Emma's moving on from 'Harry Potter'

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 Granger.

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, Emma 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 and work with new creative people."

"The Bling Ring" is based on a Vanity Fair article about the true story of teenagers who robbed celebrities like Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom while they were out at premieres and other events. The character Emma plays, Nicki, is modeled on Alexis Neiers, who starred in the reality series "Pretty Wild."

Emma 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," Emma said. "Somehow I had to understand and empathize with her, and that was really [the] 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," Emma 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," an apocalyptic comedy.

"For Emma, it was, I think, really interesting to see an actress that you've seen in other things really transform into a completely difficult character," Sofia said.

Young actors often treat Cannes as a coming-out-party, a place to introduce themselves on a more artistically minded stage. Emma shined with enthusiasm for her experience with the improvisation-friendly Sofia.

"I could work in a way that was a lot more loose than I was used to," said Emma. "I'm used to really having to stick to my lines because a lot of people know them by heart." - AP

Exhibition of secretly shot photos upsets New Yorkers

Residents of a New York luxury apartment building are livid over an exhibition of photos secretly snapped through their apartment windows.

Photographer Arne Svenson pointed his camera at the oversized windows of the Tribeca building from his second-floor apartment across the street. The images show residents doing mundane things like napping, cleaning and putting children to bed. The photos don't reveal their faces.

They're on sale for up to $7,500 at the Julie Saul Gallery in Chelsea.

The New York Post says some of the residents are considering legal action. One said she recognized her daughter's bedroom.

Arne says his neighbors were performing "on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised." - AP

Friday flashback

1970: Hank Aaron got his 3,000th regular-season hit while batting against the Cincinnati Reds, making him the ninth baseball player to do so. The first was Cap Anson in 1897, and the most recent to reach this milestone was Derek Jeter in 2011. Just 28 players are members of the MLB's 3,000 hit club.

Say what?

"Well, if you think about doing a sex scene with 30 overweight men staring at you, it's hot." - "Scandal" actor Tony Goldwyn, joking with Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen about getting excited filming intimate scenes

Happy birthday for May 17

Actor Ryan Ochoa ("Pair of Kings") is 17.

Singer Kree Harrison ("American Idol") is 23.

Actress Leven Rambin ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") is 23.

Actress Nikki Reed ("Twilight") is 25.

Dancer Derek Hough ("Dancing With the Stars") is 28.

Singer Kandi Burruss of Xscape is 37.

Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy ("Heroes") is 39.

Singer Andrea Corr of the Corrs is 39.

Singer Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age is 40.

Singer Darnell Van Rensalier of Shai is 43.

Singer Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block is 43.

TV personality-interior designer Thom Filicia ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy") is 44.

Actor Hill Harper ("CSI: NY") is 47.

Musician Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is 48.

Keyboardist Page McConnell of Phish is 50.

Talk-show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 51.

Singer Enya is 52.

Actor-comedian Bob Saget ("Full House") is 57.

Actor Bill Paxton ("Hatfields & McCoys") is 58.

TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 60.

Singer-guitarist George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson is 60.

Drummer Bill Bruford of Yes and of King Crimson is 64.

Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is 69.

Singer Taj Mahal is 71.