The New York Times followed the entire production of The Canyons from start to finish. The article focused mainly on the antics of Lindsay Lohan and how difficult she was the work with. Here are a few things I’ve learned about Lindsay being a professional.
Lindsay will attempt to set the terms even though she has absolutely no leverage
“Hi, how are you? I won’t play Cynthia. I want to play Tara, the lead.” Braxton Pope and Paul Schrader nod happily. They’d been tipped off by her agent that this was how it was going to go. They tell her that sounds like a great idea.
Schrader goes over some ground rules; no trailers on set and one contractually obligated, four-way sex scene. Oh, another thing, Schrader adds: he will not try to sleep with her. This was probably a more relevant point in 1982, but no matter. Lohan stands up and says goodbye, telling everyone how excited she is to be working with them. She leaves the restaurant, followed by her mother and the mysterious man with the presents.
Things will start out great
Lohan helped her cause by agreeing to a screen test. You could see playing Tara wouldn’t be a stretch for her. The large green eyes that read cute a decade ago now conveyed cornered desperation. Of course, casting two known quantities blew up the anyone-can-win, D.I.Y. ethos of the project, but nobody asked for his money back.
But that won’t last
A few months after the Chateau Marmont meeting, the cast gathered at Prettybird studios in Culver City for the first read-through of the script. At the head of the table was Schrader, with Ellis to his left. Pope sat at the far end. The actors filtered in and took their seats. There was just one missing: Lohan.
Until she’s threatened
Schrader welcomed everyone and then opened with: “Lindsay said she couldn’t make it today, and I told her that was fine, but I have an actress in Paris waiting by the phone.” He paused, and the room tittered. “She’s on her way.”
She’ll be full of optimism after feeling the initial rush of working again
“I’ve missed this so much,” she said between puffs. Her voice was a nicotine-soaked rasp. “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.”
But this is Lindsay so of course she’ll self-destruct
Filming was scheduled to start in less than a week, so Schrader arranged for Deen and Lohan to meet him at Prettybird to map out the movie’s sex scenes. Lohan canceled the first day but promised she’d be there the next morning, a Sunday. She never showed. Schrader and Pope texted and left messages on her phone. There was no answer. Schrader thought about what he should do.
That’s when you have to threaten her again
Right now, he had the upper hand; there really was an actress waiting in Paris. But once they started shooting, he’d lose the power. Lohan could hold the entire production hostage. So he fired her.
She’ll cry and cry and beg to be given another chance
He went back to his room at the Orlando Hotel in Beverly Hills and left it to Pope to deliver the bad news. Pope finally reached Lohan, telling her she was done. Lohan began to cry and begged for another chance. Pope told her that Schrader had made up his mind.
Lohan headed for the Orlando. She pounded on doors until she found Schrader’s room. As she banged on his door, she texted him manically. Schrader could hear her crying but wouldn’t let her in. He texted her instead.
Because it’s Hollywood, they give in
Eventually, the director called Pope and asked him to gather everyone at Prettybird to watch Lohan’s and the French actress’s screen tests again. Everyone agreed that Lohan was exponentially better. Schrader decided he’d give her one more chance.
Things will be good again
The next day, Lohan arrived relatively on time for a makeup test. She sat behind a table with a can of Sprite, looked into the camera and flashed a wholesome smile that would not have been out of place in the world’s best soda commercial.
Until she decides that’s not who she is
Horne drove them down the hill, pausing at a security gate. That’s when his passengers did a jailbreak, jumping out of his car. Honig frantically pushed buttons until the gate opened and the four of them dashed for Lohan’s assistant’s car. Horne sat, baffled for a moment, before heading back up the hill and briefing Schrader. The director was furious.
At least she keeps it real
Deen nodded, but Schrader wasn’t convinced. So he grabbed Lohan, tripped her over his left leg and body-slammed her to the floor. Lohan screamed, and the crew gasped. But she bounced up with a smile.
“That was great! Want to do it again?”
Like any girl, she’s still nervous about shooting a four-way
Another hour passed, and Lohan eventually moved to the bed but wouldn’t remove her robe. Schrader worried that the early-morning sunlight would begin streaming through the house. He thought of sending everyone home. But then he realized that there was one thing he hadn’t yet tried. He stripped off all of his clothes. Naked, he walked toward Lohan
“Lins, I want you to be comfortable. C’mon, let’s do this.”
She’s also kind of a b*tch
The two stepped outside and talked for a minute and came back in with sheepish grins. (Later Deen told me, “We yelled at each other because we couldn’t yell at the person we both wanted to yell at.”) Lohan shook her head disapprovingly at Deen.
“That’s unprofessional to treat your director like that. Just very disrespectful.”
Lindsay is also always up for a party
That’s when things started to get really weird. Lady Gaga was now staying at the Chateau, and that wasn’t great news for “The Canyons.” Lohan missed her morning call, and then she left the shoot for lunch with friends, running up a $600 tab on sushi, sake and vodka.
“I don’t think she gets it,” Pope said. “Six hundred dollars is huge on this movie. That’s six guys’ pay for the day.”
The next morning, Lohan was scheduled to shoot at Café Med, a West Hollywood restaurant. But when I arrived, Pope was on the verge of panic.
“Lindsay was out with Lady Gaga till 5:30 a.m. Her call was 6 a.m.”
By 9 a.m., Lohan was lying down in a Café Med booth with her hands over her eyes shading them from imaginary sunlight. The production had the restaurant only until 11. Schrader paced, breathing heavily.
And she’s always full of excuses
A doctor arrived and took Lohan’s blood pressure. He walked over to Pope and Schrader. His diagnosis: An inner-ear infection. She was done for the day. Schrader didn’t buy it.
“That’s her doctor, he’ll say whatever she wants. I shot one day from a stretcher. She could do it, but she doesn’t want to.”
So what did we learn about Lindsay from this? Absolutely nothing we already didn’t. She’s the same person she always is and incapable of change as long as she’s surrounded by people who let her get away with whatever she wants. The most professional thing she did was sort of show up on time.