Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lindsay Lohan - Marilyn Monroe.

Lindsay Lohan - Marilyn Monroe.

In 1962, photographer Bert Stern shot a series of photos of Marilyn Monroe that have collectively come to be known as “The Last Sitting.” Taken during several boozy sessions at the Hotel Bel-Air, the photographs are arguably the most famous images ever captured of America’s most famous actress: Monroe, sleepy-eyed and naked, sips from a Champagne glass, enacts a fan dance of sorts with various diaphanous scarves, romps with erotic playfulness on a bed of white linens. Six weeks after she had posed, Monroe was found dead of an apparent barbiturate overdose.

Lindsay Lohan Tricked into Topless Marilyn Monroe Photo Pics

Forty-six years later, Stern has revisited his classic shots with Lindsay Lohan, another actress whose prodigious fame is not quite commensurate with her professional achievements. Stern, who shot the photos on film rather than digitally, told me he was interested in Lohan because he suspected “she had a lot more depth to her” than one might assume from “those teenage movies.” Indeed, many in the film industry believe that Lohan has yet to pursue projects equal to her gifts. Without putting too fine a point on it, you might say Lohan has, like Monroe, a knack for courting the tabloids and tripping up her career. (Readers will remember that Lohan had her own Billy Wilder moment two summers ago on the set of Georgia Rule.) Stern said the project also grew out of his interest in “controversial women,” or “bad girls,” like “Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.” Monroe was, in a sense, the original tabloid queen.

On comparing Marilyn Monroe and Heath’s Ledger’s tragic deaths: “They are both prime examples of what this industry can do to someone… I don’t know. I’m not them. But I sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen to me.”

On posing nude: “I was comfortable with it… I didn’t have to put much thought into it. I mean, Bert Stern? Doing a Marilyn shoot? When is that ever going to come up? It’s really an honor.”

On the Monroe photos Lohan revisits: “Here is a woman who is giving herself to the public. She’s saying, ‘Look, you’ve taken a lot from me, so why don’t I give it to you myself.’ She’s taking control back.”

“It’s eerie,” Lohan said of the painting, a Christmas gift, “because it’s this picture of her, and it’s kind of cartoony, and there’s a big bottle of pills next to her, and they’ve fallen over.” Lohan called Monroe’s suicide “tragic,” and then added, elliptically, “You know, it’s also tragic what just recently happened to someone else.” I asked whether she was referring to Heath Ledger. She nodded: “They are both prime examples of what this industry can do to someone.” Why some and not others, I asked, since it has often seemed that the thrice-rehabbed Lohan might meet a similar fate. Lohan replied with a flicker of annoyance: “I don’t know. I’m not them. But I sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen to me.” Still, one wonders whether Lohan’s participation in this project, given all the spooky parallels, isn’t the photographic equivalent of moving into a haunted house. (Which, in fact, she may have already done.)

The original photos, however, were distinguished by an almost claustrophobic intimacy between photographer and muse. In the first session, Stern persuaded the entourage of stylists to leave him alone with Monroe. The shoot thus took on the symbolic (if not the actual) contours of a liaison. The rise of the celebrity industrial complex has rendered this sort of tense pas de deux all but impossible. At the Lohan shoot, the crowd included Lohan’s manager, her security guard, and her younger sister, Ali; a makeup artist and assistant, a hairstylist and assistant, a stylist, a manicurist, a sentry to watch the borrowed diamonds; Stern, his manager, and two photo assistants. Lohan and Stern worked in an adjoining room, while the rest of us hovered outside like groupies at a backstage entrance.

Lindsay Lohan - Barefoot Candids at Rehab Center

Lindsay Lohan - Barefoot

Paris Hilton And Lindsay Lohan Party Together At Apple Loung.