Lifetime announced yesterday that after months of talks, Lindsay Lohan has signed on to play Elizabeth Taylor in the network’s original movie “Liz & Dick,” about Taylor’s tumultuous relationship with Richard Burton, who she married and divorced twice. It’s a bold casting choice, if also a queasily calculated one. Any Lohan announcement’s bound to get a lot of attention, but the actress has also been back in the tabloids lately with rumors of partying and nightclub altercations, which makes the idea of her playing a hard-drinking, paparazzi-stalked, health problem-prone screen icon falling into a notoriously fiery, violently troubled relationship uncomfortably on the nose.
Barring any complications that arise, “Liz & Dick” (which is being written by Christopher Monger, of “Temple Grandin” and “The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain”) will start shooting in June. In the press release, Lifetime programming VP Rob Sharenow claims that Lohan “is one of the rare actresses who possesses the talent, beauty and intrigue to capture the spirit of such a provocative icon.” And, it goes unsaid, the reputation. Whether through stunt-casting, personal interest or general morbidity, Lohan’s been attached to channel several other famous, troubled women in her short but highly publicized career. Three more:
Lohan was originally slated to play the wife to poet Dylan Thomas in John Maybury’s 2008 “The Edge of Love.” Sienna Miller eventually stepped in to take on the role of the bohemian spouse (the poet, no demure flower himself, once described his chaotic marriage “raw, red bleeding meat”) after Lohan proved problematic due to insurance reasons.
Lohan’s long been obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, the peak of her interest in the star occurring in 2008 when she recreated Monroe’s last shoot at the Hotel Bel-Air with photographer Bert Stern, the man who’d taken the original photos. As Amanda Fortini wrote in New York magazine, where the photos were published, “one wonders whether Lohan’s participation in this project, given all the spooky parallels, isn’t the photographic equivalent of moving into a haunted house.” Lohan was reportedly going to play Monroe in a sketch when she hosted “Saturday Night Live” last month, but it ended up getting cut.
Lohan was slated to play the pornographic actress in “Inferno” — not to be confused with “Lovelace,” a competing biopic due out this year from directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman with Amanda Seyfried in the title role. Set up to be one of what have been many potential comebacks for Lohan, the project wasn’t able to come together due, once again, to issues of insurance as well as other things. Lohan was dropped from the film in 2010 and replaced by Malin Akerman, who told the Hollywood Reporter yesterday that “Inferno” was still in financial limbo and whether it will ever happen is uncertain.