Elizabeth Taylor was the queen of diamonds. She was exquisite, a silver screen legend, an icon, the queen of the Nile and, above all, very damaged. So of course, a damaged celebrity would be perfect to play her – and who is more damaged and more tabloid featured than Lindsay Lohan? She’d make the perfect Liz.
I like to imagine that is what went down in Lifetime’s casting session more than a year ago. That way, it makes sense. That way, Lohan’s performance is just way less offensive. The truth is, I have no idea why they really chose LiLo, but I will tell you one thing. It had nothing to do with the girl’s acting ability.
The thing that made Liz Taylor special was her ability to nail every take, every time. No one ever saw her sweat on screen. She embodied Cleopatra, though the movie was terrible. She held her own next to Paul Newman in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and showed her versatility as a raw angry woman in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” cementing her foothold in film culture.
And in an hour, Lohan managed to make me forget how much I loved Elizabeth Taylor. Honestly. That is how bad she was.
Well, maybe I’m being a bit overdramatic. But she certainly was the iceberg to the Titanic that was this made-for-TV Lifetime movie.
Lohan’s performance was laughable. She had zero charisma on screen. She switched back and forth from delivering lines like a bored pre-teen to an overdramatic amateur with a fake accent. Her best lines in the film involved nothing but a heavy sigh, and her most natural scenes were the times she lit a cigarette. If the end result was this poorly acted, I shiver to think what the cutting room floor looked like.
I have to be fair to good old LiLo, I owe her that for giving life to “Mean Girls” and “The Parent Trap.” This movie was a train wreck from the start. It was terribly written. Poor Grant Bowler, who played Richard Burton, had no chance with the sappy cliché script. The production was laughably bad, and the green screen should have received a shout-out in the credits for a main part. The film’s story did nothing to tell the story of Taylor and Burton. It failed to reveal anything about Taylor’s life or even her personality.
The eeriest part of this is, Elizabeth Taylor herself predicted the failure of this film before she died last year, and on Twitter no less. As she so eloquently put it, “No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor but Elizabeth Taylor.” So far, so right.