A succession of incidents during which she almost destroyed her own career turned Lindsay Lohan into a tabloid star who spent more time in rehab than on a film set. But now the bad times are apparently over: the sunny red-haired girl with the charisma of a true film star is set to appear in The Shadow Within
Lindsay Lohan’s career in show business began when she was barely 3 years old. her parents secured her a contract with Ford Models, and from that moment forwards she shouldered an adult’s workload – a fact which the tabloid press has tended to ignore. she shot hundreds of advertising clips and played in her first TV series at the age of 10. But her screen career took off when she was given a role in a Disney family comedy.
In The parent Trap (1998) Lindsay played two twin sisters who go to extreme lengths to reunite their divorced parents. scenes where the sisters had to appear together were shot twice, with Lindsay playing first one sister and then the other, painstakingly memorizing all her lines and gestures from the first take. nancey Mayers, the film’s director, said she was amazed to see such professionalism in an 11-year-old. Lindsay’s real-life parents, however, failed to live up to this Disney template: for their marriage there was no happy end. Lindsay’s father frequently disappeared from the family home, was always getting into scrapes, dabbled in drugs, and was inclined to use his fists when rightly taken to task by his wife.
Parent Trap performed well at the box office and led to further Disney films for Lindsay. in 2003 she starred in Freaky Friday, a ‘body-swapping’ hit in which she had to play a grown-up (her mother) in the body of a schoolgirl – a task which she carried off brilliantly, perhaps because, in spite of her lack of years, she already understood very well the meaning of work and responsibility. But it was in her next film, Mean Girls (2004), that she really showed what she was worth. she played cady, a girl who, when she goes to ordinary school for the first time after living for most of her childhood in Africa, finds herself immersed in a world of teenage cruelty. initially naive, she soon becomes a hardened bitch competing with the school’s acknowledged ‘queen bee’. Mean Girls was a major hit, largely thanks to excellent acting from Lindsay.
But success has its downside. now established as a celebrity, Lindsay soon found herself up to her neck in celebrity problems. she was followed everywhere she went by paparazzi, one of whom caused an accident when he got so close to Lindsay’s car that he rammed it. Lindsay was irritated by the press, but if for some reason they were absent she would begin to think no one was interested in her any longer. her condition during this period was mercilessly described by Vanity Fair:
“She behaved like any starlet confronted with that odd combination of loneliness, being constantly in the public eye, and sudden wealth. she started shopping like a Trump wife, dropping $100,000 a day, and going clubbing with celebrity friends such as paris hilton or the olsen sisters.” it was then that Lindsay began using cocaine.
She also suffered serious disappointment in love when she split up with Wilmer Valderrama, her partner in the film Death Race. next, she ended up in rehab, which led to Disney taking urgent action to remove her from the posters for the film. These contretemps were then crowned by the Golden Raspberry she was awarded as worst actress.
Lindsay Lohan was now an ex-starlet; she could easily have disappeared from the scene, but at this moment she was noticed by Robert Altman. in his final film, A prairie home companion, Lindsay played a damaged teenager who composes songs about suicide. This was followed by Bobby (2006), where her character decides to marry a school friend to save him having to serve in Vietnam, only for this selfsacrifice to bloom into true feeling. Lindsay started to get noticed by serious critics: she was no longer a Disney doll playing pretty cheerleaders. Meryl Streep said of her:
“She has a rare quality which not every actor has: she is able to look absolutely natural in front of a camera.”
In Georgia Rule (2009), in which she starred alongside Jane Fonda, Lindsay put her heart and soul into her role as an uncontrollable broken young girl whom the locals in a provincial town see as a jumped-up slut (a reputation which she herself does nothing to dispel, answering questions about her age with an impudent, “i’m already legal!”).
In 2012, after a long pause during which she continued making all her famous mistakes, Lindsay returned to the TV screen as Elizabeth Taylor in Liz and Dick. Lindsay as Liz has the following memorable monologue:
“Ever since i was 9, i’ve always been in films. i really have no idea what people do when they’re not working.” This cri de coeur is strikingly similar to something which Lohan herself said in an interview: “i don’t even know what it’s like not to work. it seems to me that if i take a break, i’ll go mad.” so as not to preserve her sanity, Lindsay is now keen to once more take on a heavy workload: “i read scripts every day. i’m always on the phone to my agents. i simply want to be on a film set: that’s where i’m safest.”
Sooner or later, this strategy should bear fruit, bringing shame on all those ill-wishers who have been interested in Lindsay the tabloid-fodder rather than Lindsay the brilliant actress.