With the release date on the horizon, we can expect a steady drip of photos and trailers from Sofia Coppola’s latest film “The Bling Ring” over the coming months. The film is a true-crime drama based on the events surrounding a group of Los Angeles teenagers who went on a celebrity-obsessed burglary spree in October 2008. They targeted the homes of starlets such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and by the time they were found out in August 2009, the gang had stolen nearly $3 million worth of luxury gear and been given the nickname The Bling Ring.
The film focuses on two adopted sisters (played by Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga) who were featured on E! channel’s party-girl reality show “Pretty Wild” in 2010. As details of the crime emerged, the show went on to record the fallout from The Bling Ring saga on screen. Emma Watson’s character, Nicki, is “the most vapid of the gang” and “she loves her Juicy sweat suits and Uggs and hair-extensions and quasi-spiritual back tattoo,” costume designer Stacey Battat told EW in the print edition of this week’s magazine. Battat, who also worked on Coppola’s previous film “Somewhere,” considers the wardrobe an integral part of the wayward group’s identity saying, “everything the characters are wearing is stolen, that studded white leather jacket probably costs $3000. They’re wearing Herve Leger and Louis Vuitton and Manolo Blahniks. They think they’re all celebrities, all decked out.”
Coppola made a point of casting young actors, most of them still school age. “It was important to cast kids who still have baby fat and that unpolished look” she says adding, “they’re trying on personalities and identities.” Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale plays a Los Angeles club promoter who helps the gang to move the loot. “I don’t want to say anything negative because some of the clothes in the movie are his” says Battat, “but we wanted him to look authentically like a sleazy club promoter. I know that bathrobe was not his!”
Leslie Mann (pictured with her real-life pet dog), plays Watson’s mother in the film. “She’s that Mom who thinks her kids are beautiful and obviously should be stars” says Coppola. “Hollywood attracts a lot of people like that.” Taissa Farmiga, younger sister of “Up in the Air” star Vera Farmiga, says “…they wanted anything that’d been touched by a celebrity or worn by a celebrity or hung in a celebrity’s closet. They were lost, they didn’t have the best parents and tabloids were telling the how great it is to be famous and have money and no boundaries.”
“The Bling Ring” will mark the fourth time Coppola has returned to the subject of celebrity after touching on it with “Lost in Translation,” exploring historical celebrity in “Marie Antoinette” and examining the more destructive side of fame in 2010’s “Somewhere.” “My biggest challenge was to make them sympathetic” says Coppola, who refers to teen classics like 1979’s “Over the Edge” and 1980’s “Foxes” as major influences on the project. “I feel like you can sort of understand how they would get caught up. We live in a culture where people are famous for doing nothing other than being a personality”.
“The Bling Ring” hits theaters on June 14th. Check out these new images via EW below.