Can Lindsay Lohan Make A Comeback? Experts Weigh In

As the actress faces a 90-day jail sentence, industry veterans are divided on what it means for Lohan's career.

Lindsay Lohan’s 90-day jail sentence caps a long history of legal issues reaching back at least to her 2007 DUI arrest and comes at a time when the 24-year-old actress is trying to piece her career back together. The jail time, which is to be followed by a 90-day in-house stay at a substance-abuse clinic, will prevent Lohan from publicizing an upcoming movie and delay production on another one. What’s more, Lohan will be unable to continue promoting her new fashion line, 6126, which is expected to begin shipping to stores this month.

So just how much will Lohan’s professional life suffer now that her ability to jumpstart new projects and promote existing ones has been compromised? Will the actress — once a rising star with box-office hits like “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls” — survive her current woes and make a Hollywood comeback?

“The simple stroke is that she already destroyed her movie career,” said David Poland of MovieCityNews.com. “Is she insurable on a film right now? Probably not. What was a bad reputation has turned into a legally defined problem.”

To wit, Lohan has already lost at least one job because of her public notoriety, having been fired from “The Other Side” in April. Writer/director David Michaels explained it this way at the time: “The producers of the movie have reported that financiers have been resistant to finance the movie with Lindsay in the lead role,” adding that Lohan was simply “not bankable.”

Still, the director of “Inferno,” a biopic in which Lohan is set to star as 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace, has came out in support of the embattled actress. “I am 100 percent behind Lindsay and can say the same for everyone involved in the production of ‘Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story,’ ” Matthew Wilder told MTV News in a statement after her jail sentence was announced on Tuesday. “Indeed, we are proud to have this remarkable artist work on our film.”

Other producers shared the sentiment. The Associated Press reported that Lohan is in negotiations for a part in the upcoming Willie Nelson movie “The Dry Gulch Kid,” and that production would be postponed if she wanted the role. “We’re behind her,” producer Kerry Wallum said. “We’ll wait until all of this blows over.”

How long will that take? And will Lohan be able to step back into the limelight? That depends on how she handles herself, both in private and in public, in the weeks and months ahead, according to one Hollywood PR vet.

“She can take this and she can learn from it and it becomes a cathartic event in her life,” said Howard Bragman, founder of publicity firm Fifteen Minutes. “The one thing we haven’t heard from Lindsay is, ‘I’m sorry, I have a problem, I’m going to resolve it.’ She doesn’t have PR problems, she has life problems. You can’t fix your problems until you admit you have them. I think she needs a lot of therapy. She needs to let her career be second and her life be first.”

Before she can get her life back, though, Lohan is headed to prison, and Bragman maintained that if she deals with it appropriately, she has a shot at resurrecting her career.

“I would [tell her to] shut up until she gets of jail,” Bragman said of an ideal approach for the actress. “I would be working quietly on my post-jail career plans and life. Robert Downey Jr. was certainly one who’s overcome some demons and come back in a big way. I think it’s possible for Lindsay. This town is full of people who have overcome problems.”

At least one industry insider thinks the widely viewed footage of Lohan sobbing as the judge laid out her sentence will actually help her fortunes.

“Is Lohan more marketable now?” wrote Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com. “Will raising the dough for ‘Inferno’ be a tad easier? I would think so.”

“There’s also the matter of LiLo’s acting talent — which she has a fair amount of — and the fact that her addictions have been taking her down and that she really needed a combination wake-up and face-slap,” Wells wrote. “I know that the lives of people who make constant whoopee always turn tragic — hurt careers, disease, early death, financial issues. That judge did LiLo a huge favor.”

“Has she hit bottom yet?” Movie City News’ Poland wondered. “Doesn’t seem like it. And once she does, she’ll still have to be in ‘movie jail’ for years before she is allowed a comeback. If she comes back, it will have to be ironic. It’s not like she has a big personality, like Downey. Cute is over. Sexy is already wearing too much makeup. So where is there to go, other than VH1 or ‘The 700 Club’?”

Do you think Lindsay can make a career comeback? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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