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A Good Story is Worth Repeating: Arrow Greenlights Linda Lovelace Biopic Inferno

from – So far the Linda Lovelace biopic Inferno has been a disco inferno of cast changes, insurance concerns, mistaken identities, rumors, drama, and directorial tumult.

Actually, since the early Nineties there’s been talk of a Lovelace movie.

Ron Howard’s “people” had contacted me at AVN saying they had an interest in doing one. But that project never got off the ground. In 2007 Anna Faris was supposed to have been playing Lovelace when the title “Inferno” first surfaced in connection with a Lovelace film project to be directed by Matthew Wilder.

Just to be on the safe side, Scarlet Johansson’s name was also being tossed around as though she were going to be the designated driver in case Faris pulled a flake job.

Nothing came of either situation although Faris’ father, Jack, weighed in on the issue when New York Magazine decided to get cute and smug with an article putting his daughter’s reputation on the line fortaking the part.

It was Anna herself who pulled out of the project a year later when she decided to devote her career to comedies. Which is probably for the best if you ever saw her in Just Friends.

Then we heard Rose McGowan was stepping in but that didn’t work out. Then the rumor mill spun a story that Sam Rockwell was going to play Chuck Traynor. Not a bad choice at all, come to think of it.

It was then that the NY Post began all the rumors about Lindsay Lohan taking over the Lovelace role. Lohan supposedly mentioned it to a girlfriend and the Internet lit up.

Except Lohan got the Lovelace projects screwed up because no one to this point knew there was a second Lovelace project. The director of that one, which is titled “Lovelace”, is Rob Epstein and he, of course, denied Lohan’s involvement.

Then when Chris Hanley, who produced such other films as The Virgin Suicides and American Psycho, seemingly contradicted that statement by announcing Lohan was on board, he actually meant “Inferno” and not “Lovelace”.

The formal announcement for Inferno was supposed to have been made at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival which by now everyone knows was a disaster for Lohan because she had a court appearance in LA for a mandatory probation hearing and used the Cannes promotion as an excuse for not being there.

Lohan also claimed she had her passport stolen in Europe and was unable to make it back to Los Angeles in time for her court date. But the fact that Lohan was also photographed partying in Cannes didn’t help matters.

None of this additional ink must have impressed Sam Rockwell because he bowed out once Lohan was officially on board. A Los Angeles judge wasn’t impressed, either, ordering Lohan to wear an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet which the Inferno backers objected to, saying it would interfere with the shoot whose production dates were being pushed back time and again.

As if everyone wasn’t confused enough already, the LA Times reported that Bill Pullman was going to play Hugh Hefner in the film. Apparently, Pullman worked with Matthew Wilder years ago on the little-seen indie “Your Name Here.”

Wilder evidently showed Pullman the Lovelace script he had been working on but that was pretty much the extent of the conversation.

The Pullman story came from someone named Wali Razaqi, who claimed he was a producer of the film. Razaqi later had to recant saying he was “misinformed” and that Pullman would not be in the movie after all. Denials went all around dissolving Pullman of any artistic slumming.

But once Razaqi’s name was mentioned, producers Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner jumped in and said they never heard of Razaqi and that they were the rightful producers on the project.

Razaqi still insisting he was a producer on the film, said his company’s name had been on the “Inferno” script that had been sent around town for months.

Director Wilder then had to explain that Razaqi was an old friend who had been involved with the movie, but that Hanley and Gertner were, indeed, the “bona fide” producers.

Then, breathing some credibility into what everyone thought was a Chinese fire drill of a project, Lohan posed for photographer Tyler Shields in some scantily clad pix portraying the Lovelace character and it was off to the Tabloid races once more. All this accompanied by the lip-smacking rumors that Linday would be doing full frontal nudity.

Jay Leno began making jokes: “I guess Lindsay’s concerned that since she’s playing a porn star, she’s worried that the ankle bracelet will keep getting caught in her earring. That’s always a problem.”

And Lohan began making comments voicing her annoyance about Leno’s jokes.

Wilder fiercely predicted that Lohan was going to blow everyone’s mind with her performance. However Perez Hilton leaked a story indicating that no one could take the script seriously [because he had a copy of it].

The following lines from the movie appeared on Hilton’s website as to prove the point:

* “To me, there is nothing more delicious than gism. I love it! I like to smear it all over my face like Ponds Cold Cream!”

* “Is there anything in this life I like more than c***sucking? Okay. Well, one thing. On OCCASION. I love it when my man Chuck socks it to me in the a**.”

* “I once took on a pro football team-and I don’t just mean two at a time! I mean more!”

When Lohan was subsequently sentenced to time and probation for a string of drunk driving offenses, her participation in Inferno was all but considered moot. However Wilder kept proclaiming his undying fealty with rose-colored quotes about Lindsay.

With Lohan’s sentence interrupting the start of production, Wilder insisted the film was “fully financed” and would start shooting once her jail term was done and she was ready to work again.

Despite Wilder’s blind sense of partisanship, word began spreading that Lohan was off the project because of insurance regulations and that unknown actress Sarah Scott would be replacing her.

“I don’t know how this story started, but I even took a call from a very upset Dina Lohan [Lindsay’s mother] and I had to tell her that there was no need to panic,” Wilder told when the story broke.

Wilder, in turn, said that neither he nor the producers of the biopic had met with Scott and were standing by Lohan – who was released from jail early, two weeks into her 90-day sentence over violating probation following a 2007 DUI.

“Look, even if Angelina Jolie wanted the role we would still be sticking with Lindsay Lohan, I can’t make myself any clearer than that,” Wilder added.

But when Lohan flunked another dug test as a condition to her leaving the state for Louisiana where the tax climate is more favorable, Judge Elden Fox seemed to have put the kabosh on the entire project.

By this time Lindsay’s father Michael Lohan was weighing in saying he wanted his daughter out of the movie.

“Why would a girl of Lindsay’s caliber stoop to doing a movie about a stripper who was a porn queen who got raped by seven executives at one time and wound up dying? How dark is that?” he asked.

“What father would want to see his daughter in that kind of position? The best thing for Lindsay would be to step back and not do anything for a while.”

Not to mention that Lovelace’s family also took a dim view of the proceedings.

“She would have absolutely hated the idea of a film being made about her life. And I also hate the idea,” Lovelace’s sister Barbara commented.

“It’s disgusting to keep dragging up her life like this. No one from the film company has told me about it. I had absolutely no idea this was going on. This will kill my father. He has taken about all he can take. These people are all just money-hungry. Why can’t they let my sister just rest in peace?”

By November, 2010, Lohan made the decision to drop out of Inferno. She said the project no longer felt right. To hear Wilder talk, she was fired. Nonetheless, he wasted no time with his “Plan B” by replacing Lohan with Malin Akerman, who shot to fame in the Vince Vaughn comedy Couples Retreat.

Akerman told USA Today that she was impressed with the way that Inferno’s screenplay tackles sensitive subject matter.

“I’m very excited. It’s a beautiful script,” she said.

“It’s a story of a woman’s life, who was really tortured… And it needs to be told.”

Now that the story’s being told, Arrow’s Ray Pistol which owns the movie Deep Throat was asked to comment.

It’s a well known fact in the adult industry that Pistol has been conducting a years-long search for the next Linda Lovelace, irrespective of the mainstream project.

The previously mentioned “Lovelace” project was supposed to have Kate Hudson playing the title role, but Hudson’s pregnant. Which doesn’t matter because Pistol has decided togive his blessing to Inferno.

“They have a signed deal; the other project got a cease and desist,” comments Pistol.

“They’ve ignored it, but Hudson got pregnant and they aren’t doing anything. A lot of their funding came from Japan so I would say that project’s on hold for awhile.”

Pistol is quick to admit that he liked the idea of Lohan playing Linda Lovelace allalong.

“But I could sympathize with the director and producer with the problems that were developing. You didn’t know from one month to the next if she was going to be in jail or available to shoot. So you couldn’t base the movie around someone like that.

“Whoever plays Linda Lovelace, this is a heavy, heavy role. I looked at Akerman and gave my approval. She’s a pretty, pretty girl and down for doing it correctly. I think she’ll do a good job.”

Pistol reveals that there was a third Lovelace project that no one knows about.

“They had a pretty good script. Then suddenly these other guys were putting together Inferno without realizing it needed copyrighting.

“They quickly came to a realization that a collaboration was the way to go. The first script was shelved and the Inferno script won out.”


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