Today marks Lindsay Lohan's return to work. And not on a TV set playing herself, not at a fashion shoot, not at a party promoting a spray tan. No, today she returns to the one place that really seems to matter: a movie set.
Principal shooting for the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick is set to begin in Los Angeles. But after years of seemingly endless rehab stints, incarcerations and probation violations, will her job playing Elizabeth Taylor turn out any better for the troubled actress?
Absolutely, and here's why:
1. It's Not Heavy Lifting: Lindsay, on several occasions, has told me her goal is to someday win an Academy Award. The truth is that the grind and expectations of an Oscar-worthy role are far greater than those she will face on this TV movie set. She won't have to memorize reams of dialogue; nobody will be asking her to push her limits. Starring in Liz & Dick, her first film work since the Robert Rodriguez-directed ensemble Machete, is like dipping her toes in a kiddie pool. Perfect for her right now.
2. She's Home: The movie is being shot entirely in Los Angeles. The prospect of Lindsay being out of town for more than a month would create too many uncontrollable X factors. There will be no border-crossing problems, no late-night partying that out-of-town movie shoots are famous for. She will be in Hollywood, under the watchful eye of the paparazzi—and Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner, who has warned Lindsay she will throw her in jail if she breaks the law again. I was there when the judge issued her stay-clean order. Lindsay took it seriously.
3. She's Got the Right Boss: The executive producer who hired her, and will be responsible for making sure she doesn't sleep in past her call times, is Hollywood veteran Larry Thompson. Having also worked as a talent manager for the likes of David Hasselhoff, William Shatner and Drew Barrymore (before she became a well-behaved adult), the straight-shooting Mississippi native knows a thing or two about managing complex stars and will keep her on a tight leash. Proof: Ever since Thompson committed to Lindsay, she has not slipped up once. This should continue for at least the length of the shoot.
4. This Is the Right Role: Let's face it. Playing Liz Taylor at the height of her scandal-plagued, paparazzi-hounded peak is not much of a stretch for the tabloid darling. It's a plug-and-play acting challenge.
5. Last Chance, Lindsay: Lohan knows the stakes are high. This is very likely the last straw Hollywood will offer her. If she blows this gig, her last bridge back into the Hollywood fold may be burned.
But she won't.
Let us know what you think: Will Lindsay finally, finally make it work?