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"The Canyons" Director Details Working with Lindsay Lohan

Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- The Canyons, the sexually-charged thriller starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, became something of a punchline even as it was being shot, thanks to a vicious January New York Times Magazine article about Lohan's misbehavior on the set.

The film, directed by Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader, will be released in select New York City theaters on Aug. 2 -- the same day it comes to IFC and on-demand services -- and now the filmmaker's looking back at his leading lady in a Film Comment profile.

Schrader agrees with others' comparisons of Lohan with another troubled starlet, Marilyn Monroe, writing, "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."

"Monroe and Lohan exist in the space between actors and celebrities, people whose professional and personal performances are more or less indistinguishable...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," he says.

Schrader allows, "I think Lohan has more natural acting talent than Monroe did, but, like Monroe, her 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."

The filmmaker also explains a key distinction between the pair is that Monroe didn't exist in today's current environment, when, "it's possible to become a star without being taken seriously, to be a 'media personality.'  LL lives in a world of instant celebrity gratification Monroe could have only dreamed of.  Paid for public appearances, paid to wear clothes, paid to pose, paid for gossip tips, paid for tweets."

Schrader says married to this, unlike in Monroe's day, studios don't shield actors from letting their impulses get them in legal trouble.

Ultimately, however, Schrader closes his profile with, "[I]t was a treat to work with Lindsay.  All the drama...all the stress -- that means little.  A director can shoot around misbehavior.  He can't shoot around lack of charisma.  I just wish it was easier for Lindsay."

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