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Thieves Like Us

Behind the scenes of ‘The Bling Ring,’ Sofia Coppola’s upcoming movie about the gang of real-life teen robbers

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In October 2008, a group of spoiled, fame-obsessed, reality-TV-bred L.A. teenagers embarked on a 10-month robbery spree targeting the homes of starlets they worshipped, such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. By the time they were caught,

in August 2009, the gang of five had lifted nearly $3 million in cash and belongings — earning the nicknames ”The Burglar Bunch” and ”The Bling Ring” in the press.

Director Sofia Coppola’s movie The Bling Ring (rated R, in theaters June 14) chronicles the heady rise and fall of these outrageously misguided kids. ”My biggest challenge was to make them sympathetic,” says Coppola, who looked to teen movies such as Over the Edge and Foxes for inspiration. ”I feel like you can sort of understand how they would get caught up. We live in a culture where people are famous for doing nothing other than being a personality.”

The film centers on two adopted sisters (Harry Potter star Emma Watson and American Horror Story‘s Taissa Farmiga) who were the subjects of E!’s crass 2010 party-girl reality show Pretty Wild, which lucked into capturing the criminal fallout on screen. Leslie Mann plays their equally fame-obsessed mom. ”They wanted anything that’d been touched by a celebrity or worn by a celebrity or had hung in a celebrity’s closet,” says Farmiga. ”They were lost, they didn’t have the best parents, and tabloids were telling them how great it is to be famous and have money and no boundaries.” Here’s an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse at Coppola’s provocative exploration of their toxic fixation.