“Maddox will be on set every day after school and involved behind the scenes,” Jolie told the press. “As Maddox and I prepare the film we will be side by side learning about his country. He is turning 14 next week and this is a very important time for him to understand who he is. He is my son but he is also a son of Cambodia. This is the time for our family to understand all that means to him and to us.”
Jolie was in Cambodia to check on her two non-profit organizations and to begin pre-production on her next directorial project, which is a film based on an adaptation of former child soldier Loung Ung, who wrote about her experience in her memoir First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.).
The memoir details Ung’s memories of growing up under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s under a genocide that resulted in the deaths of 1.7 million people under Pol Pot.
“I was deeply affected by Loung’s book,” Jolie said in a press statement. “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. 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 identify with and empathize with, and help to teach people about this country that I love and respect, and the Cambodian culture and family life I so admire. The film will be shot from the child’s perspective [featuring a] Cambodian cast and crew and in the Cambodian language.”
Pre-production is expected to last until November, with shooting slated to last from November to January. Jolie has previously directed Unbroken and In the Land of Blood and Honey.