Could the real Lindsay Lohan please stand up?

THERE’s the Lindsay Lohan we all know: the one with two drunk driving offences and repeat stints in rehab; the one in the tabloids, falling into a cactus and partying it up in Cannes when she should be in court.

Then there’s another Lindsay: the one her mother defends as a normal young woman coming of age in Hollywood; the one her business partners in the fashion world describe as prompt, professional and focused as she prepares to launch a 280-piece collection; the one Robert Rodriguez cast in his upcoming movie Machete; and the one taking on a role her peers declined – that of porn legend Linda Lovelace in a film that has Hollywood abuzz.

So which one is the real Lindsay Lohan? And can the one who earned accolades as a young star and worked alongside Meryl Streep overcome her hot-mess persona?

The next chapter for each Lindsay has already begun. She’s due in court next Tuesday for a hearing to determine if she violated her probation on those drunk-driving charges – and faces jail time if she did.

But as soon as she’s clear of her legal troubles, she can start work on Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, a gritty, violent tale about porn, prostitution and domestic violence that stands to be the make-or-break role of Lohan’s career.

Writer-director Matthew Wilder has total faith in his star, despite ample criticism from his peers over his choice. Though some have said she won’t make it through the month-long shoot, he’s confident she’s game for long days on set and his script’s emotionally challenging, sometimes shocking material. He says she’s got the depth to embody Lovelace, a woman who claims she was forced into prostitution and porn by her violent husband and once made a bestiality film with a dog.

Casting Lohan, and having her promote her role in Cannes – where she claimed her passport was stolen, causing her to miss a court date – helped secure financing for Inferno, Wilder says.

And he thinks her performance in his movie could turn Hollywood’s tides in her favour.

“Just because right now there’s all this negative stuff being spewed about her, there’s this core of worth, personally and creatively,” he says of the 24-year-old actress.

Then there’s her fashion brand, 6126. What began as a line of leggings has been reborn as a complete collection of sexy, sparkly pieces perfect for the club-hopping set.

She’s also developing two handbag lines, and there are plans for shoes and cosmetics to follow as 6126 becomes “a complete lifestyle brand,” says her business partner, Kristi Kaylor.

But if Lohan is so together, how come it often looks like she’s falling apart?

The press picks on her, says Kaylor.

She believes the same readers who delight in her misbehaviour are actually rooting for her to succeed.

For Wilder, her upcoming director, there’s little question whether she will. Lindsay’s troubles are a passing fad, he says, and that “three years from now, if you could fast-forward, it will be like, ‘What was all that about’?”

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox