“Irish Wish” Director Janeen Damian Makes a Rom-Com Dream Come True with Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan discovers the magic of romance high atop the majestic Cliffs of Moher in the windswept romcom Irish Wish. When book editor Maddie Kelly’s (Lohan) crush launches into a whirlwind engagement with her friend Emma (Elizabeth Tan), Maddie turns green with envy. Yet, when she gets the chance to switch places with her romantic rival, she discovers fate sometimes takes the winding, scenic road to love.

Director Janeen Damian (Falling for Christmas) invested a lot of planning into granting Maddie’s wish. The enchanted moment where everything changes was a major set piece of the film.

“It was a combination of real wind – which was actually a giant, jet propelled fan – and it was really cold that day. Lindsay was so brave,” Damian recalled. “We were blowing her with this fan, and we had CG elements as well with the petals. We actually created the pillowcase. Our production designer made that pillowcase out of a painting that we chose for the flowers to be able to melt. So, some of it was physical elements and we shot some of the elements in camera which they put in after the fact, but that entire piece was orchestrated and choreographed before we ever shot it.”

Lohan’s understated, relatable reactions to the zany mishaps that unfold are a comedic pot of gold. Maddie gets tangled in hilarious and endearing misadventures and does her best to play it cool. Damian praised Lohan’s commitment to the demanding scenes, which allowed the production to creatively explore on set.

“Lindsay is really coordinated and really game for playing physical comedy. She loves it. It’s her happy place, so having her really inspired us to come up with ideas utilizing what she does best,” Damian noted. “My previous career was as a dancer. Lindsay danced and her mother was a dancer, so we speak to each other through choreography and thinking in dance moves when it comes to the physical comedy because it literally is choreography in a way, and it has to have a rhythm.”

Irish Wish, Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024

Maddie is well respected in her career but hopes for her personal life to blossom like her professional one. Perhaps the most charming relationship in the film, however, is between Maddie and her mom, Rosemary. Despite a busy schedule, the legendary Jane Seymour found a day and a half to shoot her entire role.

“[Lindsay and Jane] did meet each other in Ireland on set for the first time, and they looked at each other and they both went, ‘Oh my gosh, we look exactly like each other!’ They’re the spitting image,” Damian laughed. “They’re phenomenal together. At the premiere, they got a chance to spend a lot more time together and they’re both such amazing, talented, strong women, so it was really fun to see Jane play Lindsay’s mother. That was a dream of ours, and when we told Lindsay, she was over the moon when we told her that Jane was going to do it.”

Irish Wish, Jane Seymour as Rosemary Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024

Maddie’s adventure, filled with disasters and delights, plays out against a thrilling Irish backdrop. Damian and her team tackled the challenging elements to deliver some of the most breathtaking views in the gorgeous country. Unlike wide, American highways built for speed, the crew navigated steep and winding European roads to access some hidden gems.

“Those streets are really very narrow and they got narrower when we were there because the streets are lined with these giant hedges. There’s a certain time of the year when birds are nesting, and they do not cut them back,” Damian explained. “We were there during the time they were nesting, so they do not disturb them, so everything just kind of grows and gets narrower and narrower and narrower until all the birds fly off, and in the fall, they can cut back. It is hard to get around, especially with big trucks.”

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024

Every spot in Irish Wish makes our travel must-see list. If you want to take a tour of Maddie’s magical adventure, these are the places you won’t want to miss.

“We had an amazing location scout that introduced us to the Killruddery mansion, and that place is owned by a beautiful family that was willing and open to let us do everything that we needed there and many other places,” Damian said. “We shot in Dublin, we shot at Guinness Lake, we shot at the airport Knock, and Wicklow. In general, it is just such a beautiful town.”

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Netflix © 2024

The film’s details are vivid, dreamy, and immersive. The colors are perfectly coordinated, and the sets and props are lavishly designed to allow you to fall right into the fantasy. Irish Wish is truly a sweeping, decadent romcom.

“Our heads of department were just magnificent,” Damian gushed. “Grant Montgomery, our production designer, had such a vision. The sets were in harmony with the costumes. Tim Aslam is amazing. He dressed everybody, even the background performers so that everything was cohesive. Our director of photography (Graham Robbins) did an amazing presentation of what the color palette was going to be and we all worked together. Netflix also was so collaborative. They want to see everything and see the vision, and it makes us all come together and compare notes so that nobody shows up sitting on a red couch in an orange outfit. That happens sometimes where you’re like, ‘Oh gosh! I didn’t realize with continuity, and this is what you’re wearing.’ They were paying attention to all those details.”

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ed Speleers as James Thomas and Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Netflix © 2024

Damian’s husband – stage, screen, and music star Michael Damian – served as a producer on the film. The Damians have Irish heritage like Lohan, and they even called local family for help while filming during the tourist season in County Mayo. Even creating a romantic soundtrack that captured the spirit of the film turned out to be a family affair, too.

“I think the music is really spectacular in Irish Wish, and Michael worked really hard on that,” Damian gushed. “Michael actually has a song in the film that he performed. Lindsay’s sister Aliana has two songs in the movie. I think that’s another element of Ireland. It’s such a musical country and their traditional music is so spectacular. We were just talking about how the youth embrace their culture, embrace their history, and music is such a big part of it. We really had a lot of fun infusing that into this.”

Whether blood relations or not, Damian says the entire cast and production team are now a part of their story.

“We were so excited to have Ed Speleers, Alex Vlahos, and Ayesha Curry. They were just spectacular. Everybody brought such a different energy and enthusiasm for the movie,” she said. “We were really thrilled, those three were brand new for us. We were fans, of course. Then, there were a couple of people we had worked with before. Jacinta Mulcahey and James Rottger were both in Much Ado About Christmas. Some people are new, but now they all have a place in our hearts. Now they’re all a part of our family.”

Irish Wish, (L to R) Ayesha Curry as Heather with Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Netflix © 2024

Irish Wish has become its own magical dream come true for the production team and fans.

“When [Netflix] came to us and said, ‘We’d love for you to team back with Lindsay again, and this takes place in Ireland,’ we went, ‘Sign us up!’” Damian recalled. “The script (by Kirsten Hansen) is so great. The story has a really fun, nice message to it. It’s a great romp, and it’s actually a classic rom-com.”

Irish Wish is now streaming on Netflix.

For more on big titles on Netflix, check these out:

“Damsel” Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo on Flipping the Fantasy Script With Millie Bobby Brown

“Black Mirror” Season 7 Teaser Reveals Return of Fan-Favorite Storyline

Jennifer Lopez is Lost in Space in First “Atlas” Trailer

Featured image: Irish Wish, Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly. Cr. Patrick Redmond / Netflix © 2024


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.