Lindsay Lohan praised for new movie 'The Canyons'

James Deen as Christian and Lindsay Lohan as

James Deen as Christian and Lindsay Lohan as Tara in "The Canyons." (Credit: IFC Films)

Lindsay Lohan's sexually explicit low-budget film with porn star James Deen, "The Canyons," premiered at Lincoln Center last night, with director Paul Schrader appearing in person to praise the actress for entering a new stage of her career.

"Lindsay has moved out of her ingénue phase," he said, comparing the 27-year-old actress to older screen sirens such as Angie Dickinson and Ann-Margret. "I think she wears the new phase quite well."

"The Canyons," written by novelist Bret Easton Ellis ("American Psycho"), stars a sometimes topless Lohan and porn veteran Deen as lovers who film their trysts with strange men and couples they meet through Internet apps. One scene details an orgy in which both Lohan and Deen get intimate with same-sex partners.

Schrader, whose film credits include "American Gigolo" and "Cat People," said the movie is about "kids who have been raised in a world of pornography."

"The Canyons," which marks Lohan's first starring role in a feature film in six years, was not produced by any major studio. Financed partly by the filmmakers and partly through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, it was made for a scant $250,000. Lohan reportedly was paid $100 per day during filming and, according to Schrader, did her own makeup and wardrobe.

Schrader praised Lohan's performance in the film, but acknowledged that Lohan's well-known reliability issues continue to haunt her.

"I would work with her again in a heartbeat," said Schrader, who fired the actress for being late to the film's first day of rehearsal before hiring her again. "If she can get a reputation for reliability, she has an enormous career ahead of her."

Lohan is scheduled to guest-host E!'s late-night talk show "Chelsea Lately" on Monday, just a few days after she is set to end a court-ordered stay in rehab.

"The Canyons" is scheduled for release on Friday.

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