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Troubled actress flirting with point of no return

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 said.

After her latest drug woes, Lohan (24) will struggle with an already damaged reputation.

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 begged his former wife to let him "have a relationship with my daughter". He said that Lohan was "around the wrong people".

Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred said that Lohan's notoriety as a drug addict and party girl had superseded her talents as an actress and that producers would be looking to cast her because of the infamy surrounding her: "It's sad, but that's how she is branded and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."

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 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 key issue is whether studios and producers would be willing to insure Lohan.

Woody Allen has spoken of being unable to secure bonds for Downey Jr and Winona Ryder, who was convicted of theft and vandalism after being caught shoplifting in 2002.

Steven Gaydos, executive editor of Variety, said 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 four of all-tabloid, no product."

Larry Rudolph, who masterminded Britney Spears's public rehabilitation, has taken over as Lohan's manager.

Mr Gaydos said: "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."

Mr Goodridge said 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," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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