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Cannes: 'Bling Ring' Star Emma Watson Talks Kardashians, Paris Hilton

Emma Watson
Emma Watson

The British actress says she gorged on reality TV for her role in Sofia Coppola’s festival sidebar film.

CANNES - It is the first, and possibly the last, time that work by the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and Lauren Conrad all have been cited collectively as essential research for a film at Cannes.

Particularly surprising is the person doing the research: Emma Watson, best known as Hermione in the Harry Potter films. The British actress gorged on reality TV for her role as Nicki, a high-schooler-turned-burglar in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring.

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“I watched a lot of Kardashians, I watched a lot of Paris Hilton, I watched some of The Hills, and then really I was just trying to understand [Nicki’s] psychology,” said Watson. “Because you might easily have made Nicki feel like a parody ... and somehow I had to understand and empathize with her and really that was my biggest challenge second to getting the accent down.”

Her reality confession came at the press conference for the film, unspooling as the opening-night gala screening for Un Certain Regard. Coppola’s portrait of fame-seeking students who robbed celebrities’ homes - including that of Hilton, who has a cameo in the film - was inspired by true events.

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Coppola said neither Hilton nor Lindsay Lohan (another victim of the thieves) had yet seen the film “as far as I know,” adding, “I believe Paris Hilton might be coming tonight.” American Israel Broussard, who plays young thief Marc, got a laugh when he confessed to having to learn to pronounce various designer names including “Dior” properly.

For her part, Coppola said she had no misgivings about returning to Cannes after the lukewarm reception her 2006 movie Marie Antoinette received. “I’m always very happy to show a movie here,” said Coppola. “Cannes seems an appropriate place for Bling.