A Tortured Talent

Lindsay Lohan, l’enfant terrible of American cinema, is a real enigma.

A former child model, teen soap opera star and constantly in and out of rehab, she is a very talented actress known for nonconformity and a self-inflicted tortured life.

She’s been in jail on more than one occasion for dangerous driving while inebriated or in a drug-fuelled condition. Her Hollywood career has veered from the sublime to the calamitous, not by reason of her work, but singularly by her inability to marshal her life in a disciplined fashion. Her reckless existence has made her a troublesome and almost uninsurable actress that most directors are in fear of casting, for she seems to bring about invidious problems that culminate in shooting delays and over-running budget allocations.

Her latest drama is her failure to turn up to promote The Canyons at the Venice Film Festival, leaving the movie’s exasperated director in a frenzy. He had to take to the podium to declare that he had been ‘held hostage by the actress for sixteen months’. Paul Schrader said: ‘I’ve been a hostage of my own choosing of a very talented and unpredictable actress. She said she would be here and she’s not.’ Lohan apparently even missed the first day of the three-week shooting schedule, was fired by Schrader and then re-instated.

During filming of a four-way sex scene, written into her contract, the eminent director managed to get Lohan to remove her clothes only by working naked himself.

At certain points in the film Lohan quivers and quakes, almost acting her false eyelashes off. ‘Lindsay is a fearless actress,’ said Schrader, ‘but she has a hard time faking things, so she gets worked up, which is hard for her and those around her.’

Schrader, who made American Gigolo and Cat People earlier in his career, sighed with relief at the press conference and said, ‘At last it’s over.’

The first European screening of the film met with inappropriate laughter, whistles and boos. Like rubber-necking a car crash, The Canyons is compelling with its affected acting, corny pornography and commitment to vacuity. The film budget was only £200,000 and Lohan was paid $100 a day, plus a profit share. No wonder she did not turn up to attend the film screening in Venice.

I must come clean and admit that I am a great fan of Lohan – and besides, she’s my friend on Facebook. No one in my view can deny that she has a magical presence on film and I can only hope that she will overcome her demons and continue to entertain us for many years to come.

Talent is a commodity worthy of the sacrifices one can give.

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