Lindsay Lohan prepares to play a porn star, we prepare to worry

Oh, Lindsay, Lindsay. I want so much to root for Lindsay Lohan, but sometimes she makes it awfully hard. Not that she has done anything unforgivable — it’s just that she keeps making these decisions that on their surface seem less than ideal. Like, for instance, deciding to play infamous porn star Linda Lovelace for her next movie role.

When last we saw Lindsay on the big screen, she was playing a stripper with a bad case of amnesia and/or convoluted plot. (Since then she has also played fake pregnant, but that went direct to basic cable so it doesn’t count — or at least she probably hopes it doesn’t.) But now according to E! Online, she has agreed to play the ’70s porn star of Deep Throat fame in the new indie film Inferno.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with playing a stripper or porn star or any kind of sex worker per se. Olivia Wilde is filming her role as an Iowan stripper as we speak and that has me nothing but hot and bothered (or Butter-ed, given the subject matter). Courtney Love played a stripper in The People vs. Larry Flynt and it earned her a Golden Globe nomination. So it’s clearly not automatically a bad move.

But in the larger context of her career and — more important — her public persona, perhaps it’s time for Lindsay to show us a little less. That Lindsay is sexy or likes to be seen as sexy is public knowledge. Photoshoot after photoshoot shows her in various states of undress engaged in varying degrees of salaciousness. Her latest is the guns and blood session with Tyler Shields. Wait is the gun in her mouth? Of course it is.

And then there are the public wars with her father and cryptic Twitter exchanges with ex-girlfriend Samantha Ronson. But I don’t begrudge her for any of that impulsivity, really. She is young and Twitter wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining if famous people didn’t say crazy thing on it on a daily basis.

Now, none of this would matter to me in the least if I didn’t think Lindsay was truly talented in the first place. Not as a singer or a party girl or a teenage role model, but as a natural and engaging actress. Lindsay can act, I’ve seen it. I miss it. So then I find myself in the odd situation of wanting to be shield her publicly from her critics while scolding her privately for squandering that talent.

What Lindsay needs is less “Ooh, la la” and more “Oh, that’s good.” Now, granted, this Inferno movie could be a great and important work of art. Lovelace’s life and career is certainly the stuff that potential Oscar nominations are made of. She starred in the hardcore porn sensation Deep Throat (later immortalized as the codename for the Watergate tipster). She later left the industry and was an active anti-porn crusader until her death at age 52 in 2002 from a car accident.

So why am I worried? Because the PR machine seems to be ahead of the artistic process already. And Shields, who just released those trigger-happy shots of Lindsay last week, has already been contacted by the film’s director Matthew Wilder to shoot promos for the movie. Shields, in turn, promises to deliver more crazy, saying:

The photos I have not released will top anything you’ve seen before. Let’s just say they’re what you’ve seen maybe times 10, maybe times 100.

How about we shoot the movie before we shoot the sexy photos, eh? The thing about Lindsay is that while many of her problems are self-generated, the ire and scorn she faces because of them seem disproportional to her crimes. Would I like to see her concentrate more on her career than perfecting that damn finger-in-mouth pose she loves so much? Yes. Do lot of other female and male stars party too hard and experience career dry spells? Yes. As Jezebel noted, Drew Barrymore‘s early career had shockingly similar trajectory to Lindsay’s, and she turned out just fine.

In the end, I think most of Lindsay’s problems can be solved by a few good movies. She should let her work, not her tweets or the tabloids, speak for itself. So for her sake, I hope Inferno is more substance than sizzle. Also, I wish she’d go back to the red hair. But, hey, that’s probably just me.

So, what do you think? Is playing a porn star a positive or “please, no”-career move for Lindsay?

More you may like