Cabnnes film festival: The Bling Ring makes debut

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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 yesterday.

The Bling Ring, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on a real-life gang fixated by glamour, who used the internet to track the movements of celebrities, including Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and robbed them of millions of dollars worth of luxury goods.

Watson, 23, proved her days as Hermione in Harry Potter were 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.

“I enjoy the chance to transform into new roles and work with new creative people,” she said yesterday.

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 sneak in, returning several times to party in the house and then to other celebrities’ homes, helping themselves to Birkin bags, Louboutin shoes, Rolex watches, jewellery and cash to fund their drug- and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle, boasting about their acquisitions on Facebook.