Before Lohan entered the room at the Century Plaza Hotel, a publicist from Disney informed the crowd of 20 journalists that they were not allowed to ask about three axes of Lohan’s life: her father, her weight loss and the recent accident in which her car was struck by a paparazzo’s. That is, anything personal. I quipped back, "Oh, so everything we’d want to write about." After a forced laugh, the Disney publicist stoically added that if we did indeed ask any questions pertaining to the aforementioned topics, the interview with Lohan would be discontinued.
When Lohan did finally arrive, she was escorted by no less than five publicists and one security guard. Breckin Meyer – who plays Lohan’s brother in the film – joked that until meeting Lohan on the set of this new action-comedy, he "only thought the president had security guards."
And, so, with verbal sanctions against us, we were forced to ask questions – the gall! – about Herbie: Fully Loaded, in which Lohan plays the legacy of a great racing family whose internship at ESPN is stymied when she meets the car with a heart-and mind-of gold that teaches her to follow her dreams and develop into the champion racer she was destined to become.
"I’m a more cautious driver now," says Lohan of what she took away from the film in which she and Herbie eventually make it to the NASCAR finals. "I have two brothers who knew a lot more about NASCAR than I did. I met Jeff Gordon one day on set and they were freaking out!" Lohan says Gordon was concerned because – with a cameo in the film – he had never really acted before. But Lohan mollified his concerns by saying she had never driven a racecar but, well, here she was.
Still, there were acting challenges – like her acting partner being a VW bug.
"Yeah! I had to talk to the car and have entire scenes with it. I was kind of used to it, though, because in Parent Trap I had to act against nothing [because I was playing a twin to myself.] But I like playing against actors."
During the making of Herbie, it was reported that Lohan had a breakdown on set due to exhaustion. A poorly worded pun about exhaust-ion is made in the hopes of sneaking a personal question past the gaggle of publicists.
"Yes, I did get sick on this movie. I was, as they reported, exhausted. It was because between takes I was working on my album. So, I would finish a take and run to my trailer to sing. I was working so much – too much. I’m a workaholic. And it all just got to me. I don’t like taking a break. I’m shooting another film Just My Luck and when I’m done with that I want to get involved with some charity work for abused and underprivileged children."
OK. So that clears that up. But so much of what we (seemingly) know about Lohan comes from supermarket tabloids – which Lohan admits she reads – so what does the actress want us to know about herself (other than that she’s a workaholic)?
"I’m honest, sincere, I don’t take things for granted. I’m not some crazy Tara Reid-esque party girl like the tabloids make me out to be."
Of course, with Lohan being involved in several accidents onscreen, surely the question of her most recent accident can be breached.
"It happened so fast. At first, I didn’t believe it happened. The first thing I thought of was getting out of the car, because my door was jammed shut. I had a family friend who died in their car because their door was jammed shut, and I was just so nervous when I was in the same situation. I thought ‘I can’t get out of the car! I can’t get out of the car!’ And my friend who was driving with me hit her head on the window and couldn’t get her door open. Finally, we got out, and they still kept taking pictures of me! I couldn’t believe it! I haven’t gone to the doctor yet; I have to go. But, I sneaked out without Dean (her security guard) so I guess I learned my lesson!"
We did, too. Due to the query-breach, Lohan was escorted out by the publicists – but, again, like that Lohan we don’t know, she escorted herself back in to take pictures with her adoring journalists-slash-fans. Don’t believe everything you read. (Except this article.)
Herbie: Fully Loaded releases in theaters June 22.