Last July, Lindsay Lohan flitted about the hair-and-makeup trailer near the Saint Paul, Minn., set of Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. After popping Prince's Purple Rain into the CD player, the actress, who had recently turned 19, was giddily digging through a box of birthday swag. ''I'm a huge fashionista,'' she said, holding up a pair of minuscule Tsubi jeans. She slipped them on, then took a seat in front of her hairdresser, who was mixing up a bleach solution to dab on the actress' roots. The naturally redheaded Lohan had gone blond for her role as Meryl Streep's morose, eye-rolling daughter in Prairie, and it was time for a touch-up. ''My hair is coming in red and black!'' she squealed, eyeing her dark crown in the mirror. In between (unintentional) inhalations of ammonia, Lohan chatted with EW about working with her idols, surviving a tough year, and proving to the world that she's not that party girl you think she is really!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, how did you end up in an Altman indie based on Garrison Keillor's public-radio variety show?
LINDSAY LOHAN: I read the script a while ago. I heard that Meryl was involved, and I thought, Yeah, sure! [Laughs] And then I heard Robert Altman, and I said, Well, he's making another movie. Because, you know, he's getting older and he's done all these amazing movies. I hadn't been too familiar with all his films and immediately I started researching and wanted to get involved. So I committed to it. And then all these other people [joined] the cast, these amazing actors. So it's kind of been this weird, crazy experience. I feel so honored to be on this set. I'm the youngest one, and I'm working with all these people that I have looked up to. Just when you think all the cast is here, someone else walks in, like John C. Reilly. Then Woody Harrelson. It's incredible.
This is your first indie. I imagine it's been a pretty different experience than shooting your Disney movies.
I've never been able to do a movie like this, where you shoot one take the whole way through and you don't do too many close-ups and things like that. It's more like a play, which is nice because then the emotions are [right] there, much more raw. When you're in the scene you can actually see it build. You feel like you're with the character as opposed to a lot of movies where they do all these different shots. Then you know that someone had the time to fix themselves and maybe even blow fake tears in their eyes.
How does it feel to finally be taking more adult roles?
I was doing a lot of movies for younger kids. It was appropriate for my age at the time. And I'm aware of the fan base that I've accumulated. But at the same time, I need to do what's right for me, and not necessarily what other people want me to do. I want to work with these great actors and be in ensemble pieces, be able to indulge myself. This just feels so good this whole new experience [of] an independent where you don't have a huge trailer and you don't have all this money for the cast and the crew. And it's nice to be away from New York and L.A. everywhere that everyone always expects me to be. 'Cause I'm not that girl that everyone says [I am]. I don't go out all the time. It's not me. Like, I sit home and read my scripts. I've been writing a lot of lyrics, because I'm going to start recording again soon. It's just that I've been growing up in front of the public and people want to make certain assumptions. They have the wrong perception of me. I'm hoping this movie will show that.
Next page: Lohan on her next projects, working with Meryl, and the paparazzi