"The Bling Ring" had Emma Watson "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
The "Harry Potter" alum plays a character based on convicted socialite Alexis Neiers in Sofia Coppola's film, which chronicles the shenanigans of those who looted the homes of celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom in 2009 and 2010.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday with stars Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Fariga, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard and writer-director Coppola walking the red carpet. The film is not part of the French festival's main competition; rather, the fact-based drama opened the Un Certain Regard category, Movies Now reports.
"I watched a lot of 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' and 'The Hills,' and I tried to understand the psychology of this kind of girl as much as possible," Watson told reporters. "I didn't want her to be just a parody. The accent was hard as it was a particular kind of dialect. I also thought a lot about what her parents must have been like."
Watson rocks a pretty offensive but totally perfect Valley girl accent for her cat-burglar character. Neiers, who along with her friend made off with designer baubles and glitzy duds, pleaded no contest in 2010 to second-degree residential burglary and was given probation after serving 30 days of a 180-day sentence. She was also paid by Coppola to consult on the film.
"It wasn't so much about the stealing," Watson said. "It wasn't so much about the heist aspect. It was actually more about the fact that they wanted to pretend for two hours that they were Paris Hilton or that they were living that kind of lifestyle for real."
Hilton, a five-time victim of the gang's crimes, makes a cameo appearance in the film and recently divulged that she allowed part of it to be shot at her mansion.
"Sofia came to my birthday party last year. She loved my house and said it couldn't be re-created in a set," Hilton told The Hollywood Reporter. "I really admire her, an intelligent independent woman who's a director ... Sofia knows everything about these kids now — stuff I didn't know — and it will be very strange to watch them break in my house five times and sell my Birkin bags and heirloom jewelry on Venice Beach. They stole millions of dollars' worth of things from me."
"The Bling Ring" was based on a Vanity Fair article about the group and the story served as source material for Coppola.
"I think it's really interesting to see an actress that you've seen in other things really transform into a completely different character that's so different than her," Coppola said. "And all of them are so different than the characters in the movie so it's always exciting to see an actor transform."
And it seems like Watson wanted to do the story justice without making it seem as if she were mimicking a loathed caricature.
"With Nicki, I was really taking on a character. Some of her lines are so crazy and absurd — making sure she wasn't a parody was a challenge," Watson recently told W, saying that her risque costumes helped her get into character.
"Who wouldn't love to go to work in Uggs and very low-slung tracksuit bottoms? The iconic detail of Nicki is her tramp stamp. It's a lotus flower, a Buddhist-like symbol just above her butt crack. Really classy! And at one point I told the costume designer, 'You can see my bra strap in this top; shouldn’t we pin it?' And she said, 'No, sweetie — Nicki is all about her bra strap showing.' I was like, right, OK, different mind-set."
Goodie-two-shoes Hermione Granger has been clearly and quite deliberately been left behind in the magical land of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter."
For Watson, who has talked at length about breaking away from her frizzy-haired Muggle-born alter-ego, taking on new roles has helped cast her in a grown-up and quite alluring light. But for her, it's just a part maturing along with "normal experiences."
"I've always been fascinated by Elizabeth Taylor, and I had read that her first kiss happened on a film set, which actually made me a little sad," W's June cover girl said, revealing that her own first kiss was "thankfully" not on set. "You need to have normal experiences of your own. I've never wanted to grow up too fast: I wanted to wear a sports bra until I was 22! The allure of being sexy never really held any excitement for me. I've never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman."