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Lindsay Lohan is back — here’s how Netflix can make her great again

TLindsay Lohan’s comebacks are a bit like following different incarnations of the Sugababes. The actual numbers are unclear – all you know is that there have been many of them. The actor, tabloid mainstay, part-time pop star, and former leggings designer goes through possible renaissances every few years. They always seem promising at first, only to inevitably fall apart. But for as much as we should know by now to never trust a potential Lohan resurgence, this latest seems different.

Last week, Netflix announced that they’d signed Lohan to a two-picture deal, one sparked by the successful production of an upcoming Christmas movie that Lohan was directing for the streaming service. What’s striking about this particular nugget of news is that Netflix is ​​obviously genuine, the celebratory film – In love with Christmas – is already in the can, and Lohan himself is more of a mirage than he used to be. Normally secluded in a luxury apartment in Dubai and far from prying eyes, Lohan is strangely anonymous as a celebrity today. Rid her of all the noise and acting suddenly seems doable again.

But what kind of Lohan are we talking about here? For someone whose time in the spotlight tends to condense into simplistic rhetoric — the child star gone wrong — she’s had a remarkable number of career cycles. There’s a Lindsay Lohan for all seasons, each person appealing in their own way. And because of her recent silence, she has something of a clean slate today. With that in mind, we’ve attempted to break down Lohan’s career into specific stages for Netflix’s benefit, just in case they needed hints at the LiLo subgenre they’d cleverly revive — and cleverly leave behind.

The early years

Vintage Lohan is sunny Lohan. Lohan was discovered at the age of three and was an internationally acclaimed actor by the age of 11. Lohan appeared supernaturally on screen. She’s ridiculously good in the 1998 remake The parent trap, plays long-lost twins who unexpectedly meet at summer camp. She had an attitude and a sense of comic timing that suited the Diane Keatons of the world far more than the Mary-Kate and Ashleys. And even then she felt attracted to different people. She obviously played dual roles in The parent trapbut did the same in the body swap comedy Crazy Friday (2003) and 2004 Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. There she is an ordinary girl who always pretends to be much more glamorous than she is. Even the teen classic mean girls (2004) — arguably her definitive film, though there are surprising competition — depends on her character’s ability to switch between disguises depending on the classmates she hangs out with. Here she is at her best as an actress. In love with Christmas seems to take at least one page from this book, in which Lohan plays a wealthy, mindless heiress who is given a second chance at life when she develops amnesia.

The prestige years

Lohan’s Rise to Prestige Movie Star Starring Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin in Robert Altman’s Leading Roles A prairie home companion (2006) and Jane Fonda in Georgia rule (2007) – coincided with her off-camera antics which were beginning to overwhelm her acting.

In 2007, she was arrested for drink driving, then again for cocaine possession. She broke the terms of her parole, went to jail, went to a few different rehab centers, and was publicly chastised by the studio behind her Georgia rule for “irresponsible and unprofessional” conduct on set. She dropped numerous film projects from her cast, and a side career in music faltered. However, she always knew that she had screwed everything up by explaining it demonstratively vanity fair that “I want my career back”. But her statements never seemed to reflect what she actually did in reality. However, it would be great to see her get a second chance in these kinds of films, especially now that she’s in a calmer personal state.

Lindsay Lohan in her star-making role as Annie and Hallie in ‘The Parent Trap’

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Lindsay Lohan in her outstanding role as Annie and Hallie in “The Parent Trap”

(Disney)

The grunge era

The most chaotic days of Lohan’s personal life occurred at the height of internet gossip cruelty. She appeared to be second only to Britney Spears when it came to being hounded by the paparazzi while dousing every new mug shot, ankle monitor and professional throwback from Perez Hilton and the up-and-coming TMZ. At the same time, however, she slid into an interesting career phase that was reminiscent of a newly sober Drew Barrymore, who carved a niche for himself as a seductress and killer in the early 1990s.

I know who killed me (2007), Lohan’s infamous amputation thriller, is a spooky reversal of The parent trap. She plays long-lost twins, one a well-read high schooler, the other a scruffy stripper. Lohan seems dazed and distracted the entire time, but her performance still has an irresistible appeal. Also inside The Canyons, a 2013 nihilistic erotic thriller written by Bret Easton Ellis, Lohan’s voice is so choked it sounds like she ate a whole pack of cigarettes. Whether she wants to return to this style of filmmaking is unclear — it would be understandable if she didn’t — but I’d love to see her make bold choices again.

The Meta Era

While The Canyons Often referred to as Lohan’s rock bottom on camera, it’s actually the work she did around it that has now scratched the barrel. In the early 2010s, Lohan made a haphazard return to Hollywood, but her casting always seemed like an elaborate hoax. Robert Rodriguez has a semi-circumcised party girl dressed as a nun machete (2010) and later made a sex tape with Charlie Sheen scary movie 5 (2013). All of this seemed inevitable, Lohan messing with a town that had already decided she was a joke. As a result, it’s the saddest era of her career, possibly because she’s lost control of things now. It would be disastrous if she and Netflix ventured back here.

The reality TV era

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Lohan’s 2014 reality show Lindsay aspired to be a candid and unflinching look at a sober, comeback-ready Lohan. In truth, it was the story of a rising celebrity who desperately wanted her show not to be a train wreck. Chain-smoking and dejected, Lohan is constantly on the edge trying to save a program that’s always slipping into voyeuristic car crash mode. When she wasn’t loudly proclaiming her sobriety while standing by bottles of wine, she infuriated assistants, agents, and even Oprah herself.

This clash between the two Lohans – the misunderstood angel she claims to be and the tornado of chaos experienced by everyone around her – would define her adventures on reality TV, which included a bizarre BBC documentary in 2010 , in which she examined human trafficking in India. Clad in a headscarf and cradling orphans, she’s practically Saint Lindsay. From the off, she was accused of skipping UNICEF meetings and getting credit for peace work that she actually didn’t do.

This phase of Lohan’s career is probably the most authentic for her, but not really for the right reasons. Nothing before or since has gotten her better into the core of her character, or the internal wrestling match that always inspires her to fight. But what Lohan definitely doesn’t need in 2022 is that kind of candor — mysteries serve her better.

Lindsay Lohan attends a racing event in Australia in 2019

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Lindsay Lohan attending a racing event in Australia in 2019

(James Gourley/Getty Images)

The surreal globetrotter years

Lohan’s move to Dubai — and subsequent retirement from the spotlight — put Smart on paper. But there was also a lot of craziness about that time, which only seemed amplified because Lohan wasn’t in the news that much in general. Remember that Instagram Live in 2018 where Lohan – who was hanging around Moscow for some reason – appeared to be trying to “save” Syrian children from their mother? Remember her weird new accent, which was a little American, a little British, and a little Ben Kingsley-in Gandhi? Or her alleged friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? It was all a bit dark, wasn’t it?

Longtime Lohan watchers will be well aware that following her on the news always leads them down murky rabbit holes. But something about that moment in her life and career seemed “more offbeat” than usual. To be fair, Lohan, for example, has been helping refugees (?) on behalf of the Turkish President for a number of years now, and she finally seems to have settled down. She did virtual mean girls Cast reunion in 2020 and shone just as brightly as her former co-stars. She is engaged to a man named Bader Shammas, who is said to be an investment banker. Her Instagram is remarkably low-key, full of selfies, affirmations, and throwbacks.

If the Lohan-the-Netflix star isn’t just recreating one of her old personas, her current “calm, in love, a little bit boring” is a good place to start. Sure, there’s still that lingering ambiguity about her — like she’s always dangerously dangling off a cliff — but by now it would be weird if there wasn’t.

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