Angelina Jolie is devastated over 'misconstrued' reports that the casting process for her new film was a cruel exercise for underprivileged Cambodian children. The controversy arose after an interview left people believing that the children involved were not fully aware that the events in the audition were not real.

Angelina Jolie at 'Kung Fu Panda 3' premiereAngelina Jolie at 'Kung Fu Panda 3' premiere

The 42-year-old actress and filmmaker is denying allegations that she and producers for 'First They Killed My Father' allowed poor children auditioning to take some money from a table before having the director catch them and demand to know why they wanted the money. It was, in fact, all part of an improvisational routine based on a real scene in the forthcoming movie about the Khmer Rouge regime.

'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', Angelina said in a 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.'

The child who ended up winning the part of Loung was Sareum Srey Moch, who impressed Angelina with her emotional response to the audition. 'Moch was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time', Angelina apparently told Vanity Fair. 'When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back. 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.'

Producer Rithy Panh expanded on the reality of the audition in his statement, insisting that there were a number of NGOs, medics, therapists, tutors and the children's own guardians present at all times to ensure that they were properly cared for. 

'The casting was done in the most sensitive way possible. The children were from different backgrounds. Some were underprivileged; others were not. Some were orphans', he said. 'Some of the auditions took place on the NGOs' premises. Ahead of the screen tests, the casting crew showed the children the camera and the sound recording material. It explained to them that they were going to be asked to act out a part: to pretend to steal petty cash or a piece of food left unattended and then get caught in the act.'

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'The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested', he continued. 'They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe.'