As if that bit of casting didn't raise eyebrows high enough, there are also some rather flesh-baring love scenes, including a foursome. So, did Lohan have any reservations about appearing topless in the film?
Screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis explained to MTV News, "Well look everyone has a contract where they specify what they are comfortable with and what they are not comfortable with. So her contract was gone through quite carefully. Signing on for that role she completely knew that that was going to be part of it, and I think the first discussion with Lindsay was about the nudity and the film's sexuality and she had no problem with it. She said 'Let's do it. And then of course I guess she got cold feet at the foursome scene. But what can I say? She was a trouper."
Parts of the film revolve around Lohan's Tara, a less than wealthy Hollywood social climber, and Deen's Christian, an independently wealthy Hollywood wannabe producer, who are dating but also welcome visitors to their bedroom. Those exploits are filmed by Christian on his cell phone. The dynamics of that type of relationship interested Ellis.
"I was thinking a lot about transparency," he explained. "James has this speech in the beginning of the film about transparency and this surface propriety that's eroding and [how] people should just be honest with each other, up front with each other. [I was] just thinking about how technology doesn't let us lie anymore. The transparency and the limits of secrets right now in our society [is a big part of the movie]."
The film not only explores their power dynamic, but also the struggle of up-and-coming actor, Ryan, who is cast in Christian's horror film thanks to Tara. Did we mention that Tara and Ryan also used to date? The relationships in the movie are sordid, to say the least.
He explained, "Everything I've written I've have to had felt or experienced to some degree. Now that doesn't mean I'm killing someone ... 'The Canyons' started out as a genre movie. I'm pulling a lot of stuff that's going on in my life and I've known a lot of actors like the character Nolan Funk plays, the Ryan character. And that is a dark story. I wanted to write about that some more. I also wanted to write about the idea of being in a relationship with somebody who has nothing with someone who has money. How does it change the dynamic of the relationship?"
He continued, "For some reason, that power dynamic was interesting to me. The dark side of Hollywood [now] is really about you. Will you allow yourself to go into this thing after you've been warned a million times? What does happen is, yes, it's bad, and then you realize it's a little bit worse."