One of the biggest scandals in the early aughts revolved around a group of teenage burglars, later known as the Bling Ring, breaking into celebrities’ homes and stealing their possessions. Now, a new Netflix documentary titled The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist takes a closer look at what really happened. In the docuseries, two of the robbery participants, Alexis Neiers and Nick Prugo, give their thoughts on what spurred them to commit the crimes, as well as their feelings about the 2013 film The Bling Ring chronicling their escapades.
Alexis Neiers wasn’t a part of the Bling Ring at the beginning
In The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, Neiers attempts to play down her role in the string of burglaries. At the time, Neiers, her sister Gabbie Neiers, and their mother, Andrea Arlington-Dunne, were being scouted for a reality TV show. Arlington-Dunne had experience in the industry and became thrilled at the idea of her own reality TV series. However, Neiers’ drug use was increasing, and she tells producers that she was “open to the idea of robbing homes to get money for drugs.”
Prugo, who first began breaking into stars’ homes with Rachel Lee, claims he never wanted Neiers involved. He knew that more people meant less profit, but when Lee brought friend Diana Tamoya along, Prugo said he “begrudgingly” asked Neiers to join him.
Despite Lee and Prugo as the ring leaders of the Bling Ring, director Sofia Coppola framed the story with Neiers as the one in charge. Emma Watson took on the role of Neiers while newcomer Israel Broussard played Prugo. Coppola based the movie on the first-hand accounts Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales got from Neiers herself.
Nick Prugo seems miffed that ‘The Bling Ring’ featured Alexis Neier as the mastermind behind everything
Neither Neiers nor Prugo seems happy with the end result. Neiers expresses her dissatisfaction with the film spotlighting her as the main player in the crimes.
Neiers tells producers, “It’s frustrating that the biggest star in this movie is playing me. They made me the Bling Ring leader. It’s just totally not based in any reality.”
Prugo, on the other hand, says that it “bothers” him that the film gave Neiers so much attention. Talking to the cameras, Nick says, “She wasn’t really the main player in the Bling Ring. I was essentially the face of the Bling Ring. Alexis is just an expansion. It bothers me.”
Nick Prugo also wasn’t happy with Israel Broussard playing him in the film
Due to the success of the Harry Potter franchise, Watson was easily the most recognizable name in 2013’s The Bling Ring. Broussard took the role of Prugo, but his name didn’t garner much recognition at the time. Since 2013, Broussard expanded his resume with big roles in movies like Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U.
“I think it would have made more sense to cast high-profile actors for Rachel and me. I don’t know if Israel Broussard was, like, the best fit,” Prugo tells producers, clearly expressing his aggravation with the movie.
When asked who he thought should have played him in the film, Prugo responds, “I don’t know, like, a super young, like, you know, maybe a Tom Cruise?”
Stream The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist exclusively on Netflix.