This is going to shock you. Please take a minute to prepare yourself. Good?
"I've worked with actresses whose behavior during production was less problematic, but I don't think I could have found a better actress to have played Elizabeth Taylor at this time," said Larry A. Thompson, the producer of Lifetime's Liz & Dick.
Obviously Thompson is talking about Hollywood's Bad Girl, Lindsay Lohan. Lohan was herself during the filming - paramedics rushed to her hotel room as she was "exhausted," and she also got in a car wreck.
Thompson talked to the Hollywood Reporter and did not seem to upset with the bad press she brought. Bad press beats no press, right? Here are some highlights from that interview:
The Hollywood Reporter: Has Elizabeth Taylor's family seen the film?
Larry A. Thompson: To my knowledge, they have not. I have not reached out to them nor have they reached out to me. Having done a lot of iconic bios and stories about famous people, sometimes you have to stand back and be objective as a filmmaker. Sometimes when you get involved with the family or friends or people who knew them, the creative process can be blocked by whatever criticisms or agendas they may have.
Could you see Lohan and Bowler as Emmy nominees? The telepic?
When you start out to make a movie, it's embarrassing to think you might get nominated for anything. When you start off, you think you'll win an Emmy and then halfway through you just want to finish the damn thing. That's possibly what happened to us. I do think the movie is quite good, of course that's self-serving to say and I'm guardedly optimistic that the public will like it. If anything good happens for Lindsay, Grant or the movie, director, costumer or the hair and makeup, I'll be very proud.
How was Lohan on the set?
Her performance was wonderful every day and Grant is magnificent; he's really the anchor of their relationship and the movie. We had to get through quite a bit and making a movie with Lindsay Lohan is not for the faint of heart. During production I certainly turned 50 shades of white, but we got it in the can and I think it's good.
How frequently did you discuss the parallels between Taylor and Lohan's life? Was that part of the allure?
Of course. I've worked with actresses whose behavior during production was less problematic, but I don't think I could have found a better actress to have played Elizabeth Taylor at this time. A lot of what people know about Lindsay, they know from the media; what they don't know about Taylor during that time of her life is she had the same thing going on. People are going to discover that at 29, Taylor's behavior was so scandalous that her relationship with Richard Burton was denounced by the Pope. A DUI here and a DUI there pales in comparison to being denounced by the Pope. When they see that Lohan's life really does parallel Taylor's life and Taylor's to Lohan's, I think it becomes a bit more clear to people as to why we cast Lindsay Lohan.
I've been called everything from an idiot to a genius, and the jury's still out on that. I don't know what viewers ultimately will think; I'm not either. I hope I'm just a producer. I believe the risk we took by casting Lindsay Lohan is that we opened a product and she brings us the reward. If you're going to make a movie about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, you better have some magic and Lindsay has brought that to our movie.
Has the bad press surrounding Lohan helped or hurt the pic? Are you secretly glad?
The old adage that any press is good press? I'm praying that that adage remains true. I'm not glad about it at all; I'm glad I survived it, but I'm not glad about it.
Would you revisit Taylor' story with Lohan?
If I were to revisit the Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton story, I would certainly revisit with the same cast, sure.