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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Crime

Lindsay Lohan 'not really happy' to be in rehab, says 'Inferno' director

October 22, 2010 | 11:30 am

Getprev1 When Matthew Wilder, the director of the Linda Lovelace biopic “Inferno,” cast Lindsay Lohan in the film’s leading role earlier this year, he had no idea what he was getting into.

“Did I have an idea it would take all these turns? No. I thought we were in the closing chapter of all this stuff,” Wilder said Friday, referring to the 24-year-old’s infamous antics, which have recently included drug relapses and brief jail and rehab stints.

A Beverly Hills judge has now ordered the actress to remain at the Betty Ford Center until Jan. 3. She could have been sentenced again to jail for violating the terms of her probation in a 2007 drunk-driving case, but instead must now continue treatment at the Rancho Mirage-based rehab facility, which she voluntarily checked into in late September.

Wilder said he has been in constant contact with Lohan during her stay at Betty Ford.

“I know that she’s not really happy to be there. She says, ‘I’m not at a spa,’ ” the filmmaker said. “People say that place is pretty nice and it’s not a real rehab, that she needs a boot camp. But from the way she describes it, it doesn’t sound like incredible fun. I know that she says there’s a lot of free time there in between the stuff that they do.”

As for her state of mind, Wilder described Lohan as “very clear and cool, and not freaking out at all –- not flipping out. Like, very even.”

The two frequently discuss casting decisions for “Inferno,” he said, though no other actors have been officially decided upon yet. Production on the film has been moved from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and Wilder hopes to be able to shoot the film after Lohan is released from rehab in January. It should be completed, he hopes, by her next court date -- Feb. 25.

The director said Lohan has had plenty of time to rehearse for her role in “Inferno” over the last few months, and doesn’t worry about her mental clarity.

“The corollary to all of this is that when you have stuff like this going on, it makes you want to dive into work more, rather than wallowing in the bad,” he said. “People say to me, ‘Don’t you think it’s awful having someone do all this with all the turbulence in their life?’ And I think it’s better to really pull all of this stuff out of you, rather than doing some romantic comedy and having to be cute.”

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Lindsay Lohan exits her probation violation hearing at Beverly Hills Courthouse on Friday. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

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'Conviction' and Hilary Swank draw fire from slain woman's family

October 14, 2010 |  1:27 pm

Getprev Hilary Swank has called "Conviction," the Fox Searchlight film she stars in, a "feel-good" story.

But apparently, there's nothing about the movie, which hits theaters Friday, that makes Melrose and Charles Brow feel good. They're the children of Katharina Brow, a diner waitress who was found stabbed to death in her trailer home in 1980. A local troublemaker named Kenny Waters was charged with her murder, and spent 18 years in prison. But he was released after his sister, Betty Anne Waters, brought to light DNA evidence that proved his innocence. Subsequently, no one has been charged with Katharina Brow's murder.

That's the real-life story that's told in "Conviction," in which Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, a single mother who put herself through law school to help her brother.

On Thursday, Brow's children held a news conference with their lawyer, Gloria Allred, to express their disappointment that they had not been contacted by the "Conviction" filmmakers or by Swank, who executive produced the film.

"We are angry and disappointed that in the making of the film, neither executive producer Hilary Swank nor anyone else connected to the film ever contacted us to see how we would feel about the fact that our mother’s murder is the basis for events which transpired as a result of her tragedy," Melrose Brow said.

She and her brother have requested a meeting with Swank, during which Brow says she would like to ask the actress a number of questions, including why the movie was made and how the film's profits will be used.

“I want to find out what the movie’s made and, as the profits come in, if they’ll use those profits to help us with trying to find out who the perpetrator is,” Brow said in an interview after the news conference. She and her family are not seeking compensation, but would like money to go toward a search for the killer, she said.

Fox Searchlight did not respond to an immediate request for comment. Swank's representative said the actress had no comment.

The Brow family has not had the opportunity to see "Conviction" yet because they have not been invited to any private screenings before its release, Allred said. Katharina Brow's murder, although the impetus for the film's plot, does not occupy much of the movie itself. In the film, after she is slain, Brow is shown in a mildly graphic scene, bloodied and sprawled across a floor. But little else is revealed about her in the movie.

In a recent interview, Swank said she had prepared diligently for "Conviction." She traveled to the East Coast to visit Waters, who drove Swank through her hometown of Ayer, Mass., pointing out "where she lived, where her trailer was, where she used to eat, the candy store she used to steal from," the actress recalled.

Swank said she took the responsibility of portraying the Waters family accurately on screen seriously. 

"I wouldn’t be able to live with myself [if] I somehow didn’t portray the story in a way that [Betty Anne] felt reflected her story," Swank said. "I was at the premiere with her in Toronto, and I don’t want the credits to roll and have her look at me and go, 'What are you thinking? That’s not how it happened at all.' So it’s an enormous responsibility. You can't take a lot of liberty with the storytelling."

--Amy Kaufman
Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Hilary Swank. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


Will 'Inferno' smolder without Lindsay Lohan?

September 19, 2010 |  2:00 am

Getprev When a judge ruled earlier this summer that Lindsay Lohan would be forced to spend time in jail and rehab, the filmmaker behind her next movie sounded unfazed.

"Not moving on, not recasting, not under any circumstances," Matthew Wilder, the director of the Linda Lovelace biopic "Inferno," said in July.

Last month, Lohan finished up her time early -- she spent less than two weeks of her 90-day sentence behind bars and under a month in rehab, where she was initially sent for 90 days. But now word comes that she has failed at least one court-ordered drug test.

And it sounds like Wilder may be starting to change his tune about waiting for Lohan no matter what.

"Let's see what the judge says," the director wrote in an e-mail Saturday morning, alluding to an upcoming hearing during which it will be decided if Lohan must head back to jail. She has been subject to random drug tests twice weekly since her release from a UCLA rehab facility in August. If she missed a drug test, or a test had a positive result, she could face 30 additional days in jail, according to this L.A. Times report.

"Inferno" had been scheduled to begin shooting in November in Louisiana, and Wilder said he had spent the last week "getting department heads" and "pulling together the other casting." The producers of "Inferno" weren't taking news of another possible delay in production altogether well, he said: "People aren't ... like ... overly enthused!"

Still, he and the film's financial backers have yet to give up on the troubled starlet.

"Our financier is actually surprisingly sanguine under the circumstances," Wilder said.

Early Saturday, Lohan took to her Twitter account to admit she had indeed failed a drug test.

"This was certainly a setback for me but I am taking responsibility for my actions and I'm prepared to face the consequences," she wrote.

"Substance abuse is a disease," she said, one which she is taking "positive steps" to "overcome."

Despite that proclamation, Wilder said Lohan's focus was still on "Inferno." Asked if the actress was still committed to the project, he replied: "Why would failing a drug test make her uncommitted?" 

-- Amy Kaufman
Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Lindsay Lohan's booking photo at Lynwood Correctional Facility in July. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / Getty Images.

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T.I.: 'I'm a nice guy by nature'

September 3, 2010 |  9:00 am

Ti We awoke Thursday morning to the news that T.I., the rapper/actor currently starring in heist film “Takers,” had been arrested hours before in West Hollywood on drug possession charges. He and his wife, Tameka “Tiny Cottle,” were pulled over by sheriff’s deputies who say they “smelled marijuana coming from their vehicle during a traffic stop,” according to L.A. Now. After searching the car, the cops found a controlled substance -– “pills resembling Ecstasy” -– and arrested the couple.

As we heard this, we flashed back to our own ride with the Atlanta resident in Los Angeles just weeks before. We had been scheduled to interview T.I. for his new film at the posh hotel he was staying at, the Montage in Beverly Hills. But no sooner had we arrived than T.I. called his team to let them know there’d been a change in plans: He had just left a meeting with producer Brian Grazer, and had now been invited to meet with Brett Ratner at the director’s Benedict Canyon mansion. Would we mind tagging along?

So we jumped in a car with T.I., his publicist, security personnel and driver to head over to Ratner’s house. (It wasn't the pricey Maybach that T.I. was arrested in late Wednesday, but rather a big black SUV. And there certainly wasn't any odor of marijuana or anything else untoward.)

We had asked T.I. how he viewed his role in "Takers" -- he plays Ghost, a thief recently released from prison who's trying to get back in good with his former posse of bank robbers. -- and he said he found it difficult to relate to the character. “I’m a nice guy by nature, you know what I’m sayin’?” he told us. “I’m accommodating. I’m a nurturer. Protector. Provider. You know, so, I mean, I just — certain things, I just can’t see myself doing.”

Wednesday’s arrest is not good news for the Grammy-winning rapper. He has been on probation since December, when he was released from a federal prison in Arkansas after spending about seven months there for charges related to purchasing machine guns and silencers.  The new charges may also prove to be negative for Screen Gems, the studio behind “Takers,” which is entering its second weekend at the box office. In its opening weekend, the film narrowly beat out “The Last Exorcism” for the No. 1 spot, with a $20.5-million tally. Then again, it is keeping the star of the Screen Gem movie in the news.

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: T.I. poses at the Montage Hotel on Aug. 23. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times.

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