When “The Bling Ring” team called our Michael Yo and said, “Sofia Coppola wants you on the set of her new movie tomorrow,” he was gobsmacked.
Yo, a host for “OMG! Insider” and star of “The Yo Show,” wasn't exactly ready for his big screen close-up – but he went for it anyway. As the first person to interview real-life Bling Ringleader Alexis Neiers, he had a role to play in this story and he was excited to play it.
What was that first day on set like?
I’d never been in a movie or anything. I even got a little trailer. There was a knock on the door and this woman said, “Hi, I’m Sofia.” She was so petite. You hear this name and you expect this massive person to throw open the trailer door. Then she said, "Here’s a script." I was like, "Wait a minute, this is the interview that I did." I had to memorize the words I’d naturally said.
You originally interviewed Bling Ringer and “Pretty Wild” reality star Alexis Neiers, who’s called Nicki in the movie and played by Emma Watson.
Right. I did the original interview. When Alexis got out of jail, I built up a relationship with her and her family. I was working at E! She trusted me with the first interview out of jail. At the time, she was cellmates with Lindsay Lohan. That was our angle.
How closely did the movie resemble your original interview with Alexis?
It was just like what I saw on screen. It got a lot of laughs in our screening. Sofia told me she wanted me in the movie because it shows how Alexis/Emma still had the same mentality. Jail didn’t change her reality.
Do you think that’s true, that jail didn’t impact Alexis? She keeps saying that the experience was a wake-up call and changed her life, but in the movie those statements come across as ironic.
After the movie came out. I talked to Alexis. Now, she volunteers at rehab centers. She has a baby and she’s married. Lindsay is in the same state as when she was in jail. But Alexis’ life has totally changed in the three or four years since this has happened.
You had a surprise when you got on set, didn’t you?
I didn’t know who was playing who. I show up and I’m concentrating to memorize my own lines that I’ve already said. It’s a big deal to me. Then they bring me into a studio and ask, ‘Do you know Emma Watson?”
I was like, 'OMG, Hermione!' But I didn’t freak out in front of her. We were talking about Coachella, and she was talking about how much she loved her character because everybody thinks she was like Hermione.
[Related: Photos from 'The Bling Ring']
So did Emma show you a thing or two about acting?
I’ve been to some acting classes but, wow, this wasn’t like class. When they said action, she turned into a completely different person. She turned it on. It startled me. They had to edit out my first reaction. When people say they get lost in a character, I saw this British girl talking in her British accent turn into a completely different person with the one word ‘action.’
Looking back it was an amazing experience as a Harry Potter fan. She’s already huge, but there’s more to come.
After this movie debut, what’s next for you?
Who knows? M ore to come, maybe? Even if not, I worked with Sofia Coppola and did a scene with Emma Watson. I’m the luckiest person to ever have a movie that’s not an actor.