Angelina Jolie, Vanity Fair at odds over explanation of controversial children's casting game

August 7, 2017
Angelina Jolie with Her Ethiopian Born Daughter Zahara in 2007-photo-Wire Image

A game used in auditions for the young lead in the upcoming Angelina Jolie film "First They Killed My Father" has pitted the Oscar-winner and Vanity Fair magazine against each other.

The casting method, which involved Cambodian children snatching away money and coming up with a lie when they were caught, was described in the magazine's September cover story.

After concerns were raised about the idea of asking children to steal and lie, Jolie told the magazine that the audition had been taken out of context -- "a pretend exercise in an improvisation ... had been written about as if it was a real scenario" -- and asked that the interpretation be corrected. The "Unbroken" director lamented the suggestion that real money would be taken from a child, saying she would be "outraged" if that had happened.

"The casting crew showed the children the camera and sound recording material, explaining to them that they were going to be asked to act out a part. ... The children were not tricked as some have suggested," according to a statement her lawyers gave the magazine. "All of the children auditioning were made aware of the fictional aspect of the exercise and were tended to at all times by relatives or guardians from NGOs. ... We apologize for any misunderstanding."

Vanity Fair is sticking to its original copy about the game and even ran transcripts from Jolie's interview, which had been recorded by contributor Evgenia Peretz on two devices, that described it.

"After reviewing the audiotape, V.F. stands by Peretz’s story as published," the magazine said.

"First They Killed My Father," a film about Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide, hits Netflix in September. 


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