Coppola's 'Bling Ring' at home at decadent Cannes
Director Sofia Coppola poses for photographers during a photo call for the film The Bling Ring at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
CANNES, France (AP) — Sofia Coppola was just 8 years old when she first came to the Cannes Film Festival. Her father, Francis Ford Coppola, was there to premiere a work-in-progress cut of a film he had spent years wrestling with: "Apocalypse Now."
"I have nice memories of Cannes," Coppola said in an interview Thursday on the roof of the Palais, the festival center. "I remember coming here as a kid and then my first movie, 'Virgin Suicides,' had our first screening ever here. I feel like my career started here."
Growing up in such surroundings, one would think, would have heavily informed Coppola's latest film, "The Bling Ring," a deadpan drama about celebrity-obsessed teenagers in Los Angeles who break into the homes of Paris Hilton and other stars. But Coppola says the movie world she grew up in isn't the same as today's star-crazed culture.
"I definitely noticed that people would act different around my dad. It was just part of my growing up," Coppola says. "This world feels unfamiliar to me, this kind of reality-star, tabloid culture."
"The Bling Ring," which opened Cannes' Un Certain Regard section Thursday, is Coppola's third film in a row that deals heavily with the famous. Following her "Marie Antoinette" (her modern-styled take on the French royal) was 2010's "Somewhere," a minimalist drama about a renowned actor and his 11-year-old daughter.
From left, actors Emma Watson, Claire Julien and director Sofia Coppola pose for photographers during a photo call for the film The Bling Ring at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
"The Bling Ring" is based on a true story, recounted in a Vanity Fair article, about high-schoolers who, after seeing online when certain stars are expected at a premiere or other event, take the opportunity to steal designer bags, shoes and clothes from their homes, lingering to pretend to live in celebrity opulence.
There's wry irony in premiering such a film at Cannes, the decadent French Riviera resort town of high-end boutiques and luxury hotels.
"It seems like the perfect setting for 'The Bling Ring' when you see people walking around in their heels," says Coppola, who favors a less flashy style. "It's a glamorous place, so it feels appropriate."
Coppola cast mainly newcomers in the lead roles (Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien), with the notable exception of "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson, who assumes a thick Valley Girl accent for her character. Watson praised Coppola for her easy calm; Chang noted her gentle openness with actors.