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Council play key role in getting Lohan movie to Mayo


LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION Lindsay Lohan is pictured with an actor as they filmed a scene from Netflix movie ‘Irish Wish’ at the Octagon in Westport last week.  Pic: Conor McKeown

Anton McNulty

If it weren’t for the travel chaos in Dublin Airport at the start of the summer, Lindsay Lohan would not have been running around Westport in a wedding dress last week.
The American actress was in town to film scenes for her latest film, ‘Irish Wish’, to the delight of passersby. Close to 200 crew members were on hand for three days of filming for the Netflix movie, with shooting mostly taking place around the Octagon in Westport and at Knock Airport.
The producer of ‘Irish Wish’ is Irish-American Michael Damian Weir, whose family roots are in Knockmore. He is also a distant cousin of current Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Seamus Weir.
The film was due to take place in Dublin and Wicklow, but because of the chaos in Dublin Airport, the film crew had to find an alternative airport – and Cllr Weir was on hand to influence his cousin.
“The chaos at Dublin Airport meant they had to find another airport to shoot, and I was able to persuade Michael to choose Knock. The film was supposed to be shot completely in Wicklow, where the crew are based, but Michael fell in love with Westport and wanted to bring the movie to Mayo.
“It really was a battle to get them out of Wicklow to Mayo. I was able to work with Mayo County Council to bring them to Knock to shoot there, and we eventually persuaded them to shoot some scenes in Westport. There was 190 crew members, and they were really impressed with Westport. They would love to come back again,” he told The Mayo News.

Production studio
Michael Damian Weir, who goes by the stage name of Michael Damian, was a successful actor and singer in his youth, starring in US soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless’ in the 1980s.
Cllr Weir said he first met his cousin in 2017 when he came to Mayo tracing his roots, and they have stayed in touch ever since.
The Independent councillor said that the biggest draw-back to locating films in the west of Ireland is the expense of moving crew who are based in the east of the county.
“There may be an opportunity to invest in a production studio in the west of Ireland because the production crews were really impressed in what they saw. They would love to make more movies in the west, but the big obstacle is the expenses involved in having to provide accommodation to the crews. It is something we may have to consider going forward because it is a big business,” he said.

Great buzz
The sight of Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan in Westport set tongues wagging around the town, with many people trying to get a glimpse of the 36 year old. Lohan plays the lead role in the Netflix romcom, which is set in modern-day Ireland. The movie is due to be released on Netflix in time for Valentine’s Day 2024.
Westport councillor Christy Hyland said the movie created a ‘great buzz’ around the town and that the exposure created by the film would be good PR for the tourism town.