Ten miles east of New Orleans, past the Mary Ann Trailer Park and a billboard that reads repent across a dark swirl of fire, a film provisionally titled the Lindsay Lohan Lucky Project is underway in a giant hangar next to the Dollar General strip mall.
But Lindsay Lohan, the otherwise ubiquitous teenage sex goddess, is nowhere to be found. “Oh God, nobody told you?” a crew member asks, dragging his hand through a Dunkin’ Donuts box. “Lindsay got sick and went to the doctor. We're awaiting word.” An hour later, another man in a headset approaches. “Lindsay’s been taken to the hospital,” he whispers. “It’s still too soon to tell. Apparently they’re doing a chest X-ray.”
Lohan stars as Ashley, the luckiest girl who ever walked the earth, but the preceding week gave the ingénue a painful reality check. Four days earlier, at a press conference held in the Long Island law office of Dominic Barbara (whose client list includes Joey Buttafuoco), Michael Lohan, Lindsay’s father, announced his intention to sue his estranged wife, Dina, for a portion of their daughter’s earnings, or about $3 million annually. He went on to describe both women as “emotionally unsound,” and demanded that they submit to drug and alcohol testing. The next day, Lindsay’s attorney sent a seven-page cease and desist letter to news outlets across the country, warning them against publishing any aspects of the account of a man who is prohibited by 14 court orders from approaching his wife and daughter; who has had numerous arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, jumping bail and issuing bad checks; who has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse; and who was incarcerated in 1990 after defrauding people in connection with commodities futures trading. Later that day, Lindsay Lohan was sued by two Los Angeles residents who claim she injured them in a traffic accident last year.
But when Lohan opens the double doors of her New Orleans hotel suite that evening, nothing about her smiling, heart-shaped freckle-face, with its giant, gleaming eyes, or the astonishing warmth of her body language, conveyed by a pair of endless arms that wag and flail ebulliently, suggests that she has just returned from the hospital—or that the gruesomely public collapse of her parents’ marriage has shaken her out of the rapture of young stardom.
“I think I should have a press conference,” she says, bouncing into the impeccable sitting room of an otherwise disastrous suite, with piles of clothing everywhere and empty Wendy’s boxes strewn beside an orange Birkin bag. “He didn’t do anything for my career, except go out and not come home at night and make my mom and me stay up and wonder where he was and then show up three days later. So I don’t think he deserves anything. He doesn't even deserve my respect.” She rolls her eyes. “I didn’t even know about the press conference, actually. I’ve asked everyone who works with me not to tell me anything because I’m trying to focus on my job. And I already have people saying I’m dancing on tables at bars where there aren’t even any tables—so I don’t know how that’s physically possible—and then people on the set are like, ‘Well, maybe you’re sick because you were going out too much.’ So I have enough to deal with. Oh, but I did hear that my dad was suing me for alimony, and I’m like, I was never married to you!” She giggles. “So what is it for, abandonment?”