News & Opinion

Lindsay Lohan

Tinseltown runs out of patience as cocaine starlet goes back to jail

The Times

September 25, 2010


The glittering comeback from the gutter is one of its most seductive narratives, but Hollywood will welcome Lindsay Lohan back only when she shows that she is properly well and free of the addictions that have come to define her, industry insiders told The Times last night.

Lohan, 24, was jailed for 30 days yesterday after failing a court-ordered drug test by testing positive for cocaine this month. She was denied bail by Judge Elden Fox at the Los Angeles Superior Court and was taken into custody in handcuffs.

It was Lohan’s third sentence from a 2007 drink-driving case: her previous two stints lasted 84 minutes and 14 days respectively. She will next appear in court on her release on October 22 for her formal probation hearing.

The judge, having lost patience with Lohan, chose not to set bail and, by announcing her next appearance on October 22, he effectively handed the longest sentence so far in her probation, prison and rehabilitation saga.

The judge had the option of releasing her on bail or sending her to rehab pending the probation hearing next month but chose the harshest course. Lohan cannot be released early from prison for good behaviour or because of overcrowding before the hearing on October 22. It is likely that the judge will take into the account the time served and send her for treatment at the probation hearing next month.

Last week, Lohan wrote on Twitter: “This was certainly a setback for me, but I am taking responsibility for my actions and I’m prepared to face the consequences.”

She will serve her time at the Lynwood Correctional Facility where she spent 14 days this summer. Judge Fox refused to listen to arguments from Shawn Chapman Holley, Lohan’s lawyer, for bail and said that officials would examine whether she complied with other aspects of her probation.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer who represented Rachel Uchitel, the nightclub hostess who claimed to have had an affair with Tiger Woods, said that it was right she was jailed. Ms Allred said: “She should be incarcerated because she has broken the terms of her proba- tion. Probation is a gift and if you don’t follow it you should be in jail.”

After serving her time, Ms Allred said that Lohan should have a 24-hour at-home “sober coach” who should monitor her closely so that she did not return to drugs or drink. “She has to do whatever it takes to get well and stay well,” Ms Allred said. “She should do her rehab behind closed doors, then at the right moment re-emerge.”

Orbiting the drama of the actress’s recovery is her turbulent family. She is close to her mother Dina, but estranged from her father, Michael, who outside court yesterday begged his former wife to let him “have a relationship with my daughter”. He said that Lohan was “around the wrong people”.

Ms Allred said that Lohan’s notoriety as a drug addict and party girl had superseded her talents as an actress and that producers would be looking to cast her because of the infamy surrounding her. “It’s sad, but that’s how she is branded and that’s how they will be making their money from her,” she said.

However, Ms Allred said that Lohan did not resemble Robert Downey Jr, whose career has revived after a five-year period of substance abuse, arrest, rehab and relapse. “When I think of him, I think of a great talent, I’m not sure Lohan has that,” Ms Allred said.

Mike Goodridge, editor of Screen International, disagreed. He said that Lohan was a better actress “than many of the other girls with just a pretty face — she proved that, most obviously, with The Parent Trap and Mean Girls. She has got something special, which makes what has happened all the more frustrating, because this is squandering of true talent. She’s not Paris Hilton: she is actually good at something.”

One of the key issues is whether studios and producers would be willing to insure Lohan. Woody Allen has spoken before of being unable to secure bonds for Downey Jr and Winona Ryder, who was convicted of grand theft and vandalism after being caught shoplifting in 2002.

Steven Gaydos, executive editor of Variety, said that Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and screenwriter of Facebook movie The Social Network, was an example of rehab made good.

Mr Gaydos said: “Substance abuse is all over Hollywood but so are stories of people getting through it, and that’s why there is quite a lot of sympathy for Lindsay in the town: people genuinely want her to be well. The problem is she’s into Year 4 of all-tabloid, no product.”

Larry Rudolph, who masterminded Britney Spears’s public rehabilitation, has taken over as Lohan’s manager. Mr Gaydos said: “Honestly, I would imagine all the accountants, and PRs and management team will be worried their golden goose is about to get its head whacked off and will be doing all they can to make her well again. She can’t be making that much money — despite the odd magazine cover.”

Mr Goodridge said that the danger in Hollywood was that studios and producers had only limited patience for damaged actors. “Hollywood is a corporate town, you just can’t keep messing up like Lindsay does.” Mr Gaydos said that around Hollywood “there is impatience, sadness, anger, but not cynicism” about Lohan’s troubles. “There is too much fear that it will not have a happy ending.”

If she re-emerges, how would she kick-start her career? Mr Gaydos said that a television series could offer an easier reintroduction. “Perhaps a film noir, or crime thriller, which needed a female actress in her twenties, who had been around the block, who was tragic and could break your heart. That could be an amazing comeback role,” he said.