At the beginning of the year, The New York Times released a lengthy exposé of what exactly the hell happens when you cast a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan in your movie. Spoiler alert: It was a trainwreck. One huge, massive trainwreck. Well, almost half a year later to the day, The Canyons director Paul Schrader wrote his own piece about how LiLo is just like Marilyn Monroe. Via Us Weekly …
“Similarities? Tardiness, unpredictability, tantrums, absences, neediness, psychodrama—-yes, all that, but something more, that thing that keeps you watching someone on screen, that thing you can’t take your eyes off of, that magic, that mystery,” writes Schrader, who explores the “LiLo phenomenon” in his piece.
Observes the filmmaker of Lohan and Monroe: “[They both] exist in the space between actors and celebrities, people whose professional and personal performances are more or less indistinguishable. Entertainers understand the distinction.”
A tabloid magnet just like Lohan, Monroe struggled with depression, an unhappy love life and drug abuse for much of her life, and died at age 36 of a drug overdose in 1962. Advises Schrader: “To be successful, a performer controls the balance between the professional and personal, that is, he or she makes it seem like the professional is personal. It is the lack of this control that gives performers like Monroe and Lohan (and others) their unique attraction. We sense that the actress is not performing, that we are watching life itself. We call them ‘troubled,’ ‘tormented,’ ‘train wrecks’ but we can’t turn away. We can’t stop watching.”
Schrader even suggests that Lohan “has more natural acting talent” than the screen icon. “Like Monroe, her weakness is her inability to fake it. She feels she must be experiencing an emotion in order to play it. This leads to all sorts of emotional turmoil, not to mention on-set delays and melodrama. It also leads, when the gods smile, to movie magic.”
And now here’s the part where I over-analyze and start picking apart the reasons why this is kinda uncool: What Schrader just described isn’t “genius” or “talent” so much as it is crippling neuroses and the foundation of severe mental health issues. Granted, Lindsay is getting help and getting better so good for her, but during her problem days, she was really only hurting herself and others around her. Getting attention by any means necessary is not an art form, it’s a mental illness, and treating it as something to be admired is really not okay. I’d much rather see Lindsay lead a long happy life doing respectable if somewhat unremarkable movies than see her immolate herself out of some self-destructive crush for attention.