CANNES, France – Emma Watson is reveling in her post-”Potter” freedom at the Cannes Film Festival, relishing a Valley Girl role far from her wise-beyond-her-years Hermione.
The 23-year-old “Harry Potter” actress stars in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” which premiered Thursday at the French Riviera festival. The British actress plays a celebrity-obsessed, thickly accented Los Angeles teenager who, with a group of friends, burgles Hollywood stars such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
At Cannes, Watson told reporters that while she remains proud of her work on the “Potter” films, they now feel long ago. “I’m not trying to run away from it,” she said. “I’ve just had an amazing three or four years. I’m really re-enjoying having the chance to transform into new roles.”
Watson said she watched American TV shows like “The Hills,” “Keeping up With the Kardashians” and “The World According to Paris” to prepare for the role.
“It’d be very easy for Nicki to feel like a parody,” Watson said. “Somehow I had to understand and empathize with her and that was really biggest challenge, second to getting the accent down. It’s quite a specific dialect.”
Since the “Harry Potter” films concluded in 2011 with the second part of “Deathly Hallows,” Watson has gravitated to more adult films, including last year’s coming-of-age tale “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic “Noah,” which recently finished shooting. She also makes a cameo as herself in this summer’s “This is the End.”