Feb. 28, 2012 at 4:16 PM ET
Updated Wednesday, 8:45 a.m. ET: In an exclusive interview set to air in full on TODAY Thursday morning, Lindsay Lohan tells Matt Lauer that she is "clean and sober" and she wants "to continue to move forward and in the right direction."
The actress, who will host "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, also told Lauer, "I still need to go through the process of proving myself."
Lohan, 25, is one court appearance away from putting her legal troubles from a 2007 drunken driving case behind her.
Lauer asked her if, when they spoke last, the actress was in denial.
"Definitely," Lohan said. "And I think it was -- it's a scary thing to have to kind of express to people ... I wasn't as comfortable with myself then. I think it was a fear factor that I had about what was really going on. And, you know, I had to get that wakeup call."
Lohan also told Lauer that the temptation of night life and parties is something she's avoiding.
"That's not my thing anymore. I went out, actually, a few months ago with a friend. And I was so uncomfortable. Not because I felt tempted, just because it was just the same thing that it always was before. And it just wasn't fun for me. I've become more of a homebody. And I like that."
Lauer says he thought about Lohan when Whitney Houston passed away recently and asked the actress whether news of the singer's death registered on a personal level.
"Not really. That's kind of a scary, morbid thing to discuss," Lohan said. But she admits that one can "fall into that world" of substance abuse that robs talent. "I've experienced things like that ... and it's a really sad factor that can come into play in people's lives sometimes if you don't recognize it."
It may be her change in lifestyle, or at the least the perception that there has been a change, that will help the actress get back to work.
"Do you think people have gotten back, or can get back to the point where they trust you?" Lauer asked. "In other words, professional people? You know, if they say to you, 'Come host 'Saturday Night Live',' that's a big commitment. And do you think the producers and directors of movies and television projects are going to get back to the part where they can go, 'You know what? Yeah, we can count on Lindsay. We can bank on her?'"
"I think that that's gonna take -- I think that takes time," Lohan said. "And I think that it's actions. Because people can say things all they want, but I think I still need to go through the process of proving myself, you know, with 'SNL,' being on time, being, you know, keeping my -- can't say the word -- but stuff together."
Lohan offers details on reports that she's set to play Elizabeth Taylor in her next project.
"We're in the middle of casting and figuring -- we start production soon," Lohan said. "I've been doing tons of research. But I've always kind of researched her. She's always been a fascinating woman to me. So I'm really honored. And I will not let anyone down, especially myself."
Asked about that need to qualify her commitment, Lohan says she understands how it might be scary for people to invest in her.
"I don't want people to have that reason to be scared anymore. So being able to have this opportunity with 'SNL' and the film, I'm gonna do what I'm supposed to do, and enjoy doing it, and do it as best as I can."
Tune into TODAY on Thursday, March 1, to watch Matt Lauer's exclusive interview with Lindsay Lohan.