‘Vanity Fair’ Stands by Controversial Child Casting Story in Angelina Jolie Interview

Vanity Fair is standing by a controversial story about casting Cambodian children for Angelina Jolie‘s upcoming film First They Killed My Father that was included in the actress’ recent cover story.

The article, which is featured in the magazine’s September 2017 issue, details the allegedly “disturbing” audition process for Jolie’s upcoming Netflix film. The story claims that casting directors organized a “game” where they “put money on the table” and asked impoverished children “to think of something [they] needed the money for” before snatching it away.

Angelina Jolie attends a private reception as costumes and props from Disney's 'Maleficent' are exhibited in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital at Kensington Palace in London on May 8, 2014.
Angelina Jolie attends a private reception as costumes and props from Disney's 'Maleficent' are exhibited in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital at Kensington Palace in London on May 8, 2014. Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Many readers were taken aback by the story, prompting Jolie, 42, to release a statement refuting the claims. “I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario,” she said in a statement on Sunday, July 30. “The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.”

However, on Thursday, August 3, Vanity Fair released a transcript of the two-time Oscar winner’s interview with writer Evgenia Peretz and said it stands by the story. The publication also claimed that Jolie’s lawyer asked for the paragraph to be removed from the online version of the interview, in addition to requesting that a correction be published in the upcoming October print issue and VanityFair.com.


In the transcript, Jolie is quoted as allegedly saying, “We had this game where it would be — and I wasn’t there and they didn’t know what they were really doing. They kind of said, ‘Oh, a camera’s coming up and we want to play a game with you.’ And the game for that character was ‘We’re going to put some money on the table. Think of something that you need that money for.’ Sometimes it was money, sometimes it was a cookie. … ‘And then take it.’ And then we would catch them. ‘We’re going to catch you, and we’d like you to try to lie that you didn’t have it.”

The Tomb Raider star proceeded to tell Peretz that Sareum Srey Moch, the lead actress in the film, “was the only child that stared at that money for a very, very long time before she picked it up,” according to the transcript. She said the young actress became so “overwhelmed with emotion” after the alleged game, adding, “And I don’t think she or her family would mind me saying when she was later asked what that money was for, she said her grandfather died and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”

Us Weekly has reached out to Jolie’s rep for additional comment.

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