Angelina Jolie-Pitt will direct an adaptation of a harrowing and poignant memoir from Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung who was trained as a child soldier back during the deadly Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
Jolie-Pitt’s son, Maddox, will also be involved in the production of the film, Netflix said in its announcement.
Angelina Jolie Pitt to direct film with son Maddox
Jolie-Pitt will direct an adaptation of Ung’s memoir, “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.” Ung wrote the book in recollection of surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime in 1975. Jolie-Pitt read the book in 2000 and decided to contact Ung. A friendship bloomed and the two women adapted the book into a screenplay together.
Maddox Jolie-Pitt born in Cambodia
While Netflix did not specify Maddox’s exact participation for the production, it is easy to tell that it will be very significant to the point of being poignant. As all people know, Maddox, now 13 years old, was born on August 5, 2001 in Cambodia as Rath Vibol.
After his adoption by Angelina, he was named Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie and later became Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, after adoption by Brad Pitt.
Maddox had already acted for “World War Z” in 2013. He had also worked as production assistant in Angelina’s another film, “By The Sea,” which is currently in post-production and is set for release this year.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia
Speaking with US Weekly in November, Angelina said that she had always wanted to make a film that would help her sons become better men. Such is the case for “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.”
Ung was only five years old when the Khmer Rouge assumed power over Cambodia in the year 1975 and began a four-year terror in which nearly two million Cambodians died in a genocide. Forced from her family‘s home in Phnom Penh, Ung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her six siblings were sent to labor camps.
“I was deeply affected by Loung‘s book,” Angelina said of the memoir.
“It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it. And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son‘s homeland. It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen, and I‘m honored to work alongside Loung and filmmaker Rithy Panh,” she said.
“Films like this are hard to watch but important to see,” Angelina went on.
“They are also hard to get made. Netflix is making this possible, and I am looking forward to working with them and excited that the film will reach so many people.”
“Angelina and I met in 2001 in Cambodia, and immediately, I trusted Angelina‘s heart. Through the years, we have become close friends, and my admiration for Angelina as a woman, a mother, a filmmaker, and a humanitarian has only grown. It is with great honor that I entrust my family‘s story to Angelina to adapt into a film,” Ung said of Angelina.
“We are proud to be working with Angelina Jolie in bringing this emotionally powerful and ultimately uplifting story exclusively to Netflix members around the world. Loung Ung‘s incredible journey is a testament to the human spirit and its ability to transcend even the toughest circumstances,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a statement.
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