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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Poor Lindsay. She can't catch a break.
Released early from rehab and free again to pursue personal and professional rehabilitation, Lindsay Lohan has an opportunity to re-enter the public consciousness with the seriousness of a newly clean starlet intent on sobriety. And then here comes "Machete."
When Robert Rodriguez's Mexploitation flick opens Friday, Lohan will have been out of jail and rehab for a mere 10 days. And the vision that fans, family and friends will see of her in the film is that of a rich, spoiled junkie who makes money on the side by doing homemade sex videos -- with her mom.
She can kiss those Kids' Choice Awards goodbye.
"I want my career back," Lohan told Vanity Fair in an interview last month before heading to jail. If that's true, she's not doing herself any favors.
For most actors, a public image is cultivated like a rare plant that needs endless sunlight while being constantly cleaned of dirt. For Lohan, the past few years have been more like a Ferrari she takes straight from the car wash to the demolition derby.
As April, the errant daughter of a corrupt political operative, Lohan makes her entrance in "Machete" passed out on a filthy mattress in a drug den surrounded by gun-toting ruffians. Rescued by her pop, she is dumped into a car and swivels her drugged-out face toward him to say, "Sorry, Daddy."
In real life, Lohan feels she's the one owed an apology.
"I think if anyone should be looked at medically it's him," she said to Vanity Fair about her dad, Michael Lohan. The dad in the film does get his -- after revealing that he has an unhealthy fixation on his daughter.
Most of the rest of Lohan's screen time is then spent naked, after filming a sex video that includes the vengeance-seeking Machete and her character's mother -- and, courtesy of Machete, a large bottle of tequila. When she finally covers her body late in the movie, it's to put on a nun's habit and strafe a riot of knife-wielding Mexicans with a submachine gun.
Granted, all of this surely is the very fun Rodriguez and Lohan were hoping to have with a ridiculous character that would play off Lohan's wrecked public image. But that convent has sailed.
Lohan was cast in "Machete" in early August last year, a development she hinted at via Twitter. Although the entertainment business is all fun and games and roles are simply roles, Lohan already had spent the previous 2-1/2 years rolling in the public mud.
In January 2007, she checked into rehab for the first time, but she was arrested in May for suspected driving under the influence. More rehab and more arrests and lawsuits followed. In July 2009, her film "Labor Pains" got bumped from theaters to ABC Family, and she was in court again in October for a probation hearing related to her DUI charges.
If during that time she or her reps were looking to burnish her image, the "Machete" role probably was not the best move. Her reps at CAA and Untitled Entertainment declined comment on the decision.
She was released from her latest rehab stint on August 25, the day of the film's downtown Los Angeles premiere, but she did not show up to share the spotlight with co-stars Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. Insiders strolling the red carpet let on that reps for distributor Fox, the filmmakers and Lohan had agreed that her presence would have caused too much of a disruption, pulling attention from the film.
Asked to comment on the premiere issue, Lohan's mother Dina e-mailed, "We are in a great place and I am not commenting there!"
Lohan's next planned project is "Inferno," an indie biopic about "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace. Although under different circumstances the role could provide an edgy dramatic turn to burnish an actor's resume, it more likely will burnish Lohan's image as damaged goods. She's not Charlize Theron taking on "Monster" or Jennifer Connelly doing "Requiem for a Dream."
What Lohan needs is a quiet role as a guidance counselor on NBC's "Parenthood" or a "Wrestler"-style drama built around her by a gifted filmmaker. Maybe a straightforward role in an ensemble of a big disaster film. For now, though, roles that perpetuate the perception that she has no control over herself or her life might be destined to undercut the career resurgence she claims she wants.
"I know that I'm a damn good actress," Lohan told Vanity Fair. "And I know that when I care about something, I put 100% and more into it."
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