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On working with Lohan: Not for the faint of heart

Mike Krumboltz
Movie Talk
January 10, 2013

Ever find yourself dealing with somebody difficult at work, and then say to yourself, "Well, at least I don't have to make a movie with Lindsay Lohan"? According to a new article from The New York Times, the notorious actress is, well, challenging and impossible to control. But despite the drama that surrounds her, Lohan knows how to charm, improvise, and, yes, act.

The fascinating piece, written by Stephen Rodrick after being on set during the filming of indie flick "The Canyons," starring Lohan and adult film star James Deen, offers up plenty of awesome anecdotes of what it's like to work with the force of nature that is Hurricane Lindsay.

At the film's first table read, it was apparent that rough waters lay ahead. After Lohan showed up late, "Schrader gave her an impatient paternal look and then started talking about the film. But [writer Brett Easton] Ellis and [costar Nolan] Funk were distracted. Across the table, Funk could see that his name had been crossed out in Lohan's script and underneath were the names of three or four actors as possible replacements. Ellis saw that Deen's name also had a line through it."

It probably isn't a surprise to hear that Lohan isn't the most punctual person in Hollywood. She repeatedly showed up to work late, and, in the process, gave director Paul Schrader plenty to fume about. A few days into shooting, he fired her. She then stormed his hotel and sobbed in the hallway for 90 minutes. He later rehired her, but little did he know the fun was just beginning. In one memorable instance, Lady Gaga checked into the same hotel that Lohan was staying at during filming. The following morning, the film's producer, Braxton Pope, was in a panic. "Lindsay was out with Lady Gaga till 5:30 a.m. Her call was 6 a.m." Lohan eventually did make it to the set, albeit looking a bit worse for the wear.

Lohan and her assistants engaged in a jail break of sorts at one point during filming. Schrader asked co-producer Ricky Horne Jr. to go with the group to lunch to make sure they made it back in time and stayed out of trouble. But while the car was stopped at a gate, the group jumped from the co-producer's car and ran to one Lohan's assistants'. "Horne sat, baffled for a moment, before heading back up the hill and briefing Schrader. The director was furious."

And then there was the film itself. "The Canyons" is a microbudget film, funded partially by Kickstarter. With a budget of just around $250,000, Schrader had to pinch every penny (though that didn't stop Lohan from racking up a $600 sushi bill). The film, which focuses on a sordid relationship between Lohan's Tara and Deen's Christian, includes nudity, (lots of) sex, and violence. While Lohan had agreed to the film's script, when it came time to film one of the more risqué scenes, she balked and stayed in her dressing room.

That's when the 66-year-old Schrader decided to strip off his own clothes in a show of solidarity with his high drama star. It would have been weird, except that the stunt worked. "Lohan dropped her robe. Schrader shouted action, and they filmed the scene in one 14-minute take."

Lohan had plenty of thoughts on the filming and cinematography. After one shot she apparently disapproved of, she said, "I hope you got my triple chin on that one… That shot was hideous." She's also not a fan of director Oliver Stone. When she saw a magazine with Stone on it, she ripped it to pieces, because he didn't cast her in "The Savages."

In another memorable moment, Lohan showed off her ability to improvise off camera. While filming at a local mall, Lohan attracted members of the paparazzi. Worried that their presence might tip off mall security (they didn't have the mall's permission to shoot), she made a deal with the photogs. She'd pose for a few snaps, but then they had to leave them alone. It worked. Well, almost. They ended up getting kicked out of the mall anyway (and a photographer did break his promise and take more photos), but, hey, we give Lohan credit for trying.

As difficult as she apparently was, Lohan showed a gallows humor. At one point, she said, "I've got one assistant passed out at my house and the other one in the Palisades saying he wants to hang himself. Life's great." And there was this telling moment: While discussing her character -- a failed actress -- Schrader said, "Rejection for an actress is formative," to which Lohan replied, "Well, it's nothing like going to jail, I can tell you that."

"The Canyons" is scheduled to open sometime in 2013, which is a miracle, all things considered.

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