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Sofia Coppola Talks 'The Bling Ring,' First Digital Shoot, Feeling-Over-Talking Technique

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood April 10, 2013 at 1:10PM

Director Sofia Coppola sits down with the DGA Quarterly to discuss her upcoming film "The Bling Ring" (June 14), starring Emma Watson as the leader of a pack of celebrity-looting Hollywood teens. Highlights from the interview below, including Coppola's interest in today's social-mediated youth, her experience with shooting digitally for the first time, and her methods for communicating feeling in a scene.
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Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola

Director Sofia Coppola sits down with the DGA Quarterly to discuss her upcoming film "The Bling Ring" (June 14), starring Emma Watson as the leader of a pack of celebrity-looting Hollywood teens. Highlights from the interview below, including Coppola's interest in today's social-mediated youth, her experience with shooting digitally for the first time, and her methods for communicating feeling in a scene.

Watch the trailer for "The Bling Ring" here.

On today's youth being constantly "aware of their audience":

“I was curious about these kids growing up always aware of their audience, constantly posting pictures online. For visual references, I borrowed the cell phones of my actors and studied their Facebook and Myspace pages. This world isn’t as visually beautiful as some of my other films. It’s more Pop.”

On communicating feeling through a scene, and not relying on talking:

"Remember Scarlett [Johansson] perched in the window ledge in 'Lost in Translation,' looking out over Tokyo? You project your feelings on her. That’s what I’m going for. I want the visual ways to tell the story rather than have the characters talk...The scripts are notes to let cast and crew know what I want to do. I don’t make a shot list. There’s no sense in that until you see the actors rehearse the scene. So, I’ll say, ‘In this scene I want to show X.’" 

On using a digital camera (the RED) for the first time on "Bling Ring":

“It feels more immediate, and since you’re not limited by the film in the camera you can go on and on and have really long shots... [but] I spent more time watching the monitor than being on set. It felt passive. I see how it can distance you from the action. I had to keep reminding myself to get back on the set. I’d shoot on film again, if it’s still available.”


This article is related to: Interviews, Sofia Coppola, Sofia Coppola, The Bling Ring, Emma Watson


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.