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Dueling over Linda Lovelace

May 02, 2011|Steven Zeitchik | Los Angeles Times

The film world is sufficiently enamored of Linda Lovelace to develop not one but two biopics about the porn pioneer. But can even one get off the ground?

Lovelace is the "Deep Throat" actress who later became an anti-porn crusader; she's seen as a '70s icon, albeit a troubled one, who broke ground and then regretted it afterward.

A year ago, Lindsay Lohan was set to play the lead in "Inferno," one of the two independently financed movies about the colorful Lovelace -- before Lohan's troubles got her the boot.

"Watchmen" star Malin Akerman is now on board to star, confirms "Inferno" director Matthew Wilder, who adds that, though there's no financing in place at the moment, the project hasn't lost steam.

Wilder said in an email that he and the film's producers are making a deal with Louisiana-based investors that they hope to have closed soon. They aim to finish casting the film -- including the lead role of controversial Lovelace ex-husband Chuck Traynor -- in time to shoot this summer.

In the meantime, directors Jeffrey Friedman and Robert Epstein ("Howl") continue to push forward on "Lovelace," their own take on the star born Linda Boreman, in what they call a "nontraditional biopic."
Reached by phone, Friedman said, "I'm pretty optimistic about (the fate of the project) today, but that does change by the day."

The casting process, he said, is continuing. Kate Hudson had been rumored for the lead role, but Friedman declined to confirm she was on board. The filmmakers hope that the project will come together within the next few weeks.

Producers will generally back off a project if a competing film beats it to the production starting line. But the fervor to make movies about real-life figures can sometimes lead to two rival films being made, which happened in the mid-2000s with a pair of films about Truman Capote.

The "Lovelace" filmmakers see in their subject's life a kind of pop-culture origin story. "The seeds of celebrity culture were just beginning to sprout then, and while the phenomenon of Linda Lovelace feels so familiar with all the Web celebrity stuff we're inundated with now, back then it was really something new," Friedman said.

It's not a surprise that a Lovelace movie would have trouble getting made. The 2005 porn-world documentary "Inside Deep Throat" (in which Lovelace figured prominently) was distributed by Universal, but the movie world has become more conservative since then. Lovelace also isn't an easy personality to decipher. Said Friedman, "You need to take an interesting perspective on the story because her own perspective on her life kept shifting."

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