The premiere of IFC Films’ “The Canyons” Aug. 6 at The Standard in Hollywood was significant for who was absent — Lindsay Lohan — whose starring role brought the film both praise and derision after a New York Times Magazine piece documented the troubled star’s erratic on-set behavior.
However, Lohan was able to address disappointed spectators though a text message read aloud by producer Braxton Pope before the screening. “I just want to thank everyone for believing in me and this film and for your support. Please make sure Paul does not get naked again,” Lohan said via text, referring to an incident on-set when director Paul Schrader disrobed to coax a hysterical Lohan into filming the set-piece orgy.
“Lindsay lives in a world of crisis,” Schrader said. “I know she wanted to come but I guess the drama wasn’t sufficient.” Lohan, who was in New York City, initially decided to skip the premiere, fearing how it would look after her recent stint in rehab and subsequent Oprah interview. The star reneged at the last moment though, but was too far away at that point to attend.
Lohan’s appearance in the film – and subsequent media infatuation – was by design however. With “The Canyons” marketing budget topping out at $50,000, Schrader, Pope and screenwriter/novelist Bret Easton Ellis needed a personality to supercharge the film’s public profile. “When you create a micro-budget film outside the normal channels you have to create noise. You have to get your head above the crowd. Everything about this, me approaching Bret, going to James (Deen) and Lindsay was about standing out from the 10,000 films that are being made – as we speak – for no money,” Schrader said. “It would be hypocritical for me to say I am annoyed by the noise that she creates because I put it in motion.”
“She turned the narrative of this tiny film that was an experiment for Paul and I into this crazy tabloid experience and we are still dealing with it,” Ellis said. “I have a reputation and people want to take me down, we cast a porn star in the male lead and that doesn’t really warm us to a lot of people. But ultimately I’m happy that we made this movie.”
Pope reassured the audience that Lohan would reunite with the cast at the film’s Venice Film Festival premiere but tempered his statement with the assurance that she would be accompanied by “her sober companion.”