Lindsay Lohan’s film project following Liz & Dick is a L.A. Noir film called The Canyons, a movie directed by Paul Schrader (wrote Taxi Driver) and written by Bret Easton Ellis (wrote American Psycho.) Writer Stephen Rodrick published a piece in The New York Times Magazine that detailed what process was like for Lindsay and the filmakers. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a walk in the park.
The project had an extremely small shoe-string budget, about $250,000, with Lindsay agreeing to receive only $100-a-day and an equal share of the profits with no decision-making. Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader has each put up $30,000 of their own money for the project, and need it to succeed. Ellis wasn’t happy about casting Lindsay, but they didn’t have a lot of choices with their budget situation.
Other conditions of Lindsay’s contract included a mandatory four-way sex scene with porn stars, no trailers allowed on set, and a spoken guarantee that Schrader would not try to sleep with her.
They did have other options for her part, when Lindsay missed a meeting because she said she had been up late and taken a sleeping pill, Schrader told Lindsay that had an actress in Paris ready to take over Lindsay’s part. She then showed up at Schrader’s hotel begging by screaming, pounding, and incessant texting. She was ignored, and spent 90 minuts sobbing in the hallway before she left. After her screen test was compared to the French actress, Lindsay’s was deemed to be superior, and they decided to go forward with her.
There were first signs of trouble on Lindsay’s second meeting with the director. She complained in great detail about her Liz & Dick director, leading Schrader to tell her “That’s going to be me in two months. You’re going to turn on me.” He chose to believe her when she responded with “C’mon, Paul. That won’t happen.”
In the end, Schrader rationalized: “We don’t have to save her. We just have to get her through three weeks in July.”
Part of them making it through three weeks in July involved the 65-year-old director stripping naked before Lindsay to get her to comply with her four-way sex scene. Once nearly everyone on set was naked, Lindsay stripped down.
There were intermittent problems and moods during filming, with Lindsay often showing up late, but never missing a day. Then she started hanging out with Lady Gaga at the Chateau Marmont, and she started showing up hungover and missing days over an “inner ear infection.”
Rodrick also witnessed Lindsay being drunk on set, most notably the day of her sex scene, but he also lauded her acting, especially when it came to a scene where she was supposed to cry.
All that remained was to get a close-up of Deen touching Lohan’s face with a blood-streaked finger. Only half of Lohan’s face would be in the shot. Most actresses would pop in some Visine to well their eyes with tears and be done with it. Instead, Lohan went back to her room, and everyone waited.
I was standing by her door, and soon I could hear her crying. It began quietly, almost a whimper, but rose to a guttural howl. It was the sobbing of a child lost in the woods.
She came out of her room, and I watched the shot on a monitor. Now, without the garish makeup, Lohan looked sadly beautiful, and it was easy to see why men like Schrader were willing to put their lives in her hands.
The movie itself was rejected by Sundance, and from the trailer below, the problems with budgets and timing really show: