24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Lindsay Lohan

The Lindsay Lohan maelstrom, pulling filmmakers into its currents

May 5, 2010 |  6:27 pm

As Lindsay Lohan's tabloid troubles continue to create a vortex of disaster, there's one type of personality dragged into Lohan's troubles that doesn't get much ink: the directors who've had to work with (or around) her.

Perhaps no one better embodies an instance of Lohan collateral damage  than Chris Sivertson. A young genre director who showed nothing but promise after his gritty thriller "The Lost" drew a slew of accolades a few years ago, Sivertson found himself in movie jail after the release of his next film, "I Know Who Killed Me," which starred Lohan.

Loh You can't blame studios for not wanting to give Sivertson another shot after "Killed Me," a muddled mush of a mystery about dark secrets, brutal beatings and identical twin sisters.

But you can't blame Sivertson for the mush, either. Lohan, who actually played the two lead roles, built a veritable skyscraper of trouble on the set, with numerous stints in rehab and other breakdowns. A shoot that was supposed to take a little more than a month lasted four months. "Most days we wouldn't know what happened [with her]," Sivertson recalls. "We just found out that day." Forget quality cinema -- it was a Herculean challenge just to get the film made. "At some point it became 'how can I complete the movie.' That was my one and only goal: not to have it fall apart." (Sivertson's general tenor, it should be noted, was that he sincerely liked Lohan and working with her and doesn't want to point fingers at anyone but himself for the final product.)

For his climactic scene, in which Lohan's characters figure prominently, Sivertson didn't have the star on set. He tried to postpone the shoot but finally couldn't delay it anymore. So he located his inner MacGyver: He shot the scene with a body double and then grafted on Lohan's face in post-production.

Actor and Sivertson collaborator Marc Senter, who planned to spend just a weekend on set but got drawn into the drama, noted dryly: "It was an interesting experience" (though he, too, says he genuinely likes Lohan and was touched one day when he walked into her trailer and found the actress watching Sivertson's "The Lost".

The director indeed got through it, but the movie, a mid-budget thriller, flopped, drawing poor reviews and grossing only $7 million.

Sent Now Sivertson is trying to get back in the game. He's written and is getting set to direct an independent drama called "Brawler," about the underground culture of fighting on shipping boats off the coast of New Orleans. Senter will star, as will a fighter-cum-actor named Nathan Grubbs. The story concerns two brothers, both fighters, of different temperaments and styles. Sivertson crafted the story out of the raw material of real-life fighters whom he's spent months hanging out with on the Mississippi.

But after a Lohan-class disaster, it's a twisty road to respectability. Unable to find a studio who was willing to make the movie or the money from an already strapped financing world, Sivertson, Senter and Grubbs rustled up money for the microbudget (it will cost less than $1 million) by going to some wealthy individuals in and around New Orleans.

The movie does seem to have the requisite commercial elements, with mixed martial arts and other types of stylized fighting only gaining in popularity with young audiences. And one gets a genuine sense of enthusiasm from everyone involved with the project. They're getting to make a movie, and on their own terms. Still, had Lohan's life taken a different turn, Sivertson's career might have too.

So would the director have handled the Lohan situation differently, perhaps by not casting a potential source of trouble in the first place?

"I look at an actor who's had a difficult past on a case-by-case basis. A filmmaker just needs to sit down with them more than once and  get to know what their goals and priorities are." One only hopes producers on Lohan's new film make a similar calculus.

--Steven Zeitchik

(Follow me on Twitter.)

Photos: Lindsay Lohan. Credit: Julien M. Hekimian / Getty Images. "The Lost." Credit: Anchor Bay

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.

Producer: Lindsay Lohan will star as Linda Lovelace and ... appear in Cannes?

May 4, 2010 |  7:00 am

LiloAlso see: UPDATE: Lohan movie 'Inferno sets off internal firestorm

The Internet has been abuzz with the rumor that Lindsay Lohan, amid all her trouble, has landed her next acting gig, playing '70's porn star Linda Lovelace in the independent period drama "Inferno."

Like so many Lohan rumors, it's been tricky to separate fact from myth, but late Monday we talked to one of the producers, and he confirmed that Lohan will star in the film.

"Inferno" producer Wali Razaqi told us that Lohan has indeed been cast and that an announcement will be made (no doubt for the benefit of the foreign distributors whose money partly finances such productions) at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. Lohan may appear at the festival as part of that announcement, though we'll believe that part when we see it.

"We've all thought that Lindsay would be a great choice for a while now, and we're all convinced that she is going to do it," Razaqi said. "For at least a year, the director [Matthew Wilder] and I have gone back and forth imagining how awesome of a performance she could give if she was in the movie."

As far as what Lohan will actually be doing in the film, the producer was less forthcoming. He did disclose that Bill Pullman is attached to play Hugh Hefner in the movie, which will be based on the real events of Lovelace's life. The drama will delve into "the difficult stuff she went through and overcame," he said.

"I would say it's probably one of the most challenging roles any actor could play -- and not because of the sexual content, necessarily -- but more because she was so battered and beat up emotionally, that I think it’s gonna take everything Lindsay has to really be able to pull it off," he said. "Not that Lindsay's life is similar in any way -- but she's been through a lot of ups and downs. A lot of times you're loved and then you're hated, and I think she can relate to those emotions and feelings. One week she's the 'it' girl, and the next, she's the 'what are you doing?' girl."

Lohan has been raising eyebrows as of late as she's stayed out all night partying at Hollywood clubs. Her father, Michael Lohan, has made a public plea for his daughter to get help for what he claims is a serious drug problem. But the antics don't worry Razaqi. "I'll tell you this," he said, "if her behavior were a serious concern, I don't think we would have been going after her the way we did."

-- Amy Kaufman

(Follow me on Twitter.)

Photo: Lindsay Lohan. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: