This week’s Flashback Friday takes us to April 2009--it was our 10th anniversary issue and we celebrated with the one and only Lindsay Lohan. We’re revisiting this cover since Mean Girls, our favorite Lohan film, turns 10 this month. Find out what she told writer Luke Crisell below.
In hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to schedule an interview with Lindsay Lohan to take place after a photo shoot on Friday night. It doesn’t end up wrapping until 1:30 a.m., and by that time, she is tired and immediately leaves for acupuncture. It probably wasn’t a good idea, either, to reschedule the interview for 1 p.m. the following day. Sure enough, there is no sign of her in the lobby of the Bowery Hotel in Manhattan, where we are supposed to meet--she’s upstairs, still asleep. But four hours later, in a room adjacent to the patio, we eventually get to talking. It’s been almost two years since she was last on the cover of the magazine, and the person who glides through the richly appointed lobby, through the heavy glass doors, drops into a cushioned wicker chair, and places her thick, well-used composition book and BlackBerry on the table, seems to be a very different girl.
In that time, she’s lost and regained her diver’s license, been in and out of rehabilitation centers, and started dating Samantha Ronson. Now, although she still can’t avoid the scrutiny of media, Lohan might just be back on track. The 22-year-old is alert--peppy even--and considers questions carefully before answering them. She’s started a little fashion line, 6126 (only leggings so far, but watch this space), and is planning a new album. Most importantly though, she comes across as realistic about finding work in Hollywood--a place where, like the rest of the world, she’s better known as a tabloid staple than a serious actress--and is determined to find a new project that will prove to everyone who has forgotten that she can act, and well. Sure, she fucked around for a while there--acted out in the way that people her age do--but the girl sitting in front of me appears to be grounded, focused, and has a twinkle in her eye that speaks to dyed-in-the-wool ambition.
It’s been almost two years since I last interviewed you. What’s changed?
Time flies. It was good. Samantha and I have been living together [while I looked for a new place]. And I just finally find this great new house in L.A.--so now we’re closer to each other. It’s literally just around the block. And I’ve done my leggings, which is really exciting--I’m really happy with them, and we’re doing more. I got my license back a week-and-a-half ago. That was a big deal. It’s [restricted], but it just feels so good.
What else have you been up to?
I’ve been looking for a great film to do. And I’d love to be working and back on set, but I’ve come to a point where I’m really tough about what it is I do. I don’t just want to do anything, I want to do things with great actors who I can learn from, and with great directors who I can watch so that I can eventually direct in the future.
Like with A Prairie Home Companion?
Yeah, and Georgia Rule with Jane [Fonda] and Felicity [Huffman] was amazing. I have some meetings when I get back to L.A. this week. The fashion stuff has been my hobby--in terms of the leggings and figuring out what other line we can do. And I’m now doing this spray-tanning product--this airbrush spray--which I’ve wanted to do for a while. Hopefully [that will come out] this summer. And I’ve been talking to a bunch of networks to produce this show I wanted to get started, too.
What’s that going to be about?
I don’t really want to talk too much about it because the deal isn’t closed, so I don’t want to jinx it. Recently, I’ve been taking time to just get really involved in all the projects that I’m doing, and to kind of be more hands on. It just makes me feel better. I think it just...you know--I’ve grown up. You change every year, but it’s been good.
You seem a lot healthier, and a lot more lucid. When we’ve spoken before you were very...
I was very go, go, go, go, go!
Now, you seem calmer. Like last night, at the shoot--you were very in control of things, and the pictures looked great.
Thank you. I saved some in my phone, and my friend took some [laughs]. I love doing photo shoots. I love the camera and the clothing and the hair and the makeup--it’s just so much fun. I mean, if I could just sign with IMG and do ad campaigns and model more, I’d do that, you now, when I have time off. Because that’s more fun for me. That’s not work.
But you obviously very much want to get back into acting. Is that your number one priority at the moment?
Yeah. I just…there’s not much I can do about the fact that I’ve become kind of a tabloid obsession. I can’t change that. And yes, the websites, the gossip pages, and all that stuff have hurt my career--they’re like the burn book of Hollywood. They do have a massive impact on what people say and do, and on what studio heads and directors are afraid of. And that’s a really scary thing for me. I’ve always said this--and people haven’t really listened--but I got into this industry because I loved acting. I loved fashion--that’s where I started, with Ford Models. And I swear by music. I wouldn’t be able to go through a day without having music around. Those are the three things that I strive to do. So when people say all these things in magazines, it’s like, well, I don’t do a movie for it to be written about in a gossip column. I do the movie so that people can come and see it, so that I can stretch everything I’ve learned, and I can recreate a character that somebody might relate to, and tell a story.
People don’t really think of you as an actress anymore, do they?
It’s hard because people have completely lost sight of what it is I do. And I was nervous doing the leggings and stuff like that because I felt like people were just going to say, “Oh, she’s not really getting work, so she’s got to do this to make money.” But nothing I’ve ever done--no film, no deal, no clothing, no club that I’ve gone to--has ever been about the money. Yeah, it’s scary when you realize, “Oh my God, I’m not working. And I have a house to pay for now.” But I’ve never been in this industry for money. I’d rather do projects that mean something than get a big bonus check. I really don’t feel like I should have to prove myself to anyone because of living out my college years in the public eye. I’m glad everything happened the way it did. There are some things, yes, I would have loved to have done differently. But I learned from my mistakes. Some people don’t. I’m fortunate to be able to do a great piece of work in film, because I want to be able to show myself that I…and allow myself to see that this is where I really…this is the reason I do this! But it’s hard to find great things. And there’ve been things I’ve really wanted to do. Like the one movie I’ve wanted to do for so long is Alice In Wonderland [directed by Tim Burton]. But, um, that didn’t work out.
Are people upfront with you when you go in for meetings and auditions? Do they say, “You’re too famous to be in this movie?”
I’m really honest when I meet with people. And the people that I work with--my agent and my manager--when I’m with them, I say it like it is. I’ll [say] that if there’s not a great director, there are no other actors who I can learn from, and it’s this far away, and it’s for that much money--yeah, you guys might think the script is great, but I’m not going to be able to get into that. I’m going to want to leave. And it’s going to be hell.
Are people honest with you?
I think people are, to an extent. It is what it is. You’re not right for the part, and that’s it. That’s how I’d like to hear it. I don’t think there’s any reason for people to beat around the bush about it. I can take it, I’m a big girl. Obviously, you don’t want me. I don’t want to do something that somebody doesn’t want me to be involved in anyway.
Have you been in a meeting before and thought, I know you’re not looking at me as an actress now. You’e looking at me as this person whom you’ve read about in the newspaper?
Who you think is unpredictable and irresponsible? Yeah. I do think that. But I confront it right away.
I can imagine you would.
I do. Because I’m like, “It is what it is, but things are different, and unless you are willing to give me the chance, you’ll never know.” I mean, when I was doing films before, I couldn’t take it for a bit. I was in every scene, back-to-back, every day. We had 16-hour days. I don’t think anyone can really handle that. And I don’t have a life. And I had family shit going on, and I had relationship stuff, and I had this and I had that. I couldn’t take a second to do what I wanted to do. Now, I’ve been able to balance it. On the last film I did, called Labor Pains, I was able to balance both. And it felt really good. But yes, it’s been so frustrating.
Are you going to lots of auditions?
No. I mean, I’ve met with some people. I can’t say one of the names. One is Sean Penn--I spoke with him again the other day. We’re trying to get Seth Rogen for this project, but Seth won’t call us back. So, call us back, Seth, if you’re reading this! [Laughs.]
I interviewed Pharrell recently, and your name came up.
In a good way.
I’ve spoken with him a lot, and i’m just waiting until he’s free. And I really want to start with him. I met with [music producer and singer-songwriter] Kevin Rudolf the other day, and he gave me a great track. But I’ve put that on hold for a bit, ’cause I was getting music that was all R&B and hip-hop, and that won’t make sense. Because the hard thing is--I love Sia, I love Adele, I love Lily Allen’s new work. But then I also love Lady Gaga. And Britney--I think her record is great. I’ve been trying to incorporate [everything]. And I’m finally starting to find the sound I want, but I really just want to see what Pharrell has in mind.
How high is your new record on your priority list right now?
It’s as high as Pharrell is ready [laughs]. I’ve done this other track called “Stay.” It’s a ballad, but it’a s killer song. Samantha’s obsessed with it, which makes me happy. I don’t want it all to be about, like, relationships and highs and lows, and too personal. Music doesn’t always need to be that way.
Britney’s getting that right at the moment.
And she’s marketed as an entertainer, which is what she is. Not necessarily as, like, an artist. And I respect that about her. ’Cause she doesn’t pretend to be anything [other] than what she is.
Do you want to work with Mark Ronson?
I would love to. I would love for him to do something for me. I think he’s just really busy [laughs].
You seem to have become better at dealing with your fame now. You’re a lot more comfortable.
I don’t acknowledge anything that gets said, really. And I never really have. I don’t give them as much to say and write about, and I don’t have a desire to be out all the time, like I did before. But the paparazzi--now that I’m driving again--really freak me out. They’re already on me. They’re at [Samantha’s] house and my house. It’s just stressful.
How has your relationship with Sam impacted your life?
Um…it’s nice. I don’t really wanna talk about her [laughs].
You don’t have to.
Thank you [laughs].
What are your thoughts on the TV show, Living Lohan?
I’ve always told my mom and brother and sister that I think they’re hysterical. I love watching them. So why shouldn’t other people? It’s not too invasive; it’s not unfair to the kids. They like it. They try to portray my sister as bratty sometimes or irresponsible, and that’s not her at all.
Did you watch it?
Yeah. I thought they were going to do another season, but I guess they aren’t right now. But I loved it. They aren’t any different on camera than they are in real life. I dunno if that’s bad or good.
And how did you line of leggings come about?
I wear leggings all the time. And none of them fit the way I wanted them to fit.  just came together really quickly. But I’ve been particular about how they fit and how they’re made. Like, no one wants them too tight here [puts her hands at her waist]--they pinch and they give you love handles. But you want your legs to look thinner when you’re in them. So there’s a pair--my favorite ones are the Olivia--that just literally suck your legs in. And you feel like you’re losing weight. But I wanted the leggings to be comfortable and wearable at night, and I was like, “Why not make ones that are perfect for me to wear?”
Which designers do you like?
I love what Marc Jacobs has done for Vuitton this season. I think he’s so smart with how he just picks up on everything.
Is he someone you’d like to collaborate with?
I would love to, yeah.
Marc, if you’re reading this…
Yeah. We’ll e-mail him [laughs]. And Karl Lagerfeld is the epitome of chic.
Do you have plans to do a full line or collaborate with a designer?
I would love to start some sort of line. I don’t wanna promise anything. But I would like for something like that to happen, sooner rather than later.
What about your blogging? It’s dried up recently…
[Laughs] I kind of stopped.
Why is that? It was a way for you to say what you were thinking rather than have everyone believe in this TMZ image of you.
The truth, yeah.
Is that why you did it--to tell the truth?
Yeah. I just felt--I’m a person too, and I want to say what I want to say and I’d rather wait for my own website to do it on, rather than MySpace and all that. I love MySpace and I love Facebook, but…well, everyone has a lot to say and if you have a voice and it’s meaningful, then say it. Or if there’s a rumor, clear it up.
Did it feel good to do that?
It did. But I think I just got carried away. Like writing about my relationships…I didn’t need to do that, because we weren’t broken up and that was silly. And then if that happens again, they expect me to say, “No, [we’re not broken up]” again, you know. And I got afraid of that.
Once you’ve started, it must be hard to suddenly go silent.
Yeah, I didn’t want to have to do that. So I chilled with it.
Rick Schwartz, the producer of Labor Pains said of you, “When the director yells ‘Action’ you remember why she’s a movie star. I want to find a role for her…that crystallizes her career. I feel like I’m trying to spread the gospel of Lindsay.” It seems obvious to the people who you’re close to that there’s genuine talent there. But with you, there’s just this bigger picture….
Yeah, I know. It gets in the way a lot. That’s why I feel like it’s important to sit down with people and meet with them and have a conversation.
Did you do that with Tim Burton for Alice in Wonderland?
No, I didn’t get to.
It was cast a long time ago.
Yeah, but I was on it before it was even, like, talked about being cast.
What is that composition book for?
I’m writing all the time. [Opens book and starts flicking through pages covered in writing.] I started writing sideways, I don’t know why. It’s, like, really mad. Like crazy.
Are those just…thoughts?
Just thoughts…poems…things I want to do.
You have the tiniest writing ever!
Yeah. I just like how it looks. I’ve always been obsessed with handwriting. [Points out a page covered in red ink.] That’s what I wrote last night when I got home.