By Amy Kaufman
11:00 AM EDT, June 6, 2013
In “The Bling Ring," a group of starry-eyed teens define their worth by the number of designer duds in their closet.
The young protagonists of Sofia Coppola’s based-on-a-true-story film don’t actually own any of these coveted items, of course -- they steal them. Parading through the closets of stars such as Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan, their eyes widen as they try out Alexander McQueen sunglasses, Chanel handbags and Christian Louboutin pumps.
“Oh, my God,” one character gasps as she comes across a chic top. “It’s Balmain.”
It’s a line uttered by actress Claire Julien, who, fittingly enough, was sporting a Balmain dress on the red carpet at the film’s Hollywood premiere Tuesday night.
“It’s pretty ironic,” 18-year-old Julien, the daughter of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister, acknowledged. “We’re playing celebrity-obsessed kids, and here we are, kind of becoming celebrities ourselves.”
Julien’s co-star, Katie Chang, said she has already begun to notice the effects of her newfound fame.
Chang, 18, graduated from high school in Illinois last weekend -- but in the final weeks of 12th grade, she started to notice her friends treating her differently.
“They were acting weird and that’s why I’m really glad I graduated so soon,” said Chang, who will begin her freshman year at Columbia University in the fall. “If the movie had come out while I was still in school, I think it would have been a little crazy.”
Appearing in the film -- which hits theaters June 14 -- was also a new experience for musician Gavin Rossdale, the Bush frontman with little acting background. In the movie, Rossdale plays a seedy club promoter who helps the Bling Ringers sell off their stolen goods. (He also has a penchant for taking sexy selfies with Julien’s character.)
Rossdale said he was aware of the high-profile robberies, largely because he was a friend of Orlando Bloom, one of the Bling Ring’s targets.
“When Orlando’s home got robbed, I didn’t like that I knew someone who was getting burglarized,” said Rossdale, who attended the event with his wife, Gwen Stefani. “I felt bad for Paris. ... It’s a real heinous thing to have people in your house stealing stuff. It’s pretty disgusting.”
Though his disdain for the crime circle is clear, Rossdale says he’s spent time trying to understand what drove the real-life Southern California teens to such behavior.
“I wondered how much they felt that Paris wouldn’t mind because her life is so great and her stuff is so free and life came so easy to her,” he said, furrowing his brow. “That sense of entitlement growing up in L.A., projecting whether or not she would mind. Maybe there was something to that.”
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