The Inspiration Behind ‘The Bling Ring’ Has One Problem with Emma Watson’s Casting

Alexis Haines (née Neiers) would have preferred to see Zendaya play her in a feature film based on her criminal acts.
Emma Watson, "The Bling Ring"
Emma Watson, "The Bling Ring"

It’s been over seven years since A24 released Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” but never has the inspiration behind the movie seen it. Alexis Haines (née Neiers) served as the basis for Emma Watson’s Nicki Moore, a fame-obsessed Valley Girl who is imprisoned for robbing the homes of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. Haines appeared on comedian Ziwe Fumudow’s popular Instagram Live show this week and touched upon “The Bling Ring.” Not only has Haines not seen the film, but she also took issue with Watson’s casting after the actress publicly condemned her.

“The problem I had is with the comments [Watson] made about me and the role despite the fact that she already knew that I was a convicted…like the heroin part, the drug addiction part had already come out. So I was actually in treatment at the time they were filming the movie.”

Haines continued, “I think [Watson] said something along the lines of like ‘this girl’s the epitome of what I’m totally against and she’s disgusting,’ and you know at that point I already came out with the fact that I’ve been sexually abused throughout my childhood and was like a full-blown heroin addict at the time.”

Speaking to GQ magazine in 2013 (via The Independent), Watson said her “Bling Ring” character “is everything that I felt strongly against — she’s superficial, materialistic, vain, and amoral. She’s all of these things and I realized I hated her. How do you play someone you hate? But I found it really interesting and it gave me a whole new insight into what my job or my role as an actress could be.”

Haines said she has never seen “The Bling Ring” and never will, as that chapter in her life is closed. At the time of Haines’ arrest, she was filming the E! reality series “Pretty Wild.” The show aired for one season on the network and included episodes that documented her trial and jail time. For her involvement in the robberies, Haines was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, plus three years’ probation and a fine of $600,000. She was released from jail after one month. While Haines has an issue with Watson, she said casting Zendaya in “The Bling Role” role would have made her happier.

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