Reflecting on her split, Angelina seems surprisingly at ease: "I have had my ups and downs. I guess I am a little bit stronger," she says. "We all have our difficult times, but as a mother you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids. They are going through their formative years and everything else comes second to that."
Angelina has a few acting projects in the pipeline, including Walt Disney Pictures' Maleficent 2. But, as always, her kids' needs will come first. "Everything will be around the children. I haven't worked for over a year now because they needed me home. Everything was just stopped. I'm really sitting and talking with them because everything affects them," she says. "Every location, every type of project, I'm going to have to adjust it to however much they can handle."
Also, Jolie’s heavily-watched appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival was her most public since she filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after 12 years together — two of them married. The actress was accompanied by her six children on the red carpet on Monday for the festival's premiere of her Netflix film, "First They Killed My Father."
Jolie directed and produced the movie, which is based on the memoir by Luong Ung and tells the story of the Cambodian genocide through the eyes of a child.
The film isn’t just a shattering view of war through a child’s eyes, it’s intended as a cathartic healing for Cambodia itself, and a personal journey into the past of Maddox’s countrymen. The 16-year-old, credited as an executive producer, collaborated with her mother on the production, which was shot in Cambodia with local actors, both professional and not.
“I said to my son Maddox, who’s known Luong his whole life, when you’re ready, we should tell Luong’s story. But we have to tell it together,” Jolie says. “We had this script for a few years and he came up to me and said, ‘I’m ready.'”
The oldest Jolie-Pitt son earned his executive producer credit by sitting in on meetings, prepping for shoots and reviewing dailies. However, he was not alone in the creation of the movie based on family friend Loung Ung's memoir, with his mom in the director's chair and his 13-year-old brother Pax Jolie-Pitt working as a set photographer.
And in his first major interview, the 16-year-old revealed what it was like to work with his mother on the project. "[She's] fun, funny, and easy to work with," Maddox told People magazine. "She's a wonder."
"I was trying to help wherever I could," Maddox added to the mag.
“First They Killed My Father,” which hits Netflix and select theatres Friday, is based on Loung Ung’s 2000 memoir. The film hues close to Ung’s perspective as a five-year-old girl living with her family in Phnom Penn when the Khmer Rouge march in, force the residents to flee and then imprison Ung’s family in a labour camp, brutally indoctrinating them to a classless society. Some two million (nearly a quarter of the country) died during the Khmer Rouge’s four year reign of terror.
Luong Ung, 47, came to Vermont from a refugee camp in Thailand as a 10-year-old. She now is married and lives in Cleveland, but she and Jolie have long been friends. She and Jolie co-wrote the script. Jolie also enlisted Rithy Panh, the Oscar-nominated director of the Cambodian genocide documentary “The Missing Picture,” as co-producer.
“There’s probably a Hollywood version of this, but this wasn’t about that,” says Ung. “This was about honour and celebration and remembrance.”
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