Liz & Dick (2012)
There is a scene in this biopic in which Elizabeth Taylor demands to be cast in The V.I.P’s. In an effort to persuade an unimpressed director, she advises him to think of all the free publicity her notoriety will generate. One can only assume it was a similar consideration that resulted in Lohan being cast as Elizabeth Taylor, for in all other departments she fails miserably.
Opening on the last day of Richard Burton’s life, the biopic cuts to somebody's idea of Hollywood Heaven, with Taylor and Burton seated in director’s chairs recounting their lives together. Along with a jaunty soundtrack and scenes of trailer-hopping, this clumsy device is used to link episodes of the couple’s stormy relationship as if it were a romantic comedy. Yet there is zero spark between the two leads and very few (intentional) laughs.
It may be a given that Lohan looks nothing like Taylor, yet it is her voice that totally destroys any illusion. While Taylor often remarked her weak voice inhibited her abilities as an actress, Lohan’s raspy sulking and screaming constantly prevents any acceptance of her portrayal as the screen icon. By comparison, Grant Bowler’s performance as Burton is far superior, which is too say it’s not embarrassingly bad.
Despite any perceived publicity advantages resulting from Lohan’s involvement, this biopic’s promotional budget still exceeded its production budget. Nevertheless, its debut screening received far less ratings than expected.
as Elizabeth Taylor
as Richard Burton
as Joseph L. Mankiewicz
as Anthony Asquith
Biopic depicts Burton and Taylor at 1966 Oscars ceremony, when Burton lost the Best Actor Oscar to Lee Marvin. The only nominees for Best Actor to attend the ceremony that year were Lee Marvin and Rod Steiger.
Biopic's scene recreations from Cleopatra (03:54), The V.I.P.s (04:30) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (06:06) are included in the clip below.