It’s one thing to be harassed by paparazzi when you go out to clubs, dressed to the nines calling attention to yourself. It’s another when you’re trying to work, to blend into your character, and the director can’t get the shot without the clicking flashbulbs. For Lindsay Lohan, it has become a constant struggle.
In Just My Luck, Lohan plays a successful executive who suddenly finds herself on a streak of unfathomably bad luck. At one point, she walks into a diner and eats leftover bacon off a stranger’s plate in desperation. Unfortunately, the window did not expose a view of your average New York City street.
“We had a lot of paparazzi and I had to freak out in the scene and shove bacon in my mouth,” Lohan said. “I was so nervous and Donald [Petrie] blocked it off. We had to shoot out, you had to see and the guys would not move. There were so many of them.”
Luckily, Petrie is an expert at shooting in New York. He knows tricks to divert paparazzi attention, like having his AD scream, “That’s a wrap” but secretly keeping the actors on set. Other cities and other directors have bigger problems to face.
“When I was shooting the Altman film [a radio station] had a big billboard up, they put, ‘Lindsay please call the radio station’ right next to the Fitzgerald theater. It happens, but they will do it for a few days while you’re away and then they will come back here because something is going on in LA or New York that they have to find out about.”
That classy tactic actually worked when Lohan called the station and struck up an ongoing relationship. “I’ve done a lot of radio interviews with them. We’re having a premiere there next week.”
Much of Just My Luck filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina struck. “I mean, everything was destroyed down there. We were actually really lucky that we have documented [the last Mardi Gras.] I heard the banging of the parades in my room.”
That included a real prison used for scenes where the unlucky Ashley Albright winds up in a holding tank. “Jesus, we shot at a prison when the men were in there and I kept peeking behind the curtain because I didn’t believe them. I felt very Johnny Cash. Remember when I get punched? I actually did get hit. I did do my own stunts. I remember that. I did get hit.”
Despite that close call, Lohan suffered more in her private time than on the set. She wore an Ace bandage to this interview because of a bathroom accident the previous day. “I have a hairline fracture in my foot. I slipped coming out of the shower, but on the film I twisted my ankle when we were shooting in New York, my right foot. And it's really ironic because the film's called Just My Luck. I was coming out of the shower yesterday morning and I slipped. I can't wear heels though. That's the bad thing.”
Lohan would not consider herself unlucky though. “Everyone has accidents,” she said. “You have to go through highs and lows in life just to learn to appreciate things just as Ashley Albright in the film.”
Some of her antics made even Petrie freak out though. “I'll tell you one thing that scared the poop out of me,” Petrie recalled. “Lindsay is walking along with me on the street and turns a corner and walks smack dab into a glass wall. Just walks like that. I was going, ‘Oh, sh ...!’ I thought, ‘Oh my God, a broken nose,’ and she's laughing at me. She did it supposedly on purpose. And I said, ‘Okay, that's going in the movie.’”
A Prairie Home Companion had no physical pitfalls or pratfalls, but offered her a chance to show she’s growing up. “Even while I was finishing Just My Luck, we had started talking about Prairie Home Companion. I wasn't aware of exactly what it was. I spoke to my grandmother about it and she kind of informed me what it was about. The movie was coming together, and then I heard Meryl Streep's name, then I heard Michelle Pfeiffer at one point, and then it finally just came together one day. They said, ‘Okay, we're making the movie, and they want you to be Meryl Streep's daughter in it.’ My role kind of got bigger as we went along because I became friends with Garrison Keillor. It was amazing, and I would look at the call sheet and I would just see these actors that I didn't believe were coming onto the set every day. It was a wonderful experience and good experience for me as my first independent film. It was nice to be able to sing live, and it's just one of those movies where it's always nice to have to look back on. It's an amazing, monumental film and cast in it's own way.”
Her song became a veritable concert for the cast and crew. “I was definitely nervous. Everybody was that day on set. On that day they just happened to have to be there on the side of the stage. And I only rehearsed that song I think three times, and they kept changing it. I was nervous. But we don't really have musicals that are done like this movie. And Robert Altman obviously has a way of kind of incorporating comedy and the darker side in films. It's kind of a creepy movie in its own way, but still it's really funny.”
Just My Luck opens Friday. A Prairie Home Companion is coming in June.