Can Lindsay Lohan revitalize her once-promising career?

LOS ANGELES -- Lindsay Lohan had just been fired again, and she wasn't taking the news well. "She was really hurt about it, and I felt terrible," said David Michaels, who was set to direct her in a movie called "The Other Side." Michaels made the...

LOS ANGELES -- Lindsay Lohan had just been fired again, and she wasn't taking the news well.

"She was really hurt about it, and I felt terrible," said David Michaels, who was set to direct her in a movie called "The Other Side."

Michaels made the call to his would-be leading lady earlier this spring after investors in the film balked at Lohan's most recent tabloid misadventures.

"Everyone seems to be all about finding what's wrong with her," Michaels said,"and no one seemingly is really reaching out to her and offering her a path to reclaiming what she once had."

What she once had, of course, was promise. A decade ago, Lohan, 24, was considered one of the most talented young actresses of her generation. Her performances in teen comedies such as "The Parent Trap" and "Freaky Friday" earned her comparisons to the likes of Jodie Foster.


"Her talent was undeniable," said Mark Waters, who directed Lohan in 2003's "Freaky Friday" and 2004's "Mean Girls." "I would set out the most difficult obstacle course for her for a scene, and she'd nail it like a floor routine. She was that good."

But since her feature film debut at 11, Lohan has increasingly been recognized for behavior ranging from drug abuse and eating disorders to failed stints in rehab and, most recently, possible probation violations in relation to a 2007 DUI charge.

Her conduct has pummeled her reputation and her career. Those who finance and make movies, wary of her physical and mental health and skeptical of her ability to show up to work on time, if at all, appear increasingly hesitant to risk their money on such a repeat offender.

And although readers may devour tales of her off-screen escapades on celebrity websites and in tabloid magazines, they seem less willing these days to drop $10 for a ticket to one of her movies.

Lohan has not appeared on the big screen since 2007, when her thriller "I Know Who Killed Me," in which she had a dual role as a stripper and a torture victim, flopped. Her 2009 comedy "Labor Pains" debuted on the cable channel ABC Family. She has a small part in the upcoming "Machete," and after being fired from "The Other Side," she was cast as the late porn star Linda Lovelace in a biopic called "Inferno," which has not begun filming.

Yet, there's nothing Hollywood loves more than a good comeback story. Lohan has the sympathy of filmmakers and business partners who say she'd readily be accepted back into the film world, much like former substance abusers Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke, if she could somehow defeat her demons.

But that would require a sense of purpose and discipline that, if a recent jaunt to the Cannes Film Festival is any indication, may still be absent.

When she flew to Cannes in May, she was supposed to be promoting "Inferno," and director Matthew Wilder said Lohan did have meetings with foreign sales executives and others "who, after having met her, put up money" for the film.


Yet, the images that emerged from France were more suited to TMZ than the trade papers. One night, there she was stumbling off a yacht; on another, she posed for a photo next to what looked like a mirror plate covered with white powder.

Back in the States, a Beverly Hills judge reprimanded her for going to Cannes and missing a probation hearing related to an August 2007 case, when she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges and no contest to three driving charges. (Lohan claimed her passport was stolen and said she was unable to get back in time for the court date.) As a result, she was forced to post $100,000 in bail and wear a clumsy ankle bracelet that monitors her alcohol consumption.

Only a couple of weeks later, during a party after the MTV Movie Awards, her bracelet was set off. She's due back in court Tuesday, when she may face up to a year in jail if she is found guilty of violating her probation.

As her bail bondsman was delivering another $100,000 to the court in June as a result of the ankle bracelet violation, Lohan took to her Twitter account to deny she'd consumed alcohol.

In a series of interviews with the Los Angeles Times, many who have worked with Lohan say they saw warning signs even during her early teenage years.

Nina Jacobson, who headed Disney at the time of the "Freaky Friday" release, said the studio immediately saw star potential in the then teenager. Still, Jacobson wanted to make sure Lohan was ready to handle the scrutiny that came with being a Disney poster child.

"I said, 'Are you sure you're prepared to be under the Disney spotlight?'" Jacobson recalled. "And she said she was fine with it. But most people wouldn't be -- it's just an age when you sow your wild oats."

Only a short time after that discussion, when she began shooting 2004's "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," there were "rumbles of what was to come," said the film's director, Sara Sugarman.


"Lindsay was commanding a lot of money and designer clothes, and people were throwing things at her in the formative years," Sugarman said.

But what really troubled Lohan, Sugarman believes, were her deep-seated insecurities. She didn't like that she had red hair or freckles, two trademarks of her endearing image.

Many attribute those self-esteem issues to Lohan's family life, which was, at that point, unraveling.

In 2007, the bad behavior ramped up. Lohan was arrested twice on suspicion of DUI, checked into rehab twice and spent 84 minutes in jail. She also took a huge blow professionally during production of "Georgia Rule," when a letter from producer James Robinson castigating her for her "heavy partying" and acting like a "spoiled child" was leaked.

Lohan is being considered for "The Dry Gulch Kid," an adventure comedy that would co-star Willie Nelson and be produced by his company. Kerry Wallum, a producer on the movie, said he had become interested in casting the actress after hearing about her work on the Robert Rodriguez-produced "Machete," out in September.

"Maybe this is the deal that will straighten her up completely," said Kerry Wallum, a producer on the movie. "And even if it ain't, we'll be out in the country. I guarantee she'll be to set on time. She'll be stuck out in the middle of nowhere."

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