According to the profile, the crew of the film—an adaption of Loung Ung’s memoir about the horrors of Pol Pot’s regime—gave young Cambodian children “wads of cash” before it was taken away in a type of “game.”
Their reactions at having been given everything, then having it snatched away were analysed to test if they were suitable for the part.
“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 of the casting process in the Vanity Fair article. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.”
Many labelled the casting technique as "traumatising" for the young children, with others calling the game "sickening," "monstrous" and "exploitative."
But in a statement released to Huffington Post, the 42-year-old actress and mother-of-six said her comments were taken out of context.
"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 the statement.
"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."