Phase9 Entertainment

HERBIE: FULLY LOADED - Interview with Lindsay Lohan in Los Angeles

Lindsay Lohan had a high speed experience before she was ready to slip into the driving seat on HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. The 19 year-old star prepared for her introduction to the cute and magical Volkswagen known as Herbie, who made its screen debut in the 1968 hit comedy THE LOVE BUG by being a racing car passenger. This was necessary because in HERBIE: FULLY LOADED Lindsay plays a girl who is desperate to follow in the vapour trail of her dad - played by Michael Keaton - as a NASCAR winner. So she secretly gets Herbie all souped up and enters him in high speed races against the arrogant champion, played by Matt Dillon.

It was in order that she might look cool and in control on the race track that Lindsay was driven by experts at speeds of around 160 mph before going in front of the cameras. To prepare for the action sequences in HERBIE: FULLY LOADED Lindsay was a passenger in high-speed cars - an experience that she admits was scary. And when she meets the world's press for the launch of HERBIE: FULLY LOADED, the teenager admits that she was a little bit nervous at being driven at such speeds.

"When I first got in, I was quite frightened," she says. "I was sitting there and gripping onto the sides of the seat. But then it gets so hot you feel it through the gloves".

"It was really scary because you get very close to the wall. So you feel like you're actually going to crash into it and there's nothing you can do. But after that feeling, you feel like, 'I'm glad I did that, it was a great experience!' It was very exhilarating, so it was fun."

Lindsay has turned up a few minutes late for her meeting with the press in Los Angeles, but like a true professional, the youngster turns her tardy arrival into a joke.

"Sorry I'm a little late. Herbie was being a diva and I had to co-ordinate my dress with the car, so... it was important," she says.

Lindsay, of course, isn't the first star to be captivated by the cutest car in Hollywood history. The Volkswagen with va-va-vavoom has been at the centre of a long-running Disney franchise that started all the way back in 1968 with THE LOVE BUG.

In the latest comedy, Lindsay confesses that it was relatively easy for her to become captivated by No 53, her four-wheeled co-star. "Whenever someone gets their car, it becomes their baby. In the movie you form a bond with this car and you feel for it. He's the underdog and everyone always roots for the underdog, which I think is nice to see on film. My character forms a really great relationship with the car as well," says the smiling actress.

Lindsay also began to treat Herbie as a person rather than a vehicle as she proves by calling it 'he'. "At first I thought it was silly. It's like, how am I going to talk to a car? But I wanted to bring the relationship to life and have people really see how cute Herbie could be... it's kind of like a pet in a way," she says.

When it comes to driving, Lindsay describes herself as having a 'lead foot'. "There's a huge adrenaline rush when you're driving fast in cars," she says. "Going through learning how to race and seeing what the drivers have to go through and learning some manoeuvring skills I think helped me as a driver. Yes, it's nice to drive fast, but I don't encourage it."

Lindsay bought her first car after she did FREAKY FRIDAY with Jamie Lee Curtis. "It was a used BMW, and I put this different engine in it and it was really loud, I don't even know what kind of engine it was, to be honest. It's a great car, I still have it," she says, proudly.

Apart from driving Herbie, Lindsay other action stunt in HERBIE: FULLY LOADED meant that she had to learn skateboarding. She admits that she didn't take to skateboarding right away.

"When I first started skateboarding, they wanted me to wear the helmet because it's an insurance issue and they were nervous. I was really bad and I went up to Angela, the director, and said...'I think you're going to have to write the skateboarding out of the movie because I'm going to get hurt, I'm really not that good at this'.

"Then I started to push myself to do it and I got really good. So it was nice to learn how to do something else and prepare for my character, to look like she actually really skateboarded. I had a stunt double too, for things that we were just too nervous for me to do. Things that I probably would have got really badly injured doing."

Her high profile means that lots of myths and rumours have emerged about Lindsay Lohan. One of these rumours that Lindsay takes time to squash is that Disney decided she was too sexy for the movie and so they had to use computer wizardry to reduce her figure.

"Oh, goodness gracious... what do you think? To go through every scene... do you know how much money that would cost, first of all? And secondly, to go through every scene, that would take so much time... that is so silly," she says.

"People have a lot of time on their hands, it seems. I don't know what I did to deserve people saying those things about me. My sister was the one who told me that, and she's eleven. That was the one reason why it made me angry. But no, that's not true. It's flattering..."

In the movie Lindsay's character has a conflict with her dad when he discovers that she's racing cars. In real life, the actress says that she benefited from having the support and backing of her mother.

She stresses that as a youngster, while she was given the option to go on auditions, the important thing was that she should keep herself grounded.

"After I did THE PARENT TRAP my mom said, 'I know you want to do this and that's great and I'll support you. But I want you to go to school now and I want you to be with your friends and have a normal life'.

"And I think that keeps you grounded and I think that's important. In the movie my character Maggie's father is not very supportive of her at some point. And I think the nice thing about the movie is showing younger girls and boys and people in general to follow through with your dreams and don't give up. Because there was a point where she could give up and there's a point where everyone can give up. There are points where I wanted to give up, but I think pushing yourself and going through that makes you a lot stronger."

As a child Lindsay appeared in lots of TV commercials and TV shows before she starred alongside Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson in a hit remake of THE PARENT TRAP. Since then she has been on a career roll with hits that include CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN, the re-make of FREAKY FRIDAY and MEAN GIRLS. Next she'll play Meryl Streep's daughter in A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION which is to be directed by Robert Altman. This latest movie is a sign that Lindsay seems ready to move from teen comedies into more adult fare.

"I want to show my range," she says, adding that she's thrilled to be working with Streep and Altman. "I want to find things that are a bit darker and edgier and that have a stretch. Everyone looks for that in their life. But it's all about the timing."

Interestingly, while there is no doubt of her ambition, Lindsay stresses that the development of her career shouldn't be interpreted as meaning she's about to jettison her teen fans.

" I have a lot of younger fans that I've accumulated over the years and I want to keep that fan base and I don't want to send out the wrong message to them," she says. "But at the same time I also have to do what's right for me. I'll always want to do romantic comedies, I'm a huge Julia Roberts fan and she's been able to win her Oscar by doing that.

"But there are things that I'm looking into right now that are a lot different than this sort of thing (Herbie). So all will come in good time I hope."

She talks of producing movies and projects that excite her. A possible future film is a re-make of the Ann-Margret musical comedy from 1963, Bye Bye Birdie. "I'm a huge Ann-Margret fan. Yes, my hair will be back to red... eventually," says Lindsay who has become a blonde for A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.

While this is a movie that she'd love to do, Lindsay admits that it's her adoration for Ann-Margret that could be the very thing that prevents her from tackling Bye Bye Birdie. "It's such an amazing film and having met her, she is such a presence and so many people adore her in such a way that I don't know if I'd ever want to touch that."

Early in her career, Lindsay has already won awards and the approval of other stars such as Samuel L Jackson who is a huge fan. And Lindsay is thrilled that a star like Sam reckons she's doing a good job.

"He presented my award to me at the MTV Movie Awards. I went up on stage and I started bowing to him, just because I think he's fantastic. And then when I was walking offstage with him he was asking how I was because everyone's concerned because of the recent accident," says Lindsay.

"He then said, 'I've seen MEAN GIRLS five times'. And I said, 'Really? That's really cool. Thank you. It's an honour'. And then he said, 'It's Mariah Carey's favourite movie, she watches it every night'. I've actually heard that, which is so funny. So it's nice to hear that."

The accident that Samuel L. Jackson asked about was when a paparazzi smashed into Lindsay's car. Amazingly she is tremendously philosophical about what happened to her.

"I have a lot of great things going on right now and I feel very lucky and blessed for what's been going on, and I've worked really hard to get to this position... and I understand these guys are doing their jobs. There's a line that needs to be drawn, yes, I agree," she says of the current, potentially dangerous fad of paparazzi pursuing stars in cars.

She stresses that the important thing is that she wasn't badly injured and that her younger sisters or brother were not in the car at the time.

"Thank God I had no siblings in the car and there were no children involved and no one was severely injured. I do have bruises that are very obvious on my legs, but you know, I'm not going to let that get me down. It happens, bruises heal and I'm flattered that they cared that much to want to get my picture. People would do anything to be in a position that I worked really hard to get to, so for me to start complaining about it, it's the price you pay."

Recently Lindsay has been juggling her movie acting with singing and she confirms that she plans to do another pop album. "I'm not sure exactly when that's going to happen, probably towards the end of the fall," she says. "My first album I recorded on the set during this movie in my trailer and at my house. So I've learned how to balance my time better. So when I do my album I just really want to focus on that. What I like in music is changing and I want to go different routes and explore a little bit more, so we'll see what happens."

Growing up with success in the film and pop music worlds means inevitably that Lindsay has had to discover very quickly how to cope with intense media attention and she agrees that side of things can be tricky.

"It's hard because you have to live up to an image that people want to perceive you as, and the hardest part is, right now the tabloids - especially here - have an obsession with wanting to know more about celebrities," she says.

"Everyone feels like they're really accessible and they put you on this pedestal just to take you down, which is so strange. I have a younger sister and she and her friends see the movies that I do and they listen to my music. I have to be very careful of what they (tabloids) say about me, and they just make up everything that they can. So it's difficult. I'm learning and I'm growing and I'm getting into different things and wanting to do different things, and it's hard when people are always trying to judge you and make you feel bad about the decisions you make because it's not normal to grow up like that. I think you just take it for what it is, ignore it as much as you can, and just surround yourself with people that are positive and honest with you."

One of the most important things during all of this, she reckons, has been keeping her feet on the ground. "I think if I ever changed in any way, my friends would definitely knock me back into shape. But I'm not like that. I don't think I realise what I do, that people actually care, and it's very strange to me," she says.

Interview Copyright Buena Vista International