Livin’ a Teenage Scheme

‘The Bling Ring’ is full of despicable kids, but one of the gang is slightly redeemable

June 21, 2013

From left, Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang and Taissa Farmiga take stock of their bounty in “The Bling Ring.”

Sofia Coppola’s based-on-true-events film “The Bling Ring,” opening Friday, follows a group of teens who break into celebrities’ homes using such amazingly high-tech strategies as finding out when the star is out of town (thanks, TMZ!), figuring out his or her address (thanks, Google!) and discovering a key under the doormat (thanks, people who leave keys under doormats!). Newcomer Israel Broussard plays Mark, the one main character who isn’t entirely despicable.

Stealing isn’t Mark’s idea, but he goes along with it. Why do his friends have such a powerful influence on him?
It’s the first day of school and nobody talks to him. And finally this girl, Rebecca, notices him. He was so desperate for attention and for acceptance that he just went with it. I don’t think it was to intentionally hurt anybody. He knew it was wrong. He was just lonely.

Eventually he becomes more comfortable with stealing, though.
I think it’s honestly like these interviews. It was all very new to him, but then it gets a little easier, the nerves ease a bit. But you mess up, you pause, you stumble, you forget the question and you’re like, “s—.” That’s when you start realizing you need to either do it smarter or stop doing it. In my case, I can’t stop [giving interviews]. People would get mad. So I have to ground myself. [For Mark,] when the news got ahold of [the thefts], that’s when it became, “OK, guys, we need to stop.”

Did the fact they were stealing from people who had so much ease his conscience a little?
I think that’s why they felt a little invisible, like “she won’t notice so why can’t I take it?” Though with the dog, it was understandable. [Rebecca is tempted to steal Paris Hilton’s dog but Mark talks her out of it.] She would notice if Peter Pan was missing.

These kids spend a lot of time taking pictures of whatever they’re doing and posting them to Facebook, which isn’t a great strategy for criminals. What fueled their need for publicity?
They got to the point where they not only need to fuel that need for the clothes, [but] they were building almost a fan base on their Facebook page. They were spreading around “Hey, we’re going to Paris,’ we’ve got all this s—, we’re awesome.” They need to maintain that, and the only way they could do that was jacking more stuff.

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Kristen Page-Kirby | June 20, 2013