We look at what's going on behind the scenes of the troubled starlet and her newest movie

By Sean Smith
Updated August 09, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

Brace yourself: Lindsay Lohan may not be a lost cause. After more than five years of courts and car wrecks and jail stints and failed probations and a seemingly endless splatter of tabloid drama, the 27-year-old actress finally had a good week. She completed rehab, guest-hosted an episode of Chelsea Lately, and sat down for an in-depth interview with Oprah Winfrey, scheduled to air Aug. 18 on OWN. Plus, her performance in the new cerebral soft-core film The Canyons has generated some strongly positive reviews. Not bad, right? But it’s not a comeback. Not yet. ”She needs a stretch of consistency,” says one high-ranking studio executive, who believes it will take one or two years of solid work (and zero scandals) before Hollywood trusts Lohan again. ”She’s got talent, so if she can exorcise those self-destructive parts of herself and get some momentum with decent roles, I think it can happen.” Her Canyons director, Paul Schrader, thinks so too — but with a caveat. ”It’s really on her,” he says. ”There is no doubt about her charisma, [but] she has such a track record of unreliability. If she can turn that reputation around…”

Of course, those are all pretty big ifs. Lohan has a habit of muffing second (and third and fourth) chances. The Canyons, a reported $250,000 film written by novelist Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho), was made outside the Hollywood system and funded by Kickstarter and the filmmakers themselves. To generate publicity, Schrader gave The New York Times Magazine unfettered access to the set. Schrader sold the idea to Lohan this way: ”I said, ‘Lindsay, this could be f— ing great for you,”’ he says. ”’They’re going to see how punctual, how reliable you can be and put to death this notion that you are unprofessional.’ I thought it would work out wonderfully for her, but it just didn’t.”

That’s an understatement. The article, ”Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie,” detailed a litany of bad Lohan behavior and reinforced the narrative that the actress is a total pain in the posterior. ”The problems detailed in that piece were, to a degree, exaggerated,” Ellis says. ”Yes, all of those occurred, but it was, I’d say, a five- to six-day period over 22 days of shooting. The movie came in on budget and on schedule. She didn’t mess it up.”

Also working in Lindsay’s favor: Hollywood seldom holds a grudge. ”People like to forgive,” says producer Lati Grobman, who worked with Lohan on the 2009 film Labor Pains and says she would happily do it again. ”I mean, listen, I think one day we’ll [even] forgive Mel Gibson. And I’m Israeli.”

The Canyons

  • Movie
  • 99 minutes
  • Paul Schrader