Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor in "Liz & Dick."
It's a Lohan low-blow.
Some of my fellow critics have been venomous in their reviews of Lindsay Lohan's performance in the made-for-TV movie Liz & Dick, which also stars Grant Bowler and debuts tomorrow night on Lifetime in both Canada and the United States.
Newsflash: Lindsay Lohan never has been Meryl Streep. Lohan's performance as Elizabeth Taylor in Liz & Dick isn't going to win awards, but it's not the worst thing ever. So back off a bit, folks. If it weren't Lindsay Lohan, critics merely would be shrugging and moving on, rather than dipping their pens in poison.
By the way, do you know who also wasn't Meryl Streep? Elizabeth Taylor.
Regardless, Liz & Dick isn't really about the acting careers of either Taylor or Richard Burton (Bowler). Rather, it chronicles one of history's most high-profile and initially scandalous love stories (they both were married to other people when their affair began on the set of Cleopatra in the early 1960s).
"I was very familiar with him as an actor and less familiar with her as an actor," Bowler said. "In Australia (where Bowler grew up), at least to me, he probably was more famous than her. The reason being, he was a peer of the English stage and down where I come from, that meant a great deal.
"The one thing I wasn't as aware of was the ins and outs of their relationship. She probably was the last pure movie star from the golden age of Hollywood, effectively Hollywood royalty. He was an incredibly well-respected actor in terms of his sheer ability and prowess. So they were very different animals right from the start."
Bowler does a great job nailing Burton's trademark voice in Liz & Dick.
"Well, thank you, I played with it a bit," Bowler said. "He was a Welsh boy from a very small village who didn't speak English until he was a teenager.
"On stage, he used to project through his chest and his nose to get the sound out, so whenever he was acting I let him have that really sharp edge to his voice. But I let his Welshness come and go, according to the context and who was around."
Liz & Dick shines a light on two famous people who brought out both the best and the worst of each other.
Whenever Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were together, either on screen or off, every single person in their vicinity was watching them at all times. That claustrophobic atmosphere is recreated in Liz & Dick by way of Lohan and Bowler being in practically every scene.
"Our dynamic kind of mirrored theirs, since Lindsay comes from a world with paparazzi chasing her down the street and childhood stardom and everything that comes with that, and I come from Australia, where actors are just another crew member carrying gear around," Bowler said.
"That dichotomy in a lot of ways actually worked for us."
Whether Liz & Dick works for you remains to be seen. I think Grant Bowler does a terrific job. And Lindsay Lohan? Well, at least keep your expectations realistic, okay?
'SNL' season finale full of goodbyes As Stefon would say: This Saturday Night Live had everything. Kanye West, Jennifer Garner, Anderson Cooper, a musical super group, a surprise guest appearance from Amy Poehler and what looks like the departure of not one, but three cast members. Bill ... Read more
Reporter congratulates Matthew Perry on sitcom axe In what could be one of the biggest live celebrity interview fails of all time, a Fox sports reporter congratulated Matthew Perry on the cancellation of his show “Go On” (which lasted one season) during an NHL game. The impromptu interview ... Read more