Emma, Sofia & Paris Bring 'The Bling Ring' To Life
By Concetta DeLuco
Emma Watson made her name in Hollywood crafting spells and fighting evil as everyone's favorite muggle in Harry Potter, but these days she is all grown up and brewing up trouble of a different kind as she takes on a much more adult role playing the scandalous, celebrity-obsessed Nicki in the new summer flick The Bling Ring.
"It's the crazy side of Nicki, so I feel like I am a little removed or separated from it, but I hope that they'll just really enjoy it," Watson tells ET.
The Sofia Coppola-directed biopic brings to life the true story of a group of Hollywood teens and 20-something friends who broke into and robbed a slew of celebrity homes back in 2008 -- stealing from Orlando Bloom, Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox, and Paris Hilton. The group's weapon of choice was using social media to track the whereabouts of the celebrities they were targeting.
When asked whether it was hard to incarnate the bad-girl persona of her character, the famously well-behaved Watson said it was definitely a stretch from her normal behavior.
"I really had to just completely step outside of myself," the This Is The End star says. "We're so, so, so different. But it was really fun to get to transform."
Watson's character Nicki is based on the real-life Alexis Neiers, who wasn't the brainchild behind the heists, but was the most public figure thanks to her E! reality TV show Pretty Wild.
In Coppola's theatrical version, celebutante Paris Hilton lends her real Beverly Hills home as a set, the very same home that was raided five times for more than $2 million in loot and priceless family heirlooms by the real bling-ring five years ago. Hilton says she recognizes she chose to 'relive the experience all over again' by welcoming in the film crew, but only did it because it was a Coppola project.
"Sofia asked me about doing this film and I immediately said yes because I have so much respect for her. She is such an incredible director," Hilton says. "If it was anybody else doing the movie I would have said no. But I like that she really showed how serious it was what these kids did."
"Luckily she was very helpful and gracious to let us film in her house. I love seeing her house and I think it's fun for the audience to see as well," Coppola said of Hilton's luxurious Beverly Hills mansion.
"It's incredible. She has a small house for her dogs. It's two floors. Everything is pink and mirrored," Watson added.
Coppola said the flick hopes to highlight society's flawed fascination with and misconception of reality TV stars and celebrities. As far as assembling the cast -- composed of household names like Watson, Leslie Mann and Gavin Rossdale, and newcomers including Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien and Georgia Rock -- the Marie Antoinette director jokes that she staged a robbery to better get the actors prepared for their roles.
"I had a friend's house who was away for the night and they had to sneak into a Hollywood hills house," she recollects.