Even after 58 years at the helm of "Playboy" magazine, Hugh Hefner can still be surprised.
The 85 year-old "Hef" tells E! News that he was initially skeptical about the possibility of having Lindsay Lohan on the cover of his magazine, but was eventually surprised (pleasantly) by the end results of the now-infamous pictorial.
"It really came as a surprise to me," says Hefner of the proposal to shoot Lindsay. "I kind of had mixed emotions about it initially, and then it turned into something bigger than life."
He claims that the troubled starlet's erratic personal life and legal troubles clouded the issue.
"I wasn't quite sure where she was at in her life, obviously," he says. "It depends on whether it's Tuesday or Thursday."
Hefner admits he threw out the first photo shoot, calling the pics unflattering and unpolished. He then went back to basics with a Marilyn Monroe-inspired look. He also had to convince an initially reluctant Lindsay to pose completely nude.
"I think it was essentially mama and the folks around her that kept pushing for less nudity," claims Hefner. "And I said, ‘We're doing a nude pictorial here. We're going to do it in a very classy way and we're going to do it in a way in which it will not be forgotten."
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"The pictorial and the concept for the pictorial came from me," he continues. "She had done semi-nudes before. I wanted to do something that would be memorable. So what is more natural, since she is a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe, than do something that is a tribute to the red-velvet, Tom Kelley photo shot of Marilyn Monroe that was our very first Playmate?"
The images were leaked on line last week, forcing Playboy to release their January issue 10 days earlier than anticipated.
"It became a stocking stuffer!" joked Hefner.
Selected Reading: E! Online, Huffington Post, Hollywood.com