Why she stopped working, whether it was by choice or by circumstance, is not entirely clear. What is clear is that life largely out of the spotlight has mellowed her. “Whenever you slow down, you realize that every little thing can make you happy in a different way,” Lohan says. She moved to Dubai in 2014, where paparazzi are illegal (“I found it to be a sacred space for me. I could do my own thing, and nobody bothered me.”), and married financier Bader Shammas, whom she calls the love of her life, earlier this year. Though she launched a podcast, The Lohdown With Lindsay Lohan, in April (“It’s refreshing to be the curious one”), we became largely accustomed to our greatest export in repose.
But seemingly out of the blue came the 2021 announcement that Lohan would be returning to acting with the Netflix holiday rom-com Falling for Christmas. “It’s hard to explain the rush of happiness that I got because I hadn’t done a movie in so long,” she admits, saying she got “a little panicked” throughout production about the possibility of any leaks. “You want your movie to be kept under wraps because you don’t want scrutiny on it even before it’s finished.” And it’s Lohan’s presence on a film set that, no matter what the project would have been, was going to attract attention. To that end, it seems like no coincidence that Lohan opted for a holiday rom-com as her first film in nearly a decade as opposed to the story of a wanted fugitive.
In her time away, the film industry has radically changed. Streaming has overtaken the space. The days of eight-month shoots (as was the case with Lohan’s film debut in 1998’s The Parent Trap) have been upended by six-week shoots, which compress the budget. It’s something producers hope is not reflected in the end product but also something that radically alters the experiences of actors, whose time occupying a role and on set is consolidated. “The world of film now is just so different,” Lohan says. “You can put a blue screen up anywhere and make the backdrop anything, and as actors, our job is to imagine that we’re in that place, whereas with something like The Parent Trap, we shot in London. We shot in Napa. We shot in L.A.” In today’s world, the Switzerland-set Falling for Christmas was instead shot in Park City, Utah. “Everything is such a quicker process these days. Everything got sped up in a way,” she adds.