Lindsay Lohan wasn’t on her best behavior while filming “The Canyons,” but director Paul Schrader apparently thought the hassle was worth it. In an essay written for Film Comment, Schrader claims that Lohan was incredibly similar to Marilyn Monroe in an array of positive and negative ways.
“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,” he writes. “[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.”
While Monroe has been put on a pedestal in our pop culture and Lohan has been repeatedly decried, both troubled and tortured starlets have been compared many times over the years. LiLo recreated Monroe’s nude photo shoot for New York magazine, commented on Monroe’s impact in an HBO documentary and even had Megan Fox note their similarities.
“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,” Schrader writes. “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.”
He adds, “Like Monroe, [Lohan’s] 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.”