To be honest, Emma Watson is one of the least-likely ladies we would ever imagine slithering down a stripper pole, but that's exactly what she does in Sofia Coppola’s celeb-obsession opus, The Bling Ring, which took the Croisette by storm last week in Cannes. The new movie focuses on a group of suburban teens from Calabasas who go cat burglar, breaking into their favorite celebrity homes.
Even though the film features Watson doing an impromptu (fully-clothed) number on Hilton’s real-life stripper pole, she admitted feeling a bit out of her element. Watson plays Nicki, a suburbanite who gets dragged into the felonious party by her big sister. The child star turned grown-up actress has been on quite a ride lately, starring last year in the sleeper hit, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, with a cameo in next month's This is the End and the biblical epic Noah in the hopper for 2014. We grabbed a rare minute in her busy schedule to talk about the new movie and growing up on screen.
Do you do your own research on your character for the film?
“I watched a lot of the Kardashians, I watched Paris Hilton, The Hills, and then really it was trying to understand her psychology. It could be very easy to get into a parody and somehow not understand and empathize with her, and that was really my biggest challenge. And getting the accent down to the specific dialect.”
How do you see her? Would you want to be friends?
“I think it was an extraordinary set of circumstances. Her sister is her best friend, she has this very kind of insular experience. Nothing can go wrong, so I think there’s a certain extent to which it didn’t feel like it was real.”
And what are your thoughts on reality TV?
“I think whether there is a demand for a type of show or a type of image, if there’s a demand for that, people will supply it. And I think reality TV is another way of telling a story, really, and that’s just a different type of acting.”
How does the Internet alter the way we define ourselves?
“It’s amazing how self-aware we’re becoming, as a result of constantly posting images on Facebook and Instagram or whatever else. There is so much branding of ourselves, it’s amazing. And I think that it’s a shame that some of that naivete, or just blissfully unaware stage, is shortened over time.”
Do you think our culture has become too celebrity obsessed?
“There are celebrities who create a brand, and create a whole job and a whole life of other people’s interests in their lives. And there are some celebrities who don’t, so much, have a craft and a trade. And I think as long as people understand the difference, then it’s okay.”
Figures show the number of speaking parts for women in Hollywood has dropped. What are your views on the presence of women in the film industry?
“From what I’m seeing, young women are at the helm of most of the franchises that are coming out, the big Hollywood blockbuster pictures, and also forging a new way in comedy. Bridesmaids was the biggest comedy hit last year and Rebel Wilson is hosting the MTV Awards. From what I can see, I think it’s actually a great time. I think there’s still a way to have perfect equality throughout the industry, but we are moving in a really great direction.”
And it looks as if you have finally left Harry Potter behind.
“It’s strange for me because Harry Potter feels like such a long time ago. So much has happened in the last three or four years, but it’s still obviously very present in people’s minds. And so I am not trying to run away from it, I am very proud of the work that I did, but I’ve such an amazing three or four years just enjoying, having a chance to transform into new roles.”
Can you talk about being in Cannes? What makes this festival so special?
“The impression that I get from being at Cannes is that everyone here takes films so seriously and in the most charming way. So, it’s really an amazing environment to be in for someone who loves films.”
Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.