News / Arts & Entertainment

Emma Watson Turns to Crime in Celebrity-Obsessed Film at Cannes

Actress Emma Watson poses for photographers during a photo call for the film The Bling Ring at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, May 16, 2013.
Actress Emma Watson poses for photographers during a photo call for the film The Bling Ring at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, May 16, 2013.
Reuters
British actress Emma Watson has turned to crime in her latest role as part of a celebrity-obsessed teenage gang robbing their Hollywood idols' homes in a film that made its debut at the Cannes film festival on Thursday.
 
“The Bling Ring”, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on a real-life gang fixated by glamor who tracked their targets' whereabouts online and stole $3 million of luxury goods from celebrities including Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
 
Watson, 23, proved her days as Hermione in “Harry Potter” are long gone as she donned skimpy outfits and perfected a Los Angeles accent to play a fictitious version of one of the Bling Ring gang, who were caught in 2009 and sent to jail.
 
She said her main challenge was to work out why these teenagers, from mainly wealthy backgrounds, were so preoccupied with celebrities. Her research involved watching reality TV shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and “The Hills.”
 
“I enjoy the chance to transform into new roles and work with new creative people,” Watson told a news conference on Thursday where her presence creating a frenzy among photographers.
 
“Harry Potter seems like such a long time ago,” she said.
 
“The Bling Ring”, which opened the Cannes category “Un Certain Regard” for emerging filmmakers, starts with the teenagers seeing on a gossip website that Paris Hilton is in Las Vegas and guessing she would be the kind of person to leave a key under the mat.
 
They find her address and in they sneak, returning several times to party in the house and then to other celebrities' homes, helping themselves to Birkin bags, Louboutin shoes, Rolex watches, bling and cash to fund their drug- and alcohol-fuelled party lifestyle, boasting about their acquisitions on Facebook.
 
World of Excess
 
Even when their make-believe celebrity world comes crashing down, the teenagers seem oblivious to the gravity of their crimes and more interested in hyping their new-found notoriety.
 
Alongside Watson, Katie Chang plays Bling Ring leader Rebecca, while Israel Broussard is her submissive lieutenant with Taissa Farmiga and Claire Julien making up the gang.
 
The film received favourable reviews after a press screening on the second day of the 12-day Cannes festival, described as a “wily critique of celebrity culture” and an “intuitive and atmospheric tale” with a great soundtrack.
 
This was a welcome reaction for the American Coppola, whose third film “Marie Antoinette” was booed in 2006 when it made its debut at Cannes, the world's biggest film festival.
 
Coppola said “The Bling Ring”, which opens in the United States in June, was a comment on culture today - both the teenagers' obsession with the celebrity life and the celebrities themselves with houses overflowing with expensive goods.
 
Paris Hilton, the celebrity heiress, allowed them to film in her real home with shots of a room wall-to-wall with shoes and a pole-dancing table in the middle of a nightclub area.
 
“The world this film shows is a world of excess,” said Coppola. “[Paris Hilton's] house is very exotic. I have never seen anything like it before.”
 
Coppola, 42, whose film “Somewhere” won the top prize at the Venice film festival in 2010, said she met two gang members as she wrote the film to garner extra details but she changed the names in the movie, not wanting to add to their celebrity.
 
She dismissed complaints by some of the Bling Ring members that the film was “trashy and inaccurate”.
 
“It is not a documentary. I am not too concerned with their reaction,” she said.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."