Back to where it began. Angelina Jolie shared in a new interview that she and her eldest son, Maddox, will be “side by side learning” about his native Cambodia as he works with his mom on her latest movie. Jolie, 40, is directing the film adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir, First they Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia, in the country where Maddox was born and adopted at 7 months. The book sheds light on the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, resulting in the deaths of more than 1.7 million people.
The Maleficent star told the Associated Press on Tuesday, July 28, that her 13-year-old son will help her research and prepare for the project. The actress, who adopted Maddox from an orphanage in 2002 while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, spoke in detail about her plans to learn more about Cambodia. “I feel a deep connection to Cambodia. I want to respect its history and bring a film to the world that will not only show the hardships of war but the dignity and resilience of a people I deeply respect,” she wrote via email to the AP. “The intent of this project is not to revisit the horrors of the war but to bring to the screen characters that people around the world will empathise with, and to help other people to learn about Cambodia.”
Ung’s memoir tells the tale of her childhood, which took place during the bloody Khmer Rouge regime. “What is special about this particular story is that it is told from the perspective of a 5-year-old child, and is based on a child’s emotional experience of war,” Jolie continued. “It sheds light not only on the experience of children during the genocide in Cambodia but of all children who endure war.”