A Glimpse Into the Filming of “Liz & Dick”, Starring Lindsay Lohan
I'll be honest, when I first heard Lindsay Lohan was starring in the Lifetime original movie "Liz & Dick", the first thought to pop into my head was – “art imitating life”. Lohan and Taylor were both child actors who possessed a maturity reserved for women twice their age. Or maybe, that's what their managers and the studio heads force fed them and had all of us believe too. And so we have consumed them- we voraciously scanned gossip sites for paparazzi snapped photos of their missteps, illegal activities and their private lives which seemed to mirror the drama of so many of their on camera exploits. Liz and Lindsay also both exhibited a raw talent in their earlier films- before their personal exploits overshadowed their skill.
I desperately want this to be a first step to Lindsay’s comeback - and if producer Larry Thompson is right- this film will showcase Lindsay's acting chops and confirm her place in Hollywood not as a celebrity but as an actress.
I had a chance to chat with Larry Thompson executive producer of "Liz & Dick" about this film and get some insights into the production process and his perspective on Lindsay and Liz.
Q: What kind of feedback do you anticipate this biopic generating, is it an award winner and would you call it Lindsay’s' comeback?
A: I think this is Lindsay’s comeback. I know there are a lot of naysayers- and they will be shocked- I think those who believed in her will be vindicated. As a producer I don’t think in terms of awards- as for as Lindsay Lohan's performance- if everyone who is watching takes deep breath and focuses on the film instead of her personal antics they will see what a wonderful artist she is and frankly; they will be blown away.
Q: The story behind casting- was it a long search- or was it routine?
A: Nothing was routine- but there was a short list- Lifetime was aware of what a movie about "Liz &Dick" could mean. Yet while there's an enormous population who knew who were they were and would want to watch it, they also wanted a young actress playing her so that she could bring a younger generation who didn’t know who Liz was, that she was so much more than that old lady sitting in wheelchair next to Michael Jackson. In our movie she's a young- powerful actress at height of her fame--and we truly felt Lindsay could best introduce Liz to a younger generation. We had a short list of actresses and when we reached out to Lindsay she read the script and we saw it as a right fit for our film and she showed openness to doing it. The search for Dick was very important- we needed chemistry- we looked everywhere in Wales (as Rickard Burton was Welsh) -but in true Hollywood style we got an actor from New Zealand. When Grant Bowler and Lindsay got in a room and read- his testosterone and her estrogen met and it was like Fourth of July fireworks exploding- we knew we could create Liz and Dick once again.
Q: There were a lot of rumors especially in regards to the difficulties working with Lindsay- that she was often late and sick- were these rumors true?
A: I’ve certainly worked with actresses whose behavior was less problematic than Lindsay- but she was thought to be the perfect person to plat Liz and her performance is riveting. And while we did have challenges we worked through them and we have a great movie. Producing a movie with Lindsay is not for faint of heart I turned fifty shades of white during production- in this one we had incidents which forced us to readjust production- but overall the pain was worth the pleasure- and we believe the audience will benefit from our risk
Q: You had an opportunity to get to know Lindsay on personal level- while we see her as troubled Hollywood starlet. What is she really like?
A: As a professional and producer my job was to protect, encourage and nurture her to give her the confidence to deliver best performance. My first responsibility to "Liz &Dick" was to honor their reputations--- my job was to support Lindsay to give her the tools to deliver her best performance with Grant. My focus was to work with Lindsay- and of course during the course of production- I was sensitive to the fact that she was dealing with personal issues that required her attention.
Given her troubled background- when we decided to hire her we had serious challenges to deal with- due to her probation- we had to make a deal with pages of what if clauses. It was never about if she could act- it was more about; what if there is a car accident or if there is a violation of her probation. But through insurance we were able to secure a deal. She might be most insured actress that ever walked on stage.
Q: How will Elizabeth Taylor fans react to the film?
A: Pretty much the same way- any mother thinks about someone who will marry their kid- fans will think there is no actress who could play Liz - which shows their ultimate respect for Liz. Still I think fans will be delightfully surprised- and shocked and pleased.