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Angelina Jolie blasted for ‘cruel’ method she used to find child actors

Jolie wanted to find a young lead who had experience with trauma.


Sarah Jasmine Montgomery


Posted on Jul 27, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:30 pm CDT

The September cover story of Vanity Fair provides readers with a comprehensive timeline of Angelina Jolie’s relationship with fame, privilege, and her passion for activism, which spurred after she filmed Tomb Raider in Cambodia. She would later adopt her first son, Maddox, from an orphanage there. Her latest project is a combination of the story of activist Loung Ung and a history of Cambodia’s genocide, which seems to bring her worlds of Hollywood and activism into one space.

The article is overall a gentle exploration of Jolie and her life from her start as a reckless young actress, to the dedicated and well-cultured woman and mother she is today. But one paragraph in this whole article stands out from the rest. It details a game that Jolie played with children in Cambodia while trying to cast a young Loung Ung for her upcoming film.

The paragraph details a process where the casting directors went to orphanages and slums, placed money on a table, and asked children to think of a reason for why they needed the money. The children were told to take the money, and the directors then pretended to catch the children, who would then have to come up with a lie for why they needed the money.

If something about that process feels cruel and wrong, you’re not the only one who thinks so.

The insufficient explanation for why this method was used is that Jolie wanted to find a young lead who had experience with trauma. Jolie’s critics are pointing out that no matter how active she is in the global community, she still operates will a level of power that can be used to take advantage of people.

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*First Published: Jul 27, 2017, 5:50 pm CDT