Lindsay Lohan’s arrest Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, on suspicion of drunken driving and cocaine possession, means PR headaches for TriStar, which releases her pic “I Know Who Killed Me” on Friday. But the bigger question is what this latest arrest will do to her once-glowing career.
In the short term, she faces significant challenges. For one thing, costs to insure her will skyrocket. And her latest arrest could cost her a role in “Poor Things,” a pic skedded to begin production in mid-August.
The production worked around her stint in rehab, with co-star Shirley MacLaine visiting her at Promises in Malibu to rehearse for the movie. Although a gossip page reported last week that she had lost the role, the filmmakers insist that was not the case.
After Tuesday’s arrest, they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude.
“We continue to be enthusiastic in our belief of ‘Poor Things,’ and our sole focus is moving this film into production,” said producer Rob Hickman. “We expect to announce details on a start date in the very near future.”
Lohan attorney Blair Berk told the Associated Press on Tuesday that her client had relapsed and was receiving “medical care” for her addiction.
Police said she was arrested at about 1:30 a.m. in Santa Monica after they received a call from a woman, described as the mother of a former personal assistant to Lohan, who said she was being chased by Lohan in an SUV. Police said Lohan was booked for investigation of driving under the influence and on a suspended license, as well as for cocaine possession. She was released on $25,000 bail a few hours later, according to the AP.
Lohan is already facing a DUI charge in a separate May incident, as well as a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run.
The current situation marks the second time she has been in the middle of a PR debacle surrounding the release of a movie (the first time was in May, when “Georgia Rule” opened).
Other stars have survived arrests and tabloid headlines, including Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Grant, Eddie Murphy, Winona Ryder and a teenage Drew Barrymore. Even further back, the list includes Robert Mitchum, whose arrest for marijuana possession in the 1940s was a genuine shocker.
Controversy has also touched tabloid darlings like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.
But many of those celebs had only a single arrest, while Lohan has sparked several legal skirmishes and scandals in a short time. And Lohan’s arrests seem particularly shocking for someone known for playing the cute kid in films like “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls.”
That image dilemma — complicated by the mix of sympathy and fatigue that endless media coverage has engendered — points to a longer road back to the spotlight. Lohan’s ability to control her partying is highly questionable at this point, as is the ability of her handlers to do it for her — or insist she take a break from the Hollywood spotlight and its temptations.
Although Lohan left rehab July 13 wearing an anklet that would supposedly monitor alcohol intake, she has since been spotted at clubs quaffing away, anklet on.
“A good part of me doesn’t blame her,” said one L.A.-based producer. “A good part of me blames the people around her for not telling her the one thing she needs to hear: ‘Go away!’ ‘Go away for a year,'” he said, suggesting Paris and London as alternatives to Hollywood’s party scene.
“The sad thing is,” he added, “at one point she had talent.”
One Gotham-based producer was deep into talks with a studio for a Lohan project, but the studio backed away even before Tuesday, the producer said.
Another producer considers her ongoing mishaps absurd given the level of protection that usually surround stars.
“Why would she be the one carrying the drugs and driving? That’s what an entourage is for,” he cracked.
TriStar had no plans to change its campaign for the thriller “I Know Who Killed Me,” which features Lohan as twins. As a rep noted with a trace of relief, “The campaign wasn’t focused on her.” Lohan does not appear prominently in pic’s key art but, as the lead, she is front and center in the trailer.
Lohan’s scheduled Tuesday appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” was canceled, as was her appearance at a small cast and crew screening this week.
When Grant was arrested with a prostitute after a junket for “Nine Months,” he was able to regain ground by appearing on Leno’s show shortly after the arrest and apologizing.
Lohan’s unavailability already put a crimp in TriStar’s ability to promote “I Know Who Killed Me,” one PR vet noted, and there was murmuring about her partying ways during its production, as was the case with “Georgia Rule.”
Morgan Creek’s James Robinson famously rebuked the actress for her absences on the set during the production of that film, sending a harshly worded letter to her suite at the Chateau Marmont.
There are two worlds of celebrity: tabloid stars and box office stars, and seldom the twain do meet. There is little question that Lohan will continue to be a paparazzi fixation, as will Hilton and Richie. The question is about Lohan’s film career.
Gibson and Downey each had a body of film work, and the respect that comes with it, helping them offset some of the negativity around their arrests. Lohan has no comparable achievements.
Even so, it took Downey a while to recover from the incessant drug use that eventually landed him in prison. Beyond her screen accomplishments, she is a creature of the turn-of-the-century blogosphere. Her notorious exploits have been covered exhaustively by Web gossips, but she also enjoys a greater platform because of the Internet coverage.
“This may, in a strange way, actually help her,” ventured Andrew Herwitz, a former Miramax exec who runs the Film Sales Corp. “She wanted to break free of kid roles, anyway. A lot of indie producers are probably going to be able to cast her in interesting parts because she will actually be reading their scripts. Not a lot of other scripts may be sent to her for a while.”