Sofia Coppola landed one unlikely cameo for her fact-based crime caper The Bling Ring, which premiered yesterday at Cannes: Paris Hilton, whose mansion was repeatedly burglarized by the titular teenage thieves nearly five years ago. The heiress appears for a quick moment in a nightclub scene, but more significantly, she lent Coppola her actual house to film in for two weeks so that the director could re-create the burglaries onscreen. “I was really emotional watching it,” Hilton confessed to me last night at the movie’s hot-ticket Nikki Beach after-party. “During some parts of it, I literally had tears in my eyes and I wanted to cry. I knew what happened with the burglaries, but I had never actually seen it — so watching it happen, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this really happened to me. These kids were really in my house and did this to me.’ It’s so violating. It just made me really angry and upset, and when I see these kids, I want to, like, slap them.”
There was one upside to watching the movie, though. “I designed everything in the house, so it was really cool to see it on film,” she said. It shows: Hilton’s house is a tribute to Hilton herself, and as the celebrity-obsessed Bling Ringers raid her walk-in shoe closet and party in her “nightclub room,” Hilton’s limpid face stares back at them, emblazoned on all the pillows, artwork, and walls. “That house is like my dream house,” she told me. “I worked so hard on every detail.”
Was Hilton embarrassed by any of the specifics of the case that were rehashed in the movie — namely, that she left her mansion unlocked and didn’t even notice the repeated burglaries until weeks later? “Well, the only reason I agreed to do it at all is because it’s Sofia,” she said. “I have so much respect for her and I think she’s an incredibly talented director. If it was anyone else doing this project, I would have said no, or ‘You’re not coming in my house,’ but I trust her. And the movie is amazing. It’s so good.”
I asked Hilton whether seeing the movie from the kids’ perspective makes her feel at all sympathetic to the real-life ringleaders, played in the movie by newcomers Israel Broussard and Katie Chang. “No way!” Hilton said. “Well, I actually kinda felt bad for the guy, because I feel like he didn’t want to steal the clothes and all that stuff, really. He just wanted to be cool and fit in with that girl. So I mostly blame the main girl. I don’t know her name. But her.”
A man approached the heiress with his iPhone out. “Paris, you sexy bitch!” he shouted. “Are we taking a selfie or what?”
“Yeah, bitch,” she replied. They leaned in close and posed.