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James Franco directs Lindsay Lohan in R.E.M. video

Lindsay Lohan in the James Franco-directed video for R.E.M's Blue.
Lindsay Lohan in the James Franco-directed video for R.E.M's Blue.

Her much-hyped acting comeback may have gone down like a lead balloon, but it's back to the day job for the irrepressible Lindsay Lohan.

The 26-year-old wayward starlet pops up in (suspend your disbelief) a James Franco-directed music video for disbanded rockers, R.E.M.

The newly-released, grainy, shaky promo accompanies the track Blue from 2011's Collapse Into Now, the band's final album before they called it quits after 31 years together.

Last year, 127 Hours star Franco signed on for R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now Film Project, which enlisted a host of artists and film-makers to produce short films for every single track on their swansong album.

"I went to people I really wanted to work with and I could trust them to do whatever they wanted. They had absolute free rein. In many instances I was surprised, in many instances I got what I wanted," R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe said of the project in March 2011.

"What I wanted wasn't primarily important though, what was important was to trust the directors with something as precious as a brand new song."

A year and a bit later, and Franco's effort has materialised.

The moody, five-minute video features Liz & Dick star Lohan posing pin-up magazine style for a photographer, played by fashion snapper and old pal Terry Richardson, while washed out footage of Los Angeles fade in and out.

Franco also makes an appearance - in drag, of course - while vocals from Stipe and Patti Smith accompany the dizzying images.

Check out the video here.

R.E.M. officially called time on their band last September.

"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and coconspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the band wrote on their official website.

"We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."

'AN INSTANT CLASSIC OF UNINTENTIONAL HILARITY'

Meanwhile, critics have been less than impressed by Lohan's "train wreck" portrayal of silver screen icon Elizabeth Taylor in made-for-TV movie Liz & Dick.

Lohan had hoped that the movie, which charts Taylor's tumultuous relationship with Welsh actor Richard Burton, would help resurrect her career, but early reviews have been less than favourable.

The Hollywood Reporter branded it "half train wreck, half SNL skit" and called Lohan's performance "woeful".

"Lohan is woeful as Taylor from start to finish," said reviewer Tim Goodman. "But, whatever you do, don't miss Liz & Dick. It's an instant classic of unintentional hilarity. Drinking games were made for movies like this. And the best part is that it gets worse as it goes on, so in the right company with the right beverages, Liz & Dick could be unbearably hilarious toward the tail end of the 90-minute running time."

The New York Daily News wrote that the film, which co-stars former Outrageous Fortune actor Grant Bowler as Burton, failed to capture the spirit of Taylor.

"It's tempting to say the movie's big problem is that Lohan is no Liz Taylor," it read. "And she isn't - though that's not entirely her fault. There aren't all that many actresses, or women, who can stop a room simply by walking into it."

But not all the reviews were whiffy.

Variety's Brian Lowry described the film as "actually pretty good, all things considered".

'WE HAD SERIOUS CHALLENGES TO DEAL WITH'

The reviews come just days after executive producer Larry Thompson confessed that working with Lohan involved some serious challenges.

"Producing a movie with Lindsay is not for the faint of heart," Thompson said, according to E! News.

"We had serious challenges to deal with due to her probation and her history," he said.

"Therefore we had to make a deal where there were pages and pages of 'what if' clauses. There never was a 'what if she can act' clause. It was about, 'What if there is a car accident? What if there is a violation of her probation [and she's] incarcerated?' Those 'what ifs' were plenty. She might be the most insured actress who ever walked on a soundstage. We tried to insure ourselves against things that could and, in fact, did happen."

But the producer has nothing but praise for Lohan's performance.

"Overall, my gosh, relative to the performance we got and the movie we were able to make because of her, the pain was worth the pleasure. And the audience is going to benefit from the risk we took and the reward that was gained," he added.

Lohan told the Mirror last week that she had to fight for the role of Taylor.

"I fought to get the role in Liz and Dick because I related to her so much because of her position in the public eye and the media obsession with her, and the ups and downs in her relationships and life," she told the tabloid. "And that's aside from her love for diamonds!"

Lohan is also trying hard to lose the "bad girl" image, according to the tab.

"I love acting and that's what I started out doing and it's unfortunate that people began to know me as a celebrity rather than an actress," she said. "I can only hope to gain respect back through my work."

She continued: "I care what people think but I am who I am and it's unfortunate that some of the things that are meant to be kept private have been exposed and if I had the choice I wouldn't have had it that way.

"I've drawn from experiences and from things I've seen and grown up with and I don't want to go back."

The movie airs on 25 November in the US.

Feast your peepers on the Liz & Dick trailer here.

FAST GOSSIP

And finally...

* Charlize Theron shows off brunette buzz cut for new movie.

* Say what? Cameron Diaz says "every woman wants to be objectified - it's healthy".

* Evan Rachel Wood tweets pregnancy denial: "No baby on the way here!"

* Adele is "glowing" after son's birth, says pal.

* Did Justin Theroux invite Brangelina to his wedding?

* Scarlett Johansson's new boyfriend revealed.

* That's amore! Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis pack on the PDA in Rome.

* Nicolas Cage continues to pay off tax debt with acting gigs.

* Anne Hathaway is getting clucky.

* Kelsey Grammer not losing any sleep over Kendra Wilkinson diss.

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