'What's kind of lost in a lot of the Lindsay discussions is the fact that Lindsay is a very talented actress,' Braxton Pope tells MTV News.
Lindsay Lohan is in the midst of filming her Elizabeth Taylor biopic for Lifetime, "Liz & Dick," and then she's expected to begin work on her next film, the sexy, L.A.-based drama "The Canyons."
While her casting isn't set in stone just yet, the film's producer said it's certainly on the right track.
"She wants to do it. We want her to do it. I would just say we have not worked out the specifics of her deal yet," Braxton Pope told MTV News. "Her participation in 'Liz & Dick,' I would just say we're very aware of. We told her in the first meeting that we would be in touch with the producer of 'Liz & Dick' to see how that shoot was going and to get intel. And she gave us all that information, so she was very comfortable with us reaching out and getting that information, and that was how we decided to proceed."
With production expected to begin early next month, Pope is aware of the outside perceptions of Lohan and he and his team — consisting of screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis and director Paul Schrader — are more focused on her ability as an actor than her tabloid drama.
"What's kind of lost in a lot of the Lindsay discussions is the fact that Lindsay is a very talented actress," he said. "She's very charismatic and she has a lot of acting skills. So her lifestyle and some of the things that she's gone through have tended to kind of overwhelm the fact, but Lindsay has kind of real talent. So for this part, we felt that she was really the right actor for a host of different reasons."
While they had been eyeing Lohan for a different role, she expressed interest in the female lead, and Pope said her enthusiasm for the part "resonated with us. ... With Lindsay we felt she was the best actress for that role."
The role will not only remind fans of Lohan's skills as an actress, but also introduce moviegoers to James Deen, as he transitions out of the world of adult films.
"I've met with James many times, and I feel like I have a good sense of who and what he is. We mentioned, obviously, James to Lindsay, and that wasn't an issue for her," he explained, noting that "we have not put them together yet" and he's interested to see what their chemistry will be like, since they are not only the film's leads, but also play lovers.
"He's a very interesting guy. ... He's entering the mainstream, and this is the biggest step in that direction," Pope added. "So he's definitely excited, and he is preparing very diligently for the role. And he's taken it very seriously. We've been pleased with everything about his approach to the project, for sure. He's always very natural, and the guy was extremely prepared. It was very smooth."
According to a poster for the film, the tagline is "It's not 'The Hills,' " a reference to the popular MTV reality show that followed the glamorous lives of Lauren Conrad and her pals. This is expected to be a grittier take on young people and their struggles in Hollywood.
Deen's Christian is a "trust fund kid, power player and major manipulator, who is a film producer that enjoys filming his own three-way sex sessions." Meanwhile, Lohan's ex-model character, Tara, is his girlfriend who "has sold her pride for the material comforts Christian can provide."
Three other roles remain uncast: bartender and wannabe actor Ryan, Ryan's employee and fellow actor Gina, and former actress/yoga instructor Lindsay, who is carrying on an affair with Christian. Pope said casting decisions for those roles should be made in the next week.
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