Entertainment & Arts

Sofia Coppola dismisses Bling Ring gang criticism

Media captionEmma Watson and Sofia Coppola were among the stars at the premiere

Director Sofia Coppola has shrugged off criticism from one of the women who inspired her new film The Bling Ring.

Alexis Neiers, who was convicted in 2009 of burgling the homes of such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, has called the film inaccurate.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Coppola said: "It's not a documentary, we made a movie and I'm not too concerned with their reaction."

Harry Potter actress Emma Watson plays a fictional character based on Neiers.

The movie, which is opening the festival's Un Certain Regard strand, is based on a gang of Los Angeles teenagers who used the internet to find the homes of celebrities.

They then broke in and robbed them of clothes and jewellery valued more than $3 million (£1.9m).

The gang pleaded no contest to the charges and were convicted. Neiers served 30 days in prison, coincidentally at the same time as Lohan, one of her wealthy targets.

The film was based in part on The Suspects Wore Louboutins, an article about the case by Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales.

Neiers, who has since become a reality TV star in the US, took to Twitter in April to call the movie's trailer "trashy and inaccurate".

Image caption The Bling Ring is based on a gang of thieves who burgled celebrity homes in 2009

Coppola, however, said she specifically changed details from the real-life case, including the names of the so-called Bling Ring.

"I didn't want to make those kids more famous than they already are for what they did," the director told reporters on Thursday.

Hilton, one of the gang's victims, has a small cameo in the film, some of whose scenes were shot at her home.

"We did shoot in Paris's real house," Coppola confirmed. "It was interesting to be in one of the real locations where a burglary took place and she showed us footage of the kids there.

"This world we're showing is definitely one of excess," the 42-year-old continued. "It was interesting to see the life that I'd read about."

The Oscar-winning film-maker was last in Cannes with her historical drama Marie Antoinette, which competed for the Palme d'Or in 2006.

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