Sometimes life imitates art, then films it and makes more (albeit dubious) art. So it is for the made-for-TV Elizabeth Taylor biopic Liz and Dick, starring sometimes-talented and almost-always hot mess Lindsey Lohan. The film itself sounds like a train wreck — TIME magazine warns us not play any drinking games while viewing lest we get alcohol poisoning (just like the actresses, how fitting). At least, we have the eerily similar real-life drama to fulfill our somewhat sordid curiosity.
For starters, there’s the substance abuse. In the past few years, Lohan has been in and out of rehab, accruing almost as many DUIs as acting awards and spending more time in jail than in front of the film cameras. Taylor had similar troubles. She admitted she was addicted to sleeping pills and painkillers for 35 years, and went to rehab twice for alcoholism and prescription drug addiction.
Both women had tumultuous romantic lives as they searched for “true love.” Taylor was married eight times to seven different husbands, and had a variety of public romances besides. Lohan is on the same track. Perhaps, her most famous lover was DJ Samantha Ronson, who she dated for two years. Lohan has also been linked with a variety of men, including James Franco, a former (male) cheerleader, playboy Vikram Chatwal, and others I haven’t dredged up from Google. The two have had plenty of other tabloid drama — Taylor was plagued with serious health problems all her life, and newspapers were always reporting her on the brink of death. Lohan’s been in the news for stealing a necklace and disrupting filming as a result of her partying.
Of course, both actresses spent almost their entire lives in the spotlight. Both lacked any semblance of a real childhood, which is perhaps the root of the problem. Lohan began modeling at the tender age of three and acted in over 60 TV commercials before she was 10 years old, when she starred for a year in a soap opera, then in Disney’s The Parent Trap. Taylor also started acting early, starring in her first film There’s One Born Every Minute at age nine. Taylor was taken out of public school and educated at MGM studio as she pursued her career. She felt cut off from other children and resented it. Both actresses had domineering stage mothers who pushed them to keep acting, arguably beyond what was healthy for the girls.
Despite the destructive aspects, I hope the similarities between the two actresses continue. Like Liz, I hope Lindsay matures as an actress after her few bad films and produces iconic works, uses her influence to support good causes, gets a lucrative book deal, and finally passes away at a healthy old age. Shenanigans and all, I hope she’s a Liz, not her idol Marilyn.