“Producing a movie with Lindsay Lohan is not for the faint of heart,” Larry Thompson said, stating the obvious, early in the conference call.
Thompson did the phoner to promote the bioflick’s Nov. 25 premiere. Lohan stars as Liz, and New Zealander Grant Bowler plays acclaimed thespian and two-time Taylor husband Richard Burton. The movie covers their nearly quarter-century relationship, starting with their meeting and affair on the set of that orgy of excess that was 20th Century Fox’s “Cleopatra,” their dumping of respective spouses, marriage, divorce, remarriage and re-divorce.
More from Lisa de Moraes
Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites.
Although the movie hasn’t even been reviewed by critics yet — they haven’t been able to see it — “Liz & Dick” already may be the most-written-about Lifetime movie ever. That’s because Lohan got into a car wreck during production, repeatedly showed up late — and, oh yeah, there was that time she was in her hotel room and not responding, and someone called 911 and paramedics showed up.
La Lohan assured Barbara Walters, who’d visited the set thinking she was getting a major interview, that the paramedic call was just one of those silly misunderstandings in which she needed a 15-minute nap and they thought she was dead.
“When we finally decided to hire her, we had serious challenges to deal with . . . due to her probation and her history,” Thompson said matter-of-factly about Lohan.
“We had to make a deal where there were pages and pages of ‘what if’ clauses. . . .
What if there is a car accident? What if there is a violation of her probation [and] she would be incarcerated? Those ‘what ifs’ were plenty.
“But through insurance — and I will add she might be the most-insured actress who ever walked on a soundstage — we tried to insure ourselves against things that could, and in fact did, happen.”
He noted, “I’ve certainly worked with actresses whose behavior during production was less problematic” than Lindsay’s, but he insisted that she was perfectly cast.
Taylor and Lohan have so much in common, Thompson pointed out. The movie opens when Taylor is 29 years old — Lohan is 26.
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/