Stephen Rodrick‘s “Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie” (NY Times, 1.10.13), a chronicle of Paul Schrader‘s agonizing ordeal with Lohan and The Canyons, is the best making-of-a-disaster piece I’ve read in years. It’s so tightly written that it hums.

After a rough cut of The Canyons is screened for friends at the Brill building, “Schrader’s friends were noncommittal, but Schrader was ecstatic,” the article reads. “We adjourned to a nearby bar. He was certain the film would get into the Sundance Film Festival. Maybe they’d recoup their investment tenfold.

“‘We thought this was going to be My Dinner With Andre, but it’s a real film. We [expletive] did it.”

“But this was The Canyons so the ending couldn’t be that smooth. I flew back to Los Angeles and watched the film a few days later with Ellis and Pope. Ellis was the least impressed.

“‘The film is so languorous. It’s an hour 30, and it seems like it’s three hours long. I saw this as a pranky noirish thriller, but Schrader turned it into, well, a Schrader film.’

“Pope and Ellis agreed that the opening scene wasn’t working. Pope called Schrader about reshooting it, and he was angrily dismissed.

“‘We could shoot it again for $15,000 in a day,’ Pope said. Then he corrected himself. ‘Well, with Lindsay, we’d have to budget two days, but it’s doable. But he won’t do it.’

“He was right. Schrader wouldn’t hear of it. And for good reason. It took two months and the quasi intervention of Lohan’s father to get Lohan to finish two hours of looping for the outdoor scenes. In the interim, Lohan punched a psychic, was accused of hitting a pedestrian in New York, was under investigation by the I.R.S. and watched her parents melt down on a very special episode of Dr. Phil.

“Meanwhile, Ellis, Pope and Schrader battled over the film’s final cut. Pope screened a rough cut of The Canyons for Steven Soderbergh. Intrigued, Soderbergh offered to do an edit of the movie if he was given the footage for 72 hours.

“Schrader said no.

“I met him one last time in Toronto, where he was working on the film’s soundtrack with the Canadian musician Brendan Canning. He had just learned that the film had not been accepted by Sundance — the film is scheduled to be put up for sale by William Morris Endeavor later this month — and was in a fouler-than-usual mood.

“‘The idea of 72 hours is a joke,’ Schrader said. ‘It would take him 72 hours to look at all the footage. And you know what Soderbergh would do if another director offered to cut his film?'”