Sofia Coppola seems to love trouble. The writer-director’s unique resume consists of films focusing on particularly kids/young adults in some type of dilemma, whether it be existential or political. Last night, the multi-hyphenate spoke to a packed audience for the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Summer Talks. With her newest film following in the same vein of privileged people with problems, the director divulged information on her creative process and the work it took to develop The Bling Ring.
Based off a true story, the film follows a group of fame-obsessed Cali girls (and one guy) as they steal millions of dollars in merchandise from semi-famous stars like Rachel Bilson to hotel heiress Paris Hilton. Coppola considered this a fun challenge since her style isn’t true crime. She was amazed that she got lucky in gaining the rights cause the material spoke for itself especially when the infamous and poorly timed reality show Pretty Wild aired on E! as the trial was underway. Surprisingly, this made her feel like there was a clear horror element to this and was a big indicator about what our culture values.
When it came to casting, Coppola and her crew had a pretty simple process. She had to be sure the group of kids “clicked”. Fortunately, she found the right mix with actors from as close as Chicago to as a far away as the UK (Emma Watson is one of the very few recognizable faces in the film). During her scripting sessions, she had to be meticulous when it came to the characters. She was allowed to use some creative license when it came to names(Watson is portraying Alexis Neiers, one of the leads from the horrendous reality show but her name is Nicki in the movie). A 30 second clip was shown during the presentation of the invasion of Paris Hilton’s humble abode. The squeals of glee makes it hard to feel bad for these kids, which is why the director had to be careful not to go overboard on comedy. Ultimately, she centered it around the only male member of the crew who truly seemed to feel remorse.
This should be perfect for fans of true crime, tabloid drama and reality shows gone wrong. The movie opens June 14th in limited release with an expansion on June 21st.