and truly, there is much to admire about Angelina Jolie but the fact that so many seek to explain away even her most questionable decisions is bizarre to me. She’s neither goddess nor saint and it’s okay to recognize that even she, Saint Goddess Angelina, makes mistakes.

  17. Sandy123 says:

    I grew up with a guy who lost his birth father in the killing fields. This is not a game for an entire nation of people and their displaced loved ones. Her throwaway comment about people misunderstanding that the Khmer Rouge were back really disturbed me as well. I think she is a person who has a fetish for the misery of others. Disgusting.

    • Jeesie says:

      I’m starting to get that vibe too. It really runs through the films she’s making.

    • annier says:

      that comment disturbed me as well. for all the work she’s done, she still seems so detached from the actual suffering. she admits that people were traumatized but she doesn’t seem to care. and especially doesn’t care that it was her doing.

    • nemera34 says:

      I don’t think that is fair. She focusing on the things and issues she cares about. I do think she could do it better doing Documentaries regarding this than feature films. Doing a Documentary could spotlight her causes and support the issues she’s most passionate about.

    • Betsy says:


      I’m fairly staunchly anti-Jolie; much of her “sainted” image with adopting the kids and doing the charity work sorta seems like…well, “fetishizing the misery of others” says it.

    • Artemis says:

      I think she is a person who has a fetish for the misery of others.

      I don’t know about fetish but each movie promotion for her films has some disturbing quote from her and critics reviewing the film talking about her focus on using excessive violence to drive the plot but without any depth or good story-telling (in a nutshell).

      Some of her quotes about disturbing scenes are questionable, she seems to romanticize them or seems to think there is no other way to show cruelty as it wouldn’t be ‘authentic’, her favourite buzzword. She clearly hasn’t learned a thing so I doubt this attempt will be anything more than mediocre as were her previous attempts.

      I’ve seen a change in her interviews about her UN work. She used to cry and be very emotional and into telling people’s stories in personable way then she became this important figure within the UN and I don’t know her demeanor is different. I can’t put my finger on it. Sometimes I think she likes being powerful more than anything else and this story seems to confirm that. Her political friendships and relationships with certain countries seems to make her belief she cannot make mistakes anymore. The way she spoke about bringing this story to the Cambodian people as if they need her to remember?…also was a red flag for me.

      • Lady D says:

        I have never seen evidence that “she likes being powerful more than anything else” or that she believes she can’t make mistakes anymore. She doesn’t usually come across as arrogant or an insufferable know-it-all.
        This, this movie stunt with the children on the other hand is cruel. There is just no other word to describe it, and this is coming from a huge fan and a great admirer of her UN work. It’s too easy to put my tiny terrified 5-year-old abused self in those children’s position and it makes me want to cry. Never did I think she would do something like this. I read this story this morning and then spent the whole day thinking about traumatized small children. I just can’t believe she did this.

      • Lady D says:

        This is really bothering me. I can put myself in these children’s shoes. Tiny and terrified, not sure what’s going on but knowing that you are going to be in terrible trouble, first of all because you are getting attention. Attention is bad, attention is always bad. You’re so scared. Then these strangers take the time and trouble to calm, charm and soothe you as best they can, (because deep down you still know you’re in big trouble and this will end in pain) and then they offer you, for the first time in your life, your hearts desire. Something that will make you happier than you’ve ever been. You’re afraid at first, sensing a trap because you don’t deserve the gift, but then finally believe that this incredible gift is actually yours. You take it and two seconds later it is snatched from you by laughing adults who have all the power over you. It would reinforce the idea that you are worthless and don’t deserve anything good in your life. You would feel hopeless, helpless and deserving pain that isn’t physical this time. How could anyone do this to a child, nevermind many children. It makes me feel rage, and I’ve been on the verge of tears all day.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I am glad you pointed that out. I wonder if her defenders even understand what happened in Cambodia. It is so horrific and devastating it is hard to comprehend. It is a delicate subject and should have been treated with kid gloves.

    • Green says:

      Sandy123, thanks for your comment. I don’t know much about Cambodia personally but agree with you in spirit. She’s drawn to violence, suffering, and conflict in a weird way and you can see it in her directorial vehicles. It’s totally like a fetish.

      • Sandy123 says:

        Hi Green, and thank you.
        Cambodia suffered greatly under Pol Pot and his army, all the educational and professional classes were executed and the rest of the population were made to work in the agricultural industry under slave-like conditions. You could be executed for merely wearing glasses, for example, as they are seen as a sign of intellect. Cambodia lost a quarter of its people during this time.
        There are other horrors but anyway you can find many documentaries on YouTube and other sources. Hollywood needs to stay far away from this subject.

  18. OhDear says:

    Yikes! Plus she still doesn’t think that it’s wrong (e.g. the fact that she brings it up in the interview)…

  19. Pumpkin says:

    If the children know it is a pretend game, then sorry…..I’m not horrified. Acting IS pretending. And to cast optimally, don’t you want the audition to closely mimic the relevant parts of the movie plot?

    These days we choose to criticize and judge everything negatively on the internet. The outrage on this seems hyperbolic.

    • Savasana Lotus says:

      It didn’t disturb you when she recounted the horror and physical reaction of people “seeing the Khmer Rouge coming over the bridge….thinking they’re back” with relish? Like “oooh. Come and see my movie. It’s so real, It terrified the survivors and PTSD sufferers.” A good thing in her way of thinking. Screw loose.

    • Pumpkin says:

      Every actor wasn’t an actor until their first gig. And being cast in a film means life changing compensation for them. (My nieces were cast in a major release film, had a blast doing it, and now their college is 100% funded.). If the children knew it was a pretend game, the ends justify the means and I guarantee those selected will be damned happy with the result of the experience and with what it means to changing their lives.

      I’m a pragmatist with a bigger picture lens on this discussion and no, I’m still not clutching my pearls in internet self righteousness.

      • Betsy says:

        You aren’t actually very pragmatic at all if you think that it’s okay to re-traumatize dozens (hundreds?) of kids so long as a few kids get a benefit.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s great for your nieces. But I’m guessing they have a stable family structure that was supportive and watched over them during the whole process, and that they were kids who had grown up in relative safety, so the auditioning process didn’t dredge up past trauma.

        Many of these had none of that. They were young children who had traumatic lives so far, and were “gamed” into bringing up a lot of upsetting emotions. And then one kid out of all of them was cast, and the rest were…what? Counseled? Financially compensated for auditioning? I’m guessing no.

      • Pumpkin says:

        Sorry folks…..I get we see this differently and I accept that, but I’m still not clutching my pearls in utter dismay.

      • Pumpkin says:

        Thanks L! Can’t believe the outrage when the end game actually helps some of these kids change their future ……but no, we’d rather be outraged at behaviors of others and meanwhile sit on our effin hands (except for internet warrioring our outrage) and do nothing that actually changes their lives,, ,,BUT WE PROTECTED THEM FEOM EXPLOITATION in our faux outrage.

        Such effin bullshit..

  20. BJ says:

    If you have a problem with it don’t watch the film.But I hope you boycott every film where a child actor cries in a film because they were told something horrible to make them cry.They were manipulated to evoke that emotion.

  21. Llamas says:

    This whole thing is so messed up. No one would say it’s okay to have a rape survivor to relive their trauma because that would cause serious psychological problems. Or how about let’s go back in time and take holocaust survivors and pretend they’re going back to a concentration camp and that the Nazi regime is back in full force. It’s the same here. These people are being re-traumatised and therefore they cannot heal from the horrors they’ve lived through. Having a therapist on set isn’t going to change the fact that these people are being put through unbearable pain. There is noithing impressive or deep about people breaking down as they walk by set. This whole movie is exploiting trauma victims. These people are being taken advantage of and being emotionally abused and it’s being called “art.”

  22. Ollie says:

    Wow that is sick. Alone the idea is off-putting. The way she proudly tells this… WTF.

    There is something so wrong with her.

  23. Savasana Lotus says:

    WTF. How incredibly UNNECCESSARY! Children are naturally open and vulnerable. They decided to manufacture feelings from children AND adults to make a movie that would adequately hurt and horrify them to get a product to sell and solicit praise for themselves. EXPLOITATION. If Angelina “loves this culture”, she would tell their story in a humane way. The thing that’s disturbing is she’s speaking of it as though it were necessary and ok. If they were animals being auditioned or acting in this movie, they’d have been protected and removed and there would have been an outcry of abuse and a boycott of the film.

    • KB says:

      She seemed to take pride in being able to elicit reactions from the adults on set as well. Like it was so realistic that people cried and thought it was happening again. And they needed an on set therapist. Maybe some more time should have passed before they made such a psychologically traumatic film.

  24. LaBlah says:

    I’m sorry. *Seems* exploitative?!? What she is describing is outright horrifying. I’ve worked in forensic mental health for many years and regularly do placements in countries where people have deep mental scars from war. if this was ANY other actor they’d be rightly excoriated for this. This is beyond clueless, beyond repulsive and may cause serious harm. I used to be a fan of Julie’s, in recent years that has been fading but it has now completely gone.

    • Shijel says:

      Thank you. I’m not a fan of her, but I considered her dedication to human rights admirable. It’s pretty horrifying to see though that even having seen what she’s seen, she can still find it in her to endorse such cruel games for what is, in the end, cinema. Entertainment. To dangle money in front of young children who know what poverty’s like, who know the worth of money, and to take it away from them in a -game-? It’s not a game, not for those kids.

      This should have not happened. These children are not toys.

      • Radley says:

        I think the mask slipped and we’re getting some genuine insight into Angelina. It’s concerning because she has half a dozen kids of her own. And according to the gossip (grain of salt of course) she’s been emotionally manipulative with her own kids in an effort to turn them against their dad. Seems like she may be over that emotional hump now, but if it happened, the kids suffered for that. Not ok.

        She’s human and messed up like all of us. But it is important to call this stuff out. It’s important that our “damage” doesn’t damage our kids (or someone else’s kid). Check yourself, Angelina.

    • kay says:

      Thank you Radley for that laugh.

  25. Chingona says:

    Everyone defending the casting of this movie, really. As someone who grew up abused and impoverished in a third world country the exploitation of these children is disgusting and heartbreaking to me. When you grow up this way you are forced to have responsibilities that most adults couldn’t handle but without the recsorces physically and emotionally to deal with them. This game which people are defending is explotive because it prays on the aspect of them just trying to survive. If this movie could only be made by harming people than it did not to be made. I hope I am wrong but I think those defending this are okay with these children being treated this way becuase they are poor and from another country. If this was a blue eyed, blond American little girl would you be okay with her pain being exploited to make a movie?

    • Holla here says:

      Exactly. I am from a third world country (Southeast Asia to be exact) and have relatives who were abused and lived in places that don’t have electricity, water, and could not eat three times a day. This is not a game; this is the real life. So to defend AJ and the casting director’s actions is mind-boggling to me.

  26. Imo says:

    Didn’t she find her own children in orphanages?

    I just can’t even wrap my head around this

    World UN humanitarian…..dehumanizes traumatized children for profit

    Yeah….lets all play psychological “games” with impoverished kindergarten age kids….to make our movie better


  27. detritus says:

    I sometimes don’t think Angelina understands how stressful money is for most of us.
    She gets it in the abstract, but she doesn’t understand the gut punch feeling of not being able to get something you need or hold dear, not now and not ever.

    It struck me in her divorce article too, the vast wealth she has definitely cushions her from some of the hardships. To be able to just leave, to purchase a house, to take time off of work to heal, to choose the work you find rewarding, to pay for lessons in the domestic areas you lack… She’s doing well, and i wouldn’t wish whatever happened on anyone, but i can’t help but recognize that privilege – the privilege of time and space to heal.

    I think this is why it was so easy to do this to the children. It’s just money after all.

    The layers of psychological power and investment, forcing a child to do somehing painful to gain a reward, its not good. this was a very very bad move, and all people involved need to seriously re-evaluate how they treat children and child actors. They have agency, but they are not adults.

    • MostlyMegan says:

      Yes I agree. For all her traveling she seems to have lost touch with the real world and the challenges ‘real’ people face. She talks about being a woman who puts herself last in the family, and her health suffered. And yet she admits she doesn’t clean, cook etc for her family (except in the last 9 months – and only then by choice) – she has staff to do that. She buys a 25 million dollar mansion at the snap of her fingers. She jumps on a plane when she needs to ‘get her boots on and hang out’. That isn’t reality for 99% of women and that isn’t the definition putting yourself last that most of us would have. She has lost touch so totally she doesn’t even know how far out there she is.

      • detritus says:

        The plane comment struck me too.

        I’ve never wanted to live a 9-5 life, it horrifies me daily. I live it because I do not have the option of just jet setting away when my feet get itchy.

        I’m middle class, it only gets worse from here on down. Not everyone can afford to leave an alcoholic (or whatever) husband. Not everyone can afford to use money and travel and volunteering.

        These are options for her, and I do’nt 100% know if she realizes how far from that the rest of us are.
        She only sees the extremes. The poverty and the wealth, the 1% at the top and the 30% at the bottom and that is dangerous.

      • Erinn says:

        Honestly, I have to wonder what about her situation is putting herself last? The fact that she can’t just come and go as she pleases because she has the responsibility of being a mother? Because it’s not the responsibility of having to work insane hours and still not scrape by. It’s not about whether she’s going to have food on the table, or power, or water. I’m seriously curious because even compared to a somewhat wealthy regular person, I’m really not sure what she has sacrificed in a way that is putting herself last. Nannies, chefs, tons of money, the best health care, mansions, the ability to travel anywhere in the world regardless of cost… the woman has SO much, and so much help around her… it’s honestly baffling.

      • lucy2 says:

        Even with a lot of help and money, I think it’s still possible for someone to put everyone else’s needs above their own, and to be so busy with family they don’t take time for themselves. That said, i do agree that her perception is probably very skewed, she doesn’t have money worries, and her work is of her own choosing.

    • That was a VERY good insight. I am not really a “fan” of any celebrity, but I have come to admire Angelina. This whole story is REALLY disappointing, but you put it perspective. She grew up rich, after all. Maybe poverty is like sexism and racism–you don’t fully get the impact unless it affects you.

      Of course, this doesn’t excuse her (and I know that wasn’t your point either). It was disgusting, and I hope she apologizes or clarifies what happened. She should know better, and I am extremely disappointed in her.

  28. QueenB says:

    At least Angelina found the strength to brag about her new huge home after having all that stress exploiting poor children.

  29. Tan says:

    Don’t movies and tv shows always exploit children to get the requisite emotions?
    Like to simulate abandonment tell their mother has left them and never will be back?

    It seems to be something rampant in every movie industry and is highlighted because it is Jolies movie

    • QueenB says:

      Of course but that doesnt make it any less bad. Im sure other directors raped women but that doesnt mean we shouldnt go all out on Polanski because his case is known.

      She also has massive control over pieces like this, that she did see a problem with that tells you everything.

    • Aren says:

      It is always bad, but doing it with non-actors children who are likely to have PSTD to see if their memories are still vivid enough for the cameras is not only unnecessary but damaging.
      Those weren’t children who eat every day and have parents who dream of fame and money, these kids probably didn’t even have anybody responsible to give consent to what they were subjected to.

    • The Original G says:

      Uh, they do not “tell their mother has left them and never will be back.” There are child welfare advocates, teachers and parents on set. It’s called acting, pretending. What you’re describing is outright emotional abuse. All the more serious when conducted with children without the cultural context to understand movie making who have suffered real trauma.

  30. Jessica says:

    If Charlize Theron, Sandra Bullock, Madonna or any other white celebrity with an adopted child of color were to play this game with an orphan I’m sure they would be ripped to shreds. Why are people defending Angelina here; it’s really sad. You can like Angelina and still be critical of something she’s admitted to doing.

  31. Radley says:

    Bad idea. As one person said on another website, it’s as if she fetishizes suffering. Shouldn’t have happened. We’re talking about kids here–kids who’ve already been through a lot. This definitely shouldn’t be a PR tour talking point. It was a mistake.

  32. Miss M says:

    This game was so absurd that for a media savvy like Jolie to talk about it…
    I am going to be cynical here and wait for her next interview, and see if she tells she helped all the kids that audition financially and with a therapist… which it doesn’t change the exploitative nature of the “game”. But, at least, she would take action to minimize it…

  33. Babs says:

    This is despicable. Jolie has always been exploitative of others misery for PR purposes but bragging openly about it is definitely a new low.

  34. Ophelia says:

    She played mind games with children she doesn’t even know. So, what mind games she does with her own children?

    She sounds like a I like being a Martyr of a Mother type of person. “I don’t want them to know I cry in the shower” guess what now they know, if they haven’t already. I’m quite sure she’s quite used to dropping poor self-sacrificing me hints.

    I feel like she’s the kind of mother who is willing to emotionally gaslight a child into siding with her or take pity of her.

  35. Bex says:

    I think this is indefensibly cruel. That it was a ‘game’ is no justification at all. The fact that she tells this story almost proudly is worrying. She should know so much better than this. Those poor kids :(

  36. Tash says:

    I’m not sure if this will get posted since it seems I’m on someone’s $hit list here and my posts never get posted but here it goes-
    This is so tone-deaf especially coming from a person who considers herself an advocate for war victims. What the hell?!?! To people who say “oh, it was a game and kids are resilient,” go f@ck yourselves! And this comes from a person who is not easily fazed and had to harden up very early in life – I was a war refugee and “I don’t know where our next meal is coming from and I’m afraid to wash my only school outfit ’cause it may fall apart” poor. “Games” like these only create resentment and belief that people who are there to “do good” are only there to serve their own agenda, give our their scraps, make themselves feel good and go back to their gilded cages.

  37. Green Is Good says:

    I’m relieved to read here that most posters find these audition “games” absolutely sadistic. There is no way anyone can justify or explain it away.

  38. nicegirl says:

    I am so grossed-out and deeply saddened by this story and AJ’s admissions of her ‘game’ casting.

    It is never appropriate to hurt a child and tell them it is a ‘game’. Kids coerced into participating in abusive games by adults are victims of abuse perpetrated by those adults, plain and simple.

    NOT OK, AJ.

    How are those children to protect themselves in future when some other adult wants to play a ‘game’ with them? Will they remember another, very physically beautiful person who played a ‘game’ with them before? How are they to know what types of ‘games’ are appropriate or safe? And how are they to determine which strangers are safe or dangerous? Based upon the adults’ looks or monetary status?

    I thought she cared about kids who needed help. These do not seem like the actions of someone who cares about children.

  39. I am bored says:

    Was she the casting director? Didn’t think so.

    What’s an Angelina interview without some controversy? She definitely wanted to tell us what Brad did on that plane

  40. I am bored says:

    She was definitely making a point with having all her kids in that interview too. Like look at me I have ALL my kids. Good for her.

    Brad Pitt claims to want to put his kids first yet he’s already filming another movie.

  41. Miss S says:

    Reading this made me feel really uncomfortable. The fact that the ones involved in this casting process didn’t find it wrong just makes everything worse. How someone like Angelina, who sells this idea of empathy for the most vulnerable as a priority in her life, shares this story and is ok with it totally baffles me. Seems really sadistic and out of touch.

    • I am bored says:

      I wouldn’t watch the movie if I was as sensitive as you are. It’s going to be very sad and the child actress had to act out and watch some horrifying scenes.

      Luong ung is a very strong person. Good thing Cambodians who watched it say the movie is amazing and helped them be able to talk to the elders about what happened to their beautiful country.

      • Miss S says:

        I am not that sensitive. I guess you made up your mind about excusing Angelina for it. Why? Because it’s art and Cambodians like the film? How does that make it right? How abt the kids who went through that process, they don’t matter?

        Sometimes we hear stories of how adult actors (usually female actors) are emotionally manipulated by directors and it feels wrong unless they consent to that. With children, you have to be extra careful because the difference between reality and fiction is harder to grasp. There are already several comments here explaining why. To make matters worse she chose the most vulnerable kids, which isn’t the problem, the issue is how the cast them they used a cruel “game”.

        I’m not a fan of hers, but whatever her motivations for her work with the UN, I welcome it. The way she shares this whole process, knowing her work with vulnerable, poor communities really feels odd. I would assume she would be extra careful abt it. Clearly, she wasn’t. I can’t see a good angle for this. And if this was told by someone else I wouldn’t believe it and would assume it was another “smear campaign” to make her look bad.

  42. Mimi says:

    Yeah she comes off as one of those people who use their illness and misfortunates to
    Perpetuate a victim mentality for attention.

    Im really surprised at her lack of personal responsibility or to own any of the responsibility for the break down of her family and marriage. Blaming others for everything little thing and not seeing the ways you have contributed to the place you are in life (intentionally or not) will make you destined to repeat your past mistakes. She seems pretty self absorbed.

  43. cindy says:

    Yikes. I’m surprised Angie did this, but I have to remind myself she’s a famous person and has been famous for a very long time. Fame seems to make people really strange and out of touch….even Jolie.

    • I am bored says:

      What exactly did she do? She wasn’t the casting director.

      Im surprised people can’t read but then again this is Angelina we’re talking about. The woman who is blamed for everything under the sun.

      • Jeesie says:

        No, she was the director! The buck stops with her!

        She was the most powerful person in the room, she actively participated in it, and she chose to share the details with Vanity Fair, so she obviously sees no problem with anything she did even in hindsight.

      • Miss S says:

        Well, she shared this story herself because she wanted to. And she did it in a positive light like it was interesting to share. If she wasn’t comfortable with it why share it?

        Sorry, but your reasoning is really off. There a difference between saying she is a monster because that’s what “haters” say and recognizing that in this case she was/is out of touch.

      • I am bored says:

        Nope. That’s not how Hollywood works but nice try Jessie. This click bait article was made just for you and your hate for Angelina. LoL

        Why hasn’t that team of therapists let Brad Pitt have more custody yet? You fake haters are really mad because of that. Not this click bait article.

      • Miss S says:

        So let me see if I understand: you say she isn’t the one responsible bc she wasn’t the casting director, but at the same time she shared this without any kind of negative judgment in an interview. If she didn’t like the process bc it didn’t represent her concerns then why share it?

        Click bait article? Are you serious? Didn’t you read the interview? This is all based on her own words!
        Btw, this isn’t abt Brad Pitt, her kids or her personal life. But “nice try” to deflect from the issue.

      • MostlyMegan says:

        The director is in charge of the entire film. It’s like being the president of the film – the responsibility lies with her. And obviously she knew about it and approved or she wouldn’t be talking about the ‘game’ with such a tone of self satisfaction.

      • Green says:

        By her own admission she was the one who took charge of casting – visiting circuses and orphanages, etc). She was in the room when they were “playing the game” and that’s that.

  44. thats right says:

    Cue up Chelsea Handler and Melissa E. I know they r salivating like wolves. Again totally taken out of context but hopefully she will explain to these vultures out to eat her flesh.

  45. Jayna says:

    I know it was a very involved process and protective process finding a non-actor from India to play the very young Saroo in Lion, a process getting the finalists used to the camera, etc. Little Sunny Pawar, who was chosen, blew my mind. I still tear up when I think about his performance as a lost child, torn from his family. He was brilliant.

    Angelina’s story did make me very uncomfortable and feel it wasn’t protective of the children who were non-actors and in poverty. I can’t judge it any more than that first thought after reading it. But I wasn’t there. I don’t know the whole story. I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt.

  46. Ayra. says:

    Wow at some of you justifying it. But if this was anyone else…
    This was a disgusting thing to do.

  47. Michelle says:

    Get a grip!!! So now to you people she’s abusing her own children? Yeah the little girl really looked traumatised playing with the jolie pitt kids & in Disneyland. OMG!! Is that cruel as well? Disneyland one day, cambodia the next. We should put Jolie’s name with mass murderers & child killers. Do you honestly believe that the others who auditioned were just told that’s it thank you? She was helping kids & their families that needed new clothes & schooling in the whole area. You think she put money in front of them then left them traumatised & left with nothing. I prefer to look at facts & all throughout the making they showed all the local area & the kids & their families & how everyone was helping each other. I will wait to hear her response, not that she needs to. rather then go nuclear over a tidbit of info.

  48. Lorann says:

    Sometimes people in the spotlight just cannot win…I’m pretty sure that they didn’t take the kids directly from the orphanage or wherever, sit them in a room, and play this “game”, as the first step of the selections! I’m thinking there was more of a process, and they were probably down to a select few kids who were then presented this method. By then, they knew what was going on. Somehow, I can’t imagine the casting director just played this in the yard of the orphanage…

  49. peace says:

    get off your high horse…………… you think this was TRAUMATIC FOR THESE KIDS….you people put your kids in worse position in America, and call it NORMAL. Funny we don’t have the full context, what did the other kids want to spend the money on , what happen after the game. You are all quick to Judge… AS USUAL.

    • Erinn says:

      Funny, many posters who are calling this out aren’t American, so I guess your argument collapses there, huh? And the reason we don’t have full context is because she chose to share it like a cute little tidbit of a story – some interesting factoid without any context. To her, nothing about her statement was troubling, or we would have more of an explanation/justification from her.

      • peace says:

        One I not an America, My country is no different from Cambodia, A developing country. How every acting like she committed murder… Talk about OVER REACTION.
        ” I think she is a person who has a fetish for the misery of others.”


      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        Great juxtaposition with your name and the fact you are using CAPS to YELL at us.

      • Erinn says:


        Learn to read.

        You commented “you people put your kids in worse position in America, and call it NORMAL”. You’re saying that the people who are calling her out are American and put their own kids through worse than what these poor orphaned kids went through when that is not at all the case. THAT is why I mentioned American’s – a direct response to your complaining.

        You’re right. She didn’t commit murder. She just handed a bunch of money over to mass murderers.

        You’re either a troll or you’re incredibly dense. Just because some people have it worse doesn’t make it okay. PERIOD. If I go around kicking a puppy and someone goes and kills a puppy, should people not call me out for abusing an animal because other animals have it worse? If someone is tortured and beat by a dictatorship is that something that should be ignored because other dictators are slaughtering their people? If a child is emotionally traumatized should it not be criticized because some other kid is being abducted and abused?

        You cannot compare a kid being told their halloween candy was eaten (kids who otherwise have a roof over their heads, plenty of clothes, running water, games and toys, and plenty of food) and then getting the candy back to an impoverished child in an unstable country being setup to take money that they believe could help their freaking grandfather have a proper funeral because there’s no way their family could ever do so otherwise. One child is complaining because they wont be able to completely rot their teeth, the other child doesn’t even consider the money to be used on themselves – they just want to help their family.

    • peace says:

      I see the Internet Shrinks are out in full force………

      • peace says:

        I see the Internet Shrinks are out in full force………

        @ArchieGoodwin says: No I don’t yell, It’s in caps so you can see it……

        @Erinn says. I like to think I am will read… Thank you very much. I see you put quite a bit of effort into analyzing a situation that we know three lines from a magazine .

        fyi Hardship does not equal Trauma…….. Been their

  50. The Original G says:

    So they trolled Cambodian slums and orphanages for vulnerable children, who have no context for understanding movie production or acting and no parental protection and did this to make a movie? Very, very bad judgement. Very.

  51. perplexed says:

    If you have experience with the UN and human rights, I think the thought-process used to come up with this type of audition process to cast kids is quite baffling.

  52. Vicky-t says:

    I nearly cried reading this excerpt. She along with the entire crew is so out of touch. You can tell by the way she proudly tells the story. I didn’t have much growing up, so I understand how those children must have felt looking at the possibilty to change their circumstances. To dangle money in front of children who need it dearly and then watch them like lab specimens is utterly reprehensible and sickening.

  53. worthy says:

    She’s not as bad as Trump.

  54. Jenna says:

    From what we know of AJ I suspect every child that tried out for the part was well cared for during and after the audition process – not just the child who landed the role. I bet they all went home with money. I’m also reluctant to assume she exploited any children, especially orphans.

  55. attackofthekb says:

    Do the people here defending this remember how upset everyone got over Justin Timberlake’s friends exploiting homeless people for a ridiculous wedding video? This to me is ten times worse. These kids don’t live in a first world country. This story makes me physically ill. She’s going on the list of celebs whose movies I cannot watch.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      Yes, for me as well and I loved her and what I thought she stood for. I thought she was truly beautiful, walking the walk.

      I look at pictures of her and seethe knowing what she was complicit with, the fact she told this story to a magazine as a cute anecdote. She looks so ugly now, like Halle Berry- beautiful ugly.

      Those poor children. Contrary to some posts, kids don’t differentiate between fantasy and reality until age of 8-9, and even then still role play. Add to the trauma they’ve endured, this was exploitation to an unforgiving degree.

    • pwal says:

      Or those videos of homeless men paid to engage in fist fights for the amusement of the videographer, who was high school/college aged. That $h*t wasn’t cool.

      And just because ‘Shiloh’ invited some of the kids to the US for her b-day doesn’t cut any ice either.

  56. I Choose Me says:

    Angelina seems to have lost the plot. I’ve always been a fan even if I don’t think she walks on water. I mean she’s human and she makes mistakes but this, what she did, (unless I’m missing something from the article) was exploitative as hell and it’s frankly baffling to me that as a mother and a humanitarian she would consent to something like this. Much less talk about it like it was a positive thing all as promotion for her movie.

    I’ve been disappointed in her before but this seriously made my opinion of her plummet.

  57. minx says:

    I’m an Angie fan but this is strange and upsetting. WTF?

  58. India Andrews says:

    If AJ were a university researcher and proposed this game as a psychological experiment the human ethics board would reject her proposal. She wouldn’t be allowed to do it.

  59. Guesting says:

    Eh…. like I said. AJ didn’t go from being self-destructive, outlandish and troubled to having a healthy personality over her refugee epiphany. Yes she does good work and put her efforts completely into it but good works don’t automatically guarantee good character.
    There is a REASON she was attracted to, married and continued getting children with a messy person like Brad. He was problematic from the word GO, and she was all for it. Yes they showed a good side for a long time but we all know that public personas and private life are 2 different things.

    • Tofunbean says:

      I totally agree. They were two messy people getting together. I believe she has an unconscious fetish for violence, suffering, pain, and the darker side of life but has good intentions. It’ll be interesting to see what she says at the film festivals, since they’ll definitely be asking her about it and I believe she can’t vet those panels prior to the fact like she can formal interviews.

  60. Hrvatima says:

    Hmm looking to cast for this film, they checked the slums, orphanages and the circus. Doesn’t sound like the sort of places one would expect to find a child actor used to the “method ” approach to acting and casting of a film . This is not an educated child with a stage parent going to an audition. These were kids who have been thru hell and back and survived. Great opportunity for those cast. Just another reminder of how much life sucks for those who didn’t, but played the game in the hope they would be chosen. There surely was a much more compassionate and reasonable way to cast this film.

  61. Brittney B. says:

    I’ve been a huge fan for more than a decade, but I’m not making excuses for this. Even if it’s clarified that the kids were in on it and did get money at the end, she still chose to scout them at orphanages & similar places.

    The rest of the article is about how carefully she treaded, hoping not to offend anyone and trying to give most of the glory to the Cambodian cast and crew… so it’s really strange that she also went looking for children who “know hardship”. Maybe the reaction to this part of the interview will be a wake-up call, and she’ll realize she caused exactly what she thought she was trying to prevent (exploitation, emotional suffering).

    Some of the responses (see: NY Post) are dripping in smug sexist glee at what an evil hack she is, so I hate that she gave them a legitimate complaint for once (you know they don’t actually care about the welfare of those kids). But it’s definitely legitimate.

  62. Bobbysue says:

    I have no first-hand knowledge regarding this alleged demoralization of children whom one could surmise were already hard core demoralized victims. Likewise, I can only speculate as to Miss Jolie’s veracity. So I offer my humble opinion which is that this woman has some serious personality disordered issues of the kind which she cannot rid herself.

  63. Saskia says:

    Angelina comes across as a narcissist of the savior/martyr type. She seems to treat her children as extensions of herself but sincerely believes that she values them as unique and separate human beings. She takes them with her on her all important savior/all mother missions that are really only about her and her image. Children of these mothers are often involved in their mother’s work as a way to be close to her, to have some of her. In adulthood however things typically fall apart – especially when the adult child realizes that the mother is self-obsessed. Narcissism also explains how she can lack self-insight in regards to the ethical problems with the casting process. Narcissists of this type absolutely believe that they are singular/different/special/good. Control and image are very important. If criticized or pushed they will change for a while in order to manage perceptions but they will always return to their mission so to speak. In Angelina’s case this can be seen in the temporary changes that she made (e.g. fewer travels) in the wake of the plane incident and divorce filing.

    • tracking says:

      I buy she’s a narcissist, along with the vast majority of Hollywood celebrities. And she is incredibly spoiled and out of touch (also like most of them). It is also true, as has been pointed out here, that she never seems to own her side of the street. I found her defensiveness about the question of her kids’ peripatetic upbringing interesting. That was her choice for them, and was essentially about adapting them to her lifestyle choices, not the other way around. They could be in a settled schooling situation, and still travel overseas and become “world citizens” for four months during summer and holiday breaks. Despite all his obvious shortcomings, it does seem true that Pitt wanted more stability and normalcy for them. That hopefully will be a benefit of the acrimonious divorce, since it seems unlikely any judge would rule to the contrary.

  64. Lalala says:

    This is appalling, and shows she cares far more about finally getting some good reviews for her directing work than she does about the welfare of these children.

    The way she casually tells this story, and the one of people dropping to their knees and wailing upon seeing the soldiers, is disgusting. The posters above who said she has a fetish for suffering have it right, though I also think in her mind, seeing actual pain on screen automatically makes one’s film good because it’s ‘authentic’.

    She’s making children who have experienced the worst hardships – losing parents and loved ones, poverty, hunger, and God only knows what else – relive painful moments so she can get an Oscar nomination. Dangling money in front of poor children and making them try to convince her they deserved it, all for an award.

    During the filming of Maleficent, Angelina claimed she had to give the part of young Aurora to her daughter because all the other kids were frightened of her in costume. Apparently American children can’t handle seeing her with fake cheekbones and horns on her head because they can’t seperate a fantasy costume from reality, but 5/6 year old Cambodian orphans, circus children and children living in slums are perfectly able to understand the ‘game’ of having money taken from them if they can’t come up with a sad enough story in time. Okay then.

  65. Shannon says:

    Wow. That’s … pretty awful. I hope there’s more the story, like they ended up letting the kids have the money for what they needed or something, idk. Sounds like psychological trauma imo. I like AJ in general. I’m kind of shocked, tbh.

  66. A. Key says:

    Idiot. But frankly UN representatives are exactly like her (much like the whole corrupted organisation where abuse and sexual exploitation is covered up on a daily basis) – privileged, sheltered and out of touch. Sure they give speeches in super fancy locations and hotels wearing over the moon expensive clothing, travel high class to remote locations and take pictures with poor people under heavy security, talk to selected representatives from other countries in controlled environments and the whole thing is so fake and political it’s sad people buy it as real work.
    She’s not a doctor volunteering in Africa and saving lives. Or bulding houses there with her own hands. She’s just a rich nobody really, who uses her immense wealth and influence to create the illusion of importance and intelligence.

  67. The Original G says:

    Right? People go crazy because some celebrity millionaire’s kid isn’t buckled up to their satisfaction in an armoured Escalade or a young adult gets a legal cosmetic treatment but this is ok? Meh, I’ve always liked Angelina but this is very troubling. Not just that this happened but that this was story was relayed as some measure of the sincerity of these film makers. There’s a problematic lack of self-awareness here.

  68. I am bored says:

    Yet this isn’t even about Jolie but the casting director.

    Please donate to organizations that help Cambodian children if this is a serious issue for you. 🙄

  69. Skylark says:

    “Not just that this happened but that this story was relayed as some measure of the sincerity of these film makers.”

    I do agree, that’s troubling, that she comes across as if she thinks this makes it more authentic and meaningful. I like Angie-the-humanitarian but Angie-the-filmmaker has always tested my patience with her ‘artistic’ pretensions.

    I’m still hoping though that the description VF and she gave of the casting process is not remotely the full story and is just a fail on both their parts to provide more and better context. While she is prone to up-her-arse pretentiousness, I really don’t believe AJ would be party to the callousness implicit in what’s described in the interview.

  70. The Original G says:

    @Skylark. Me hoping the same.

  71. worthy says:

    It’s called cognitive dissonance.

  72. Cleo says:

    This will probably disappear, but it really is upsetting how biased the writing here can be, even when it pertains to serious issues like exploitation of disadvantaged children and PTSD survivors. St. Jolie did it, so the kiddy gloves are on.

  73. tracking says:

    Yes, this. Just appalling and sad.

  74. Erinn says:

    But it is about Jolie. If she had had a problem with the casting process she could have stopped it, altered it, or hired someone else. She is the director and executive producer. EP’s often help fund a project. Directors have a key role in choosing cast members. It requires intimate involvement in every stage of film production. The only person really above a director would be the studio financing the project… and since she’s also helping fund it, I would say not many people are outranking her. If she had a problem with it, she could 100% have put a stop to it. It’s not like the whole process took a single afternoon.

  75. poorlittlerichgirl says:

    @I am bored, You need a hobby. Some anger management therapy wouldn’t hurt either.

  76. magnoliarose says:

    What is worrying is that you don’t find child exploitation wrong.

  77. Cleo says:

    @ Green
    Oh, I meant my comment, not the story. You’re probably right about her Hollywood career though.

  78. Lady D says:

    She’s not a POS, she has many friends, check her interviews, and as for 3 divorces, come on. Most of Hollywood has had 3 or more divorces.
    I have already made my feelings known on her despicable actions in Cambodia.

  79. pwal says:

    Re: her ‘friends’… seems to me that her ‘friends’ change with each project. For example, the author of FTKMF was her confidante during the break-up. She and Louis Zamperini were thick as thieves prior to his death and the Unbroken premiere. Brad Pitt was called her best friend after he chipped in a million dollars for ITLOBAH. She and Marianne Pearl were really tight just before AMH.

    She’s still friends with Marianne and time with tell with Luong, but those friendships seem to be in service to Angelina. And hello, what about Holly? Holly knew her for years and is her assistant/producing partner and yet, Luong was the one Angelina ‘confided’ in? Really? Kinda makes you wonder if she wants to avoid talking about this to someone who is much more in the know about the situation than the person who authored the book that her next directorial effort is based on.