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If you haven't already heard someone suggest, "Let's go to Paris'. I wanna rob," then, sorry, we don't know where you've been for the past few months. The Sofia Coppola-directed film "The Bling Ring" opens nationally this weekend, and the film's infinitely quotable, meme-ready lines are like catnip to the selfie-snapping, celebrity-obsessed zeitgeist. The film follows the titular ring, a teenage gang that allegedly walked casually into celebrities' homes — armed with TMZ-gleaned knowledge that the stars are out of town — and back out with armfuls of designer goods, jewelry and more. The real-life burglars even made off with Orlando Bloom's rug.
Katie Chang and Israel Broussard, both 18, may play the two alleged masterminds of the crew in "Bling Ring," snotty yet fashionable young people based on Rachel Lee and Nick Prugo, but in a chat with NextMovie in Manhattan the morning of the film's New York premiere, the duo couldn't have seemed farther from their characters. Both newcomers to the screen, the two goofed around, riffing on whether they felt bad for the real-life Bling Ring kids, what it was like to act alongside Hermione herself and, of course, tips on how to take the perfect selfie.
So you guys have the premiere tonight? Are you like label whores now, since the movie is so high fashion?
Israel Broussard: Pretty much. But we understand why, and of course I know when I go back to LA, I’m gonna put on some jeans, my slippers, and a nice tee.
Katie Chang: Yeah, after this I don’t think I’m gonna wear makeup for at least a month. Cleanse of the soul, cleanse of the face.
The two of you are both newcomers, suddenly at the center of a pretty high profile movie, with a well-respected director. What's that been like?
IB: It's been an experience. It's nice to see everything so quickly. It's got its cons too — like, I’m in New York for the first time, and I’m here for one full day... But you know, it’s been fun.
You guys filmed in Paris Hilton’s house — what was the strangest thing about that?
KC: She has a foyer, like an entrance to a house. She has a foyer to her bathroom and closet. It's all mirrored and shelves and everywhere. It was pretty fantastic. It was a nightmare to film in though, because the entire wall is mirrors. So how do you put a camera in there, and not get a reflection?
IB: Well, we had great cinematographers.
KC: Yeah, Chris Blauvelt was amazing, and of course Harris [Savides].
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So, did you guys read the story that Paris Hilton cried after seeing "The Bling Ring"?
KC: Yeah, I read that. Did you read that?
IB: I didn't read it, I heard it. My mom came to Cannes with us, and Paris was at the after party, and so my mom got to talk to Paris a little bit... and you know, they were just both getting very emotional, feminine. They went to the bathroom and put on makeup together. My mom was having a blast. But I heard this story from her. So I didn't read about it, I heard about it.
How do you feel about making Paris Hilton cry?
IB: I’m not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing.
KC: I can’t decide.
IB: You know, was she honestly crying?
Sofia Coppola has a lot of famous friends, and this story isn't always the kindest to the images or possessions of celebrities. Was there anything that was kind of off-limits as far as the story went?
KC: We never wanted to make fun of Paris when we were in her house. So, yeah, it's a crazy, insane, excessive house, but we never wanted to make fun of her. And that wasn't because it was off-limits; I think Sofia just wanted to be respectful of the fact that she had given us her house, so we tried to be respectful, but still keep that aura of like, "This is awesome, oh my god, this is Paris Hilton's house, I can’t believe she has that, I can’t believe she does this," and stuff like that.
Did you have any interaction with your real life counterparts?
IB: No... and it’s probably for the best. I know Sofia talked to Nick Prugo. She may have talked to Alexis Neiers, but I kinda doubt it. To me, at least, it was important that I didn't meet them, because that would've thrown me off balance. If someone’s making a movie about me... the person who’s playing me, you know, I want to make a good impression on them, so...
KC: It might've skewed your perspective of your character.
IB: So you know, now I wouldn't be opposed to meeting them. It may be a little awkward, but no, I wouldn't be opposed.
Was it even an option?
KC: I'm sure if we asked, we would've been given an explanation. But we never even thought to ask.
IB: ...Or wanted to. We saw the police records and the footage, so we’re good.
KC: I know that some people who are playing a character that was in a certain situation or a character who is based off a real person, they want to do as much research as possible. But I think Sofia wanted to take the actions and not the people. You know, she wanted to tell their story and then give us freedom to put the characters within the story.
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Are you sympathetic to your characters?
KC: To my character? No.
IB: I don’t feel sympathetic. I feel I've gotten a better understanding of why they did it and what was going through their heads when they were doing it. I just hope they learn something from it, and I think most of them did. Except for Alexis... it doesn't really seem like she's learned much.
KC: She might write about you on Twitter if she finds out you said that.
She's a mom now.
KC: She's a mom, she's getting it together.
IB: Well... (pause) yeah.
KC: I think we all feel bad for our characters. It's not, "Oh, I feel so bad for you, I want to help you." It’s more of, "I pity you, that you were in that mental state and you were that brainwashed that you thought that this was okay."
IB: But they were living in the moment, and full of excitement and adrenaline. They weren't looking at it like, "Hey, let's go break into Paris'," they were like, "Hey, let's go to Paris'."
It seems like a lot of your characters' actions are spurred on by peer pressure, or just wanting to look cool in front of each other. Have you ever done anything with a group of friends that you wouldn’t do alone?
KC: Yeah. I went to a haunted house once, and I don’t do well in situations like that, and I've lived my entire life not being scared or anything. And I would have NEVER done it, it would have NEVER been my idea. But it was my best friend, and her boyfriend, and all of his friends, and I always had a really great time hanging out with them, so I went and I ended up having a great time. (laughs) It was so much fun. It was terrifying, but it felt like I was in a movie the entire time, you know?
IB: Once, when "Spider-Man 3" was coming out, or no, it was "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," or something like that, I was with my sister and a couple of her friends, and my dad said, "Don’t go to 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' don't go there. You're going to 'Spider-Man 3,'" and my sister was like, "Okay, we're in the theater, let's go." So I was a little hesitant, I got up, I went in the theater, I sat down, and I legit got back up. I was so paranoid that my dad was gonna pop up.
KC: Why didn't he want you to see the movie?
IB: I hadn't seen "Pirates of the Caribbean" til I was, like, 15... and I hadn’t seen "Harry Potter" yet. My parents are very spiritual, and they wanted to make sure I knew the difference between real and fake before I dove into all these movies, and they also screwed me on that one, because I don't watch TV or movies.
KC: You have so much to learn!
IB: I know, but I can't believe you haven't seen all three — no, six — "Star Wars" [movies]. We were talking about the trilogy.
KC: I've seen the first Star Wars, but I haven’t seen all of them.
It’s kind of a commitment, right? It’s daunting.
KC: It is, and I feel like you have to watch them in close relation to the previous one, otherwise you will kind of lose things.
IB: No, no no. It's — okay, you ready for this? — four, five, six. One, two, three.
KC: I know the order! I just feel like, in the order that you watch them in, you have to watch one the next day, the next day, the next day, just so that you retain all the information, because there’s so much that gets thrown out at you.
And what if you don't appreciate it enough or something.
IB: Oh no, no you don’t have to worry about that. It’ll be fine.
KC: Have you seen all the "Ocean's" movies? Those are my favorite movies.
IB: Are we talking like, "Ocean's 11" and "Ocean's 13," and...
KC: 11, 12, 13, AND 11 circa 1960 with Frank Sinatra.
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Which celebrity's house would you want to go into?
KC: Elton John. His babies are really cute, too. So I wanna see the nursery and see how they decorated it. I wanna play his piano. That seems really creepy. Also, I feel like he has a lot of cool art.
IB: Outside of the White House, I'd probably do Rob Dyrdek.
KC: Yes, I would break into Rob Dyrdek’s. Or just the Fantasy Factory.
IB: Yeah, that's kind of what I was going for.
KC: He doesn't live there though.
IB: No, he doesn't. But I've also seen his house on the show.
KC: Can I tell you that I've seen every single episode of "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory"?
IB: I have not. I've seen a couple of episodes...
KC: When I like something, I get obsessive about it, and I watch all of it at the same time.
IB: Slay it?
KC: Yeah, I slay it.
So you guys are into reality TV?
KC: Not really.
After you were just talking about reality TV.
KC: 'Cause I feel like "Fantasy Factory" is just funny.
IB: Yeah, it's more of just, "Hey, let's invite these celebrities here, and just chill." But with reality TV, it's like, "Hey, let me follow you around all day and let's try and do these fun activities that you’re not interested in whatsoever, and let me mess it up so you can get laughed at." With "Fantasy Factory," it's more like, "Hey man, what's up? We got these mini dirt bikes we're about to go on the halfpipe with." You know? It’s a cleaner version of "Jackass," is what it is.
KC: Or you could just go in the opposite direction, and just watch "Nitro Circus." It’s like "Jackass," but with motorbikes and a little bit more thought process. That's what "Nitro Circus" is.
"Jackass Jr," "Jackass Tween."
KC: No, it's like "Jackass Cousin." It's the smarter cousin of "Jackass."
"Jackass" with a fewer blows to the head.
KC: Yes! 'Cause they actually do some math to figure out if they’re gonna die or not during some of the stunts.
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And then they do it anyway. So Emma Watson is in this movie, and you're both 18, which is just about the right age for you to have been really into "Harry Potter." Were you? Are you?
KC: I read the books AT LEAST 15 times all the way through. I was a huge bookworm — still am — but don't have as much time as I did when I was 10. And I definitely watched the movies. I'm sure I've had her poster on my wall at one point in my life. (pause) No, I HAVE had her poster, you know the cast, and so, it seems really weird to think about it now. But she's as professional as anyone would picture her. She’s just a very sweet girl.
IB: Never seen 'em.
IB: Not one.
KC: Yeah, you can’t get on me for not watching "Star Wars" if you've never read or seen "Harry Potter."
IB: Well, "Star Wars" is a classic. "Harry Potter" is this new thing that...
KC: Okay, fine, don’t even watch the movies. Just read the books. The books are amazing.
IB: Do you know who you’re talking to?!
Using the formula of your first pet and the street you grew up on, what would your porn names be?
IB: I'd be Frank Riverline. Wait, no no. Dell Riverline.
That sounds like a gentleman.
IB: Like the computer Dell. My dog’s name is Dell.
KC: Tracy Fairview.
IB: Wait, wait. My family has this thing about middle names. My dog’s name is Disoto Dell. So would it be Disoto Riverline or Dell Riverline? Which one sounds better?
KC: Disoto. Are you kidding me? Disoto sounds like a kid from Brazil just trying to make it happen.
IB: Alright, we got this.
This is one that seems very appropriate for "The Bling Ring": Would you guys take a selfie for us?
KC: We gotta take a cool selfie.
What are your tips for perfect selfie?
KC: You have to look really like, huhhh.
IB: You just keep taking pictures until you get a really good one.
KC: The sound that you make is like tsss. (laughs)
Also check out: 'The Bling Ring': 16 Crazy But True Facts About the Story