Lindsay Lohan told Oprah Winfrey, in the much-hyped interview that aired Sunday night, that she was eager to get back to her day job.
"[I'm ready] to get the thing that has made me happiest my whole life back, which is to work really hard, stay focused and prove myself," she said in the chat, which aired on OWN. "I have to regain trust in people, in my career, that had doubts, and I fully respect that on their behalf. As long as I stay honest in myself and do the work I'm willing to do and have been willing to do and am doing, then nothing can stand in my way. I am my own worst enemy, and I know that."
Before all the arrests, the myriad court appearances and the six stints in rehab, Lohan was a Disney darling heralded for her sharply comedic turns in 2004's Mean Girls and 2003's Freaky Friday.
No one, back then, questioned Lohan's talent. But is that enough for the actress to prove all those naysayers wrong and get her career back on track? No, say the experts. Here's their advice.
1. Focus on staying healthy."You have to be clean for a while before anyone will trust you and will work with you, period. That comes first. Go to meetings. Do service. The business isn't going away. She needs to stay clean for a while and people will know that she has recovery under her belt and she's got her life back together," says New York-based acting coach Denise Simon.
2. Start acting classes. Lohan should go back to school to deliver on the promise she showed as a young star. "She needs to pull a Marilyn Monroe and get back into acting classes. She had a natural ability when she was a child actor and she has never expanded from that natural ability. It's the same as an athlete. If you stop training, you don't become a master," says L.A.-based producer and talent manager Constance Tillotson. "She needs to connect to a higher purpose in her craft. She needs to do it well."
3. Focus and work hard. Lohan's latest film, The Canyons, was slammed by critics, who commented on her phoned-in performance. And her previous roles did her no favors, either, which is why Lohan needs to shed her reputation as a hack for hire. "My friend did costume design on Liz & Dick. Everyone worked so hard on that film. She didn't care enough to give a great performance, to honor everyone else's work. She needs to figure out why she got into this business in the first place, find the love of acting and want to do it better," says Tillotson.
4. Start with small projects. When she's ready to really get back to work, Lohan would be wise to initially select small parts and play roles that surprise people: Think Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky's turn as a gung-ho personal trainer in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. And maybe even do some theater. "She needs to go slow and do some small projects. Find roles that are going to relate to her and use her experience and what she's been through. Do a small, teeny independent film. Find an acting moment," says Simon. "But none of that really matters if she can't stay clean. My advice is to get clean and stay clean. Go to acting class. Keep training. But for now, stay small."
5. Avoid fluff. We've seen plenty of Lohan making fun of herself, most recently in 2013's Scary Movie. We get it. She's ostensibly in on the joke and has taken a small role in HBO's Eastbound & Down, although much of her life isn't particularly funny. "She needs a nice serious role to show her chops, if she has any. Stop doing fluff," says actress Lucia Forte, the author of Acting Up! How to get your kidz in the biz! "She's got this reputation and I can't imagine a whole lot of people want her. I don't know how much say she has in her career. It would be a good idea for her to eventually do a TV series that keeps her working regularly."
Donna Freydkin, USA TODAY