Emma Watson as Alexis Neiers
  • Emma Watson as Alexis Neiers

The Internet Movie Database informs us that Emma Watson prepared for her role in The Bling Ring—as real-life criminal turned reality TV star Alexis Neiers—by studying Neiers’s body language as exhibited on her TV show. You get a sense of her process in the on-screen results. Watson’s performance is a series of precise, concentrated gestures, which is never undermined by the sort of self-consciousness actors tend to exhibit when playing real people who are still alive. The movie’s version of Neiers is, of course, extremely self-conscious—you can see that in the still to the left. Observe the regal smirk on Watson’s face, the way she hides one eye behind her bangs and steers the other to the side, so as to avoid making direct eye contact with anyone. Watson’s impersonation, one of refined superficiality, conveys that Neiers looks at the world from behind a mask.