Director Paul Schrader found something redeeming — and quite like Marilyn Monroe — in the hot mess that is Lindsay Lohan.
The director wrote an essay for Film Comment about Lohan's organic on-screen believability, which he discovered while filming the indie thriller, "The Canyons," due in theaters in August.
"I think Lohan has more natural acting talent than Monroe did, but, like Monroe, her weakness is her inability to fake it. She feels she must be experiencing an emotion in order to play it. This leads to all sorts of emotional turmoil, not to mention on-set delays and melodrama. It also leads, when the gods smile, to movie magic. Monroe had the same affliction. They live large, both in life and on screen. This is an essential part of what draws viewers to them."
Their magnetism is a product of their chaos, he explained.
"We sense that the actress is not performing, that we are watching life itself. We call them 'troubled,' 'tormented,' 'train wrecks' — but we can't turn away."
Schrader picked up on other ways the starlets are alike while reading James Goode's book, "The Making of the Misfits," a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the production of a 1961 drama starring Monroe.
"Tardiness, unpredictability, tantrums, absences, neediness, psychoframa — yes, all that, but something more," Schrader said, "that thing you can't take your eyes off of, that magic, that mystery."
He also pointed out what makes them different —namely the 50 years that separate them — and held the media partly responsible for Lohan's endless supply of crazy.
Lastly, he gives the poor girl some credit:
"It's difficult to maintain self-discipline in a world of easy gratification," Schrader said of a celebrity environment that took shape post-Monroe. "It must be exhausting."