(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)Is coming to you via home delivery of The New York Times this weekend. An eleven-page in depth feature about Lindsay Lohan's onset drama in this week's magazine section, was released online in its entirety Wednesday.
I laughed, I cried, I understood momentarily why Lohan may be the greatest Hollywood star alive. Writer Stephen Rodrick provides a gripping all-access glimpse into the sordid filming of "The Canyons," an upcoming movie starring Lohan and porn star James Deen. The film itself, directed by the frightening Paul Schrader (he wrote "Taxi Driver") is based on a Bret Easton Ellis script. But Rodrick's Times profile focuses on the behind-the-scenes story of movie-making with a uniquely talented, emotionally unstable actress who won't be ignored.
It begins with Lohan in negotiations for the part and ends with the screening of a film with a questionable future. What happens in between can only be fully absorbed by taking 30 minutes from your workday to read the entire article. For the abbreviated version, I've taken all the direct quotes from Lohan in the piece in order to let her tell the story, in her own words:
"Hi, how are you? I won't play Cynthia. I want to play Tara, the lead."
At a cafe at the Chateau Marmont, days before Lohan would be banned from the hotel for an unpaid $46,000 bill, Lohan meets "The Canyons" director Paul Schrader and producer Braxton Pope. Though her agency already negotiated her terms in a prior meeting, Lohan is out to prove she's nobody's puppet. In return for the lead role, however, she also agrees to a four-way sex scene. Schrader, meanwhile, promises not to sleep with her. And so it begins.
"Well, it's nothing like going to jail, I can tell you that."
During an early script reading with the cast and crew, Schrader describes a defining moment for her character Tara, an actress. "Rejection is formative for an actress," he explains. Her retort reminds the film's mostly male inner-circle who they're talking too. She knows rejection, but she also knows incarceration. It's a moment of d-ck-slinging that Lohan wins.
"How about Jared?"
The director asks the cast if they have any ideas who should play the small role of an aging psychiatrist in the film. Lohan, who holds a script with crossed-out names of her own co-stars replaced with her personal casting choices, pipes up with a suggestion. She wants Jared Leto to play the part of the shrink. Eyes roll.
"I've missed this so much...I'm in a good place now. I mean it's Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader! It's a dream. When it's done, I want to go somewhere far away, maybe Africa. Uganda? But right now all I want to do is work, work."
Lohan's incessant smoke breaks between rehearsals are the few times the guarded actress opens up to the Times' Rodrick. From the very first day she arrived on set and realized he'd be reporting on the process, her publicist made a stink. "I don't want this to be all about Lindsay being late," her rep told the Times. "Actresses are always late." Lindsay is really late a lot. At times she doesn't show up at all.
"Sorry, Paul, I guess you'll have to fire me again."
Lohan was fired from "The Canyons" early on in the production. She canceled one rehearsal with her co-star and director and then was a no-show for a rescheduled rehearsal. Schrader, a gruff director who is no less histrionic than his star, cut the actress loose before he started shooting. That night, she banged on his hotel door screaming, crying and begging for forgiveness. She rattled off text messages and wept so loudly the hotel's staff had to investigate. "Go home, Lindsay," Schrader ruthlessly yelled to the actress through his closed door. But after comparing Lohan's screen-test with that of an actress being considered to replace her, Lohan was re-hired her. She's that good.
"I hope you got my triple chin on that one...That shot was hideous."
Watching daily footage Lohan was preoccupied with her looks. In one scene she insisted on wearing heavy make-up despite an incongruity with her character--she's trying to re-brand her Lohan look. She also had a tremendous amount of creative sway on the set--not necessarily because her opinion was the best, but because, in Rodrick's estimation, there were only so many battles worth fighting.
"That was great! Want to do it again?"
In one scene, James Deen's character is required to beat Lohan's Tara. The actor was tamer than both Lohan and Schrader would have liked. So Schrader, frighteningly, showed Deen how it's done. He roughly slammed her on the floor so hard the crew was taken aback. Lohan's response: See above.
"Well, I've got a lot of experience with that from my dad."
After filming the violent scene, a crew member praised her work. Lohan, by then smoking another cigarette, credited her troubled childhood.
"That's unprofessional to treat your director like that. Just very disrespectful."
According to Rodrick, Lohan didn't love working with Deen. It's unclear what exactly dissatisfied her about his performance though an argument with Schrader suggested she feared he'd get all the accolades from critics when the movie came out. During shooting she reprimanded the actor--who had never made non-pornographic movie before--for being, in her estimation, unprofessional.
"I've got one assistant passed out at my house and the other one in the Palisades saying he wants to hang himself. Life's great."
Another smoke break revelation from Lohan on the set. She is usually surrounded by personal staffers. According to Schrader--who seemed to understand Lohan like a dysfunctional, abusive father--her biggest downfall isn't her addiction to alcohol or drugs. It's her addiction to the chaos of constant company.
"There was a line in the 'Elizabeth' movie where she says, 'I'm so bored, I've never been taught what to do when I'm not working,' and I'm kind of figuring that out now."
Despite multiple references to the previous character she played, Elizabeth Taylor, Lohan appears to take after Marilyn Monroe's bursting star. Schrader even compares "The Canyons" to Monroe's last film--an on-set disaster, but a classic in retrospect.
"I don't want to take a while off, I want to keep working."
If you ever wondered why Lohan doesn't just leave L.A. and start a new life out of the spotlight, it's because she won't let herself. Despite her earlier desire to go to Africa after the film's wrap, she changes her mind by the end of the shoot. She just wants to be in the game at all costs.
"The minibar is empty. Now that's interesting!"
Lindsay's drinking was no secret on the set. A particularly debaucherous night, according to Rodrick, got its start after a very difficult day on set. It was the foursome sex scene between Lohan, Deen and two porn stars. Lohan locked herself in her dressing room with her assistant speaking on her behalf to Schrader. After refusing to shoot the scene, Schrader decided to take off all his clothes, to make his star more comfortable. Somehow, this worked. Later Rodrick claimed she drove off into the night with a mini-bar in her stomach, though Lohan now fiercely denies drinking and driving.
"Look, we can shoot at the Grove, and we can get it for free...We'll have 'Access Hollywood' pay for it. They'll film it, I'll answer three questions about the movie and then they'll pay for it. It's really easy...You just have to know how to work it."
For all her irresponsible moments, Lohan has a producer's brain. "The Canyons" small budget presented challenges when it came to location scouting. Lohan came up with a plan to exploit her own celebrity in exchange for a free location. Her suggestion was passed over, but it showed her commitment to the film and her ability to manipulate her own infamy.
"I can't cry. I've got make-up on."
If there was ever a line worth remembering--a "We'll always have Paris"-- that sums up everything there is to know about your tragic hero, it's this one. In the article, she said it as an afterthought in response to Rodrick's comment on her genuine acting ability. Perhaps the surprise of an understanding admirer spurred emotion, or maybe it triggered the memory of missed opportunities. But maybe, she was channeling her gift for knowing what everyone wants to hear and giving it to them--defiantly.
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