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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."