Cambodia helped Angelina Jolie become a film superstar and start a family. To tell the stories of people in the country that touched her, she is directing a Netflix film on location based on a memoir of the country’s 1970s holocaust under the Khmer Rouge, blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people.
And her Cambodian-born son, Maddox, will help with research and preparation for the film, Jolie said on Tuesday.
Jolie’s 2001 hit, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was filmed partly at Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple complex, and in 2002 she adopted 7-month-old Maddox from an orphanage in western Cambodia.
Determined to give something back, she launched a foundation in Cambodia 12 years ago to promote community development alongside conservation.
This past weekend she visited some of the projects of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which focuses on programs “to help local families overcome problems associated with poverty in the region and to help preserve the remarkable habitat and wildlife for future generations”, she says.
She’s slated to begin filming in November on the Netflix project, an adaptation of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, author Loung Ung’s memoir of her childhood during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Jolie recently directed the Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken and is in post-production on the drama By the Sea, in which she also acts alongside her husband, Brad Pitt.
Jolie was in the capital Phnom Penh on Tuesday doing research at the Bophana Center, an audiovisual archive co-founded by Rithy Pan, an acclaimed Cambodian documentary filmmaker whose work has focused on the tragedy of the Khmer Rouge, and who will help with the Netflix project, which will be done in the Khmer language.
“We will be spending the next few months scouting for locations, casting the film, but most importantly researching every event to make sure it is historically accurate and will pay respect not only to Loung Ung and her family but to every single individual who suffered under the Khmer Rouge,” Jolie said a speech at the center.
“The book is a guide to one young girl’s story, and we will complete the story drawing on the experiences of others and adding them to the film. Through her story we will be telling many stories, so that the film is not just based on the memory of one child but on the collective memory of the people of Cambodia.”
Angelina Jolie is teaming up with Netflix to direct an adaptation of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, which, she says, is to show the hardships of war and the dignity and resilience of the people.AP
(China Daily 07/30/2015 page20)