Ayo Edebiri Deserves a Wee Role in Irish Wish

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images, Netflix

It pleases me greatly to report that Lindsay Lohan has found her lane and is seemingly sticking to it. That lane is, of course, the Netflix holiday rom-com. It started last year with the delightfully corny Falling for Christmas, in which Lohan plays an amnesia-afflicted hotel heiress. But her new project is a true revelation: Irish Wish, out just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, may not be the very first St. Patrick’s Day rom-com, but it’s certainly the first I’ve ever experienced and it’s nearly perfect.

In Irish Wish, Lohan plays an adorably clumsy book editor named Maddie Kelly (two first names, sure, why not?), whose hot and inexplicably British childhood best friend, Emma, is marrying Paul Kennedy, the best-selling Irish author Maddie works with and has secretly been in love with for years. Even after an airport meet-cute with much-hotter photographer James Thomas (two first names again, the first sign they should be a match made in Heaven), she wishes out loud that she were the one marrying Paul. A plot I’m certain you can predict ensues. The Cliffs of Moher are involved. Ayesha Curry plays Heather, one of Maddie’s friends. It’s wonderful.

But it’s not completely perfect, and that’s because it’s missing one major pillar of contemporary Irish culture: Emmy-winning actress Ayo Edebiri. It’s well established by now that Edebiri, who is Bajan Nigerian American, is also as Irish as Cillian Murphy or soda bread. So while Irish Wish’s gratuitous references to Guinness beer and Saint Brigid of Kildare are all well and good, they fall short of total Irish representation. To repair this, I have taken it upon myself to recast the many roles Edebiri could have played in this film. I’ve also created roles she would be perfect for in the sequel I’m sure must be coming. Sláinte!


Maddie’s aforementioned British bestie and the rightful bride of Paul. We already know Edebiri’s accent work is excellent, and she would bring a groundedness to Emma’s character that I know would have stopped me from asking questions about her backstory, personality, and motivations.


The barkeep at Scruffy Murphy’s Pub & Inn, located in an unnamed but seemingly small town in Ireland, knows James, the hot photographer, intimately enough to lend him his “old Triumph,” which turns out to be a very nice red convertible. James is a nature photographer who travels the world for his art, and while he is English, his deep knowledge of this particular small town in Ireland is explained away by his later telling Maddie he has been visiting Ireland since childhood. The film generally treats Ireland like one large easily traversable metropolis, which I found jarring at times. But I know if Murphy had been placed in Edebiri’s capable hands, she would have improvised some story to have it all make sense. She would have woven in a reference to James’s Irish family history or a particular photography project that had brought him to town repeatedly. And she already has experience playing a chef; I know she would throw a dish towel over her shoulder and pour beer with pizzazz.

The old Triumph and how Edebiri would watch over her vehicle as Murphy. Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Patrick Redmond / Netflix, Getty Images

Saint Brigid

This mischievous saint is constantly appearing, disappearing, and reappearing to cause chaos. She prompts the cancellation of a sheepshearing festival, Maddie’s sprint into James’s red convertible, and a minor injury that stops Maddie’s mother from leaving Des Moines, Iowa. Her charming, low-stakes mischief would have been even more enchanting with Edebiri’s sly smile to accompany it.

Book Clerk

This delightful creature absolutely forces James to take a free copy of Paul’s latest book — the one Maddie edited or, as is heavily implied, basically wrote — which he does not want. He has read only pre-Maddie Paul and therefore thinks Paul is a terrible writer. If Edebiri had played this role, I know she would’ve really hammed it up, perhaps thrusting the book more dramatically into the tote bag or waxing poetic about Paul’s best seller.

Tom O’Callaghan

Tom seems to be James’s Irish bestie, and this is indicated primarily by the way they greet each other in a pub he takes Maddie to after a rainstorm blocks the road on their way back from the Cliffs of Moher: “James Thomas, ya bastard” and “O’Callaghan, you swine,” followed by a tight bro hug. Edebiri would have absolutely bodied that bro hug.

Father Callahan

This guy’s energy is wise and bemused, and that’s a combination of emotions Edebiri would definitely have mastered. He explains a little bit about Irish culture to Maddie, and as Ireland’s ultimate representative, Edebiri would have been able to offer the necessary context about Saint Brigid. As it stands, he’s a bit too vague about it all.

A wedding planner in the sequel

Without revealing too much, it seems clear to me that the end of Irish Wish sets up a sequel I strongly believe will take place in Ireland and involve another wedding. Edebiri could play the couple’s wedding planner — she would be a bit scatterbrained but fun, and even though there would be a last-minute hurdle with the wedding, it would all end up going off without a hitch thanks to her creativity and resourcefulness.

Maddie’s editor in the sequel

Again, without getting into specifics, I do think the sequel will involve Maddie writing and publishing a novel of her own. Edebiri’s long-standing relationship with Thom Browne has provided ample evidence that she can absolutely slay in a blazer and any other piece a high-powered girlboss publishing executive might wear. I think in this role, she’d be kind of mean and wouldn’t really get what Maddie is trying to do at first, initially pushing her toward traditional markers of commercial success. But then, after experiencing something super-Irish firsthand, she’d experience an epiphany and help Maddie perfect the book in a way that’s true to her.

A local historian and/or librarian in the sequel

If we get a sequel, I think we’re going to unearth more of James’s story and potentially traumatic past, and in order to learn about that, which I definitely think will have some connection to Ireland, we need a researcher who will help him discover the truth about himself. In this role, Edebiri would have that classic Irish dry humor and hate James because of his English accent, but she would begrudgingly help him and eventually grow to be his real friend.

A maker of plaid dresses in the sequel

Nearly every look Maddie wears throughout this film involves a famously Scottish tartan pattern. She is especially partial to the plaids for dresses and wears several iterations. Maybe in the sequel, we’ll learn more about Maddie’s devotion to plaid when she visits a local boutique selling handmade plaid dresses. The proprietor of this business would be Edebiri, who would have to pull out her Scottish accent for this. She would be exacting with her designs and really upgrade Maddie’s look.

Ayo Edebiri Deserves a Wee Role in Irish Wish