Film / TV

very white angelina jolie reportedly loves making cambodian children cry with cruel casting games

July 31, 2017
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Angelina Jolie is Daenerys Targeryan. If you don’t watch Game of Thrones, Daenerys is a beautiful blond princess who goes to “the East” to free Black and Brown slaves called “the Unsullied” and to lead another “uncultured” brown(ish) community to the West for the first time while they worship her as their savior and queen.

She considers herself a revolutionary, but she is really just a power-hungry white woman who thinks that her good intentions obscure the fact that she just wants to be adored (and that she might only have good intentions in order to be adored).

But at least Daenerys has her dragons to redeem her. Angelina Jolie just has her not-quite-as-exciting films, including her latest project, an upcoming Netflix movie called “First They Killed My Father” based on the memoir of Cambodian human rights activist Loung Ung and her experience surviving genocide.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jolie revealed how she cast the lead using an outrageously cruel casting tactic that the interviewer seems to barely even bat an eye over.

Jolie explained that she and her casting director specifically selected children who experienced great hardships in their lives. The children were then asked to play a “game” in which the filmmakers “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 said. “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.”

What the actual fuck…?

I don’t know about the ethics of film casting, but you would think taunting impoverished children with money just to see their “raw emotion” would cross a line. Can you imagine if these were poor white American children?

In Game of Thrones, Daenerys relishes in how she “gives” slaves their freedom, as if freedom is a gift that someone should be thankful for. I imagine Jolie feels the same about the “opportunity” she provided these young actors, just as she calls her lavish lifestyle a “wonderful opportunit(y she and Brad Pitt) were able to give (her) children,” three of whom were adopted from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, in the same interview.

Of course the opportunity to escape slavery or break out of poverty by starring in a film is wonderful for the person who finds it, but you can’t exploit a person’s desire to escape their hardships and still call yourself a good person just because, after getting what you want from them, you help them escape.

*Update: Jolie has responded to backlash in a statement to Variety, claiming the interview took her words out of context. “The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting,” she wrote. “I would be outraged myself if this had happened.”

**Update 2: Vanity Fair has responded to Jolie’s accusation that her quotes were taken out of context with a statement of their own featuring full transcripts of the interview. “After reviewing the audiotape, V.F. stands by Peretz’s story as published,” it reads.