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Just My Luck   Full Production Notes     View All 2006 Movies
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Samaire Armstrong, Bree Turner, Faizon Love, Makenzie Vega, Chris Carmack
Directed by: Donald Petrie
Screenplay by: Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell, I. Marlene King
Release Date: May 12th, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some brief sexual references.
Box Office: $17,326,650 (US total)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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Everything changed in the wink of an eye.

Lindsay Lohan ("Mean Girls") stars in this comedy about a lucky woman who accidentally swaps her good fortune for a stranger's (Chris Pine) chronic misfortune. She plots against the guy to reverse her newly jinxed existence – until she finds herself falling for him. In this comedy, Lindsay Lohan plays Ashley, a young professional just out of college. She also happens to be the luckiest woman in the world, who has lived a super-charmed life and has always taken her good luck for granted. When she kisses a handsome stranger at a costume party, Ashley accidentally swaps her good fortune for his horribly bad luck, and her charmed life turns into a living hell.

About the Production

Ashley Albright (Lindsay Lohan) is the luckiest woman in the world, a person to whom all the good things in life have come far too easily. She can pick a lottery ticket at random and hit the jackpot. In New York, the world's busiest city, Ashley never has to wait for a cab. And she has a terrific job as an account exec at a prestigious public relations firm.

Everything goes Ashley's way. And now, she's been given a great opportunity to advance her career: she is to plan a masquerade ball in downtown Manhattan for record mogul Damon Phillips (Faizon Love) and his company. Jake (Chris Pine), on the other hand, is a bad luck magnet. His skies are always raining; his pants are always on the verge of splitting at the seams. His job is cleaning toilets at a bowling alley. But even a steady bombardment of catastrophes doesn't dim Jake's dreams.

 Just My Luck
Nicole Kidman in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus.
He thinks he may have his chance at the brass ring with his discovery of a rock band McFly. If Jake can keep his bad luck at bay for just one night, he'll sneak into a masquerade ball and get McFly's CD into the hands of music titan Damon Phillips.

On this night when dreams can be made or broken, fate brings Ashley and Jake together on the dance floor. Instantly taken with one another, they share an electrifyingly kiss - and with that one kiss, their luck switches places.

Suddenly, Ashley's dress rips. Her heel breaks. Her good luck seems to have finally run out. Jake, in his rush to catch Phillips before he leaves, ends up saving the record mogul's life and earning with that one simple twist of fate, the chance to make all his dreams come true.

As Ashley desperately races to regain the luck she blithely took for granted, she begins to see that it's not so much having good luck but what you do with it that counts, and that her greatest chance of redemption lies with the guy who holds the key to her sudden change of fate.

Lindsay Lohan shot to worldwide attention after having grown up before the camera - from her feature film debut as precocious estranged siblings in "The Parent Trap" to the acclaimed comedies "Freaky Friday" and "Mean Girls." JUST MY LUCK's Ashley Albright represents the actress' first adult lead. "It's a great story about coming of age and I thought it would be the perfect part for me to transition into adult roles," says Lohan.

"Ashley has got her head on straight and she's determined, which I think is great," Lohan continues. "But she has never been tested; she has never known what it's like to really work for something and through that experience learn what life is."

"Lindsay has such a warm and likable screen presence that you can't begrudge her character's initial good fortune," says co-screenwriter Amy B. Harris. "When Ashley is down on her luck and her life is literally falling down around her, Lindsay is able to bring a real sense of fun and broad physical comedy while still showing vulnerability."

Director Donald Petrie felt Lohan's performances in "Freaky Friday" and "Mean Girls" revealed a budding comedienne within her striking beauty. "Lindsay has a sparkling comedic talent," he says. "Her ability to make physical comedy flow so naturally while also being funny and charming, makes her an absolute joy to have in front of the camera."

Petrie has directed numerous actresses in breakout comedic roles, such as Kate Hudson in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality," and Julia Roberts in "Mystic Pizza." "I loved those movies," says Lohan. "I love comedy and I really wanted to work with Donald on this film."

Lohan found some of the physical comedy more challenging than she'd imagined. "You don't realize how hard it can be until you're actually there," she says. "You're reading the script and you say, `Oh, that'll be so much fun to do,' but then you perform the action or stunt, and that's the hard part. But it's fun when you can just let go and free yourself."

 Just My Luck
Bree Turner as Dana, Samaire Armstrong as Maggie and Lindsay Lohan as Ashley in Just My Luck.
Lohan's on-screen leading man, Chris Pine, appreciated Petrie's flair for physical comedy. "You know when Donald gives you direction that he knows exactly what he's doing."

Pine plays Jake, who works at a rock-`n'-roll bowling alley while nurturing dreams of someday making it as a record producer. "Jake is a guy from a small town who finally made it to New York City and is swimming upstream with thunderstorms and lightning to make it," Pine says.

"Jake is an unlucky schlub of a guy who, once it all turns around, you still believe will be dashing and charismatic without being arrogant about his good fortune," adds co-producer Marjorie Shik.

Pine came to the filmmakers' attention during video tests of young actors, from which he immediately stood out. "Donald saw something in Chris's eyes that was about heart and warmth," remembers producer Arnold Rifkin. "He approached the role with a wonderful, admirable spirit."

"I think the saving grace of Jake is that he's honest and optimistic," Pine says. Jake's relationship to 10-year-old Katy (Makenzie Vega, the young Nancy in "Sin City") adds a dimension to his character that makes him instantly likable. "Jake has accepted his rather unfortunate plight in life," says producer Rifkin, "being broke, looking after his young neighbor and cousin, Katy and helping her with her homework. He's not angry. He has no concept of fate. He didn't look for luck. He's just assumed Murphy's Law."

"Katy's his best friend," says Pine. "In fact, she's his only friend. Jake's luck is so bad that he has no friends his age. Their relationship was easy for me to relate to because I have a wonderful sister I'm really close to who also happens to be named Katie."

Missi Pyle, who is best known for her roles in the Tim Burton films "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Big Fish," plus the comedy hit "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," plays Ashley's boss, Peggy Braden, head of the prestigious PR firm, Braden & Co. Making sure Peggy's needs are met is just one of the tasks at hand during Ashley's big night at the masquerade ball, which must go smoothly for record producer Damon Phillips, played by Faizon Love (one of Santa's helpers in "Elf"). All the New York glitterati are there. But closing in is Jake who is gambling it all on getting the CD of the band McFly into the right hands.

"In order to get into this big, beautiful Masquerade Ball, Jake has to pretend he's a male dancer," Pine says. "Jake is not physically inclined in the least, and neither am I, so it's a nightmare to say the least." But it all turns around when Jake is pushed onto the dance floor with Ashley. Moments before, Ashley had been warned by a fortune teller, Madame Z (Tovah Feldshuh), that those who don't appreciate their good luck risk losing it forever. Ashley brushes off the advice, and joins Jake.

"It's a bit of a lark for her," says co-producer Shik. "She figures, `Sure, I'll dance with this guy, why not?' It's nothing to her but for Jake's character it's a really daring moment because he's been turned down so often. They just dance and get caught up in that moment and of course, kiss."

"In that moment our luck passes," Pine adds. "My bad luck passes to her and her good luck passes to me and all of a sudden I'm not accident-prone," he says.

 Just My Luck
Ashley (Lindsay Lohan) and Jake (Chris Pine) find love - and extremes of fortune - in New York City.
Though he's enchanted with Ashley, Jake also has a now-or-never shot at getting to Damon Phillips. "He's desperate to stay with this girl he's probably fallen in love with," says Pine, "yet he only has moments to get the McFly CD to Damon Phillips, and happens to save Damon's life in the process. The next day he has his own office and the band is signed and playing the radio - all because he kissed Ashley. Jake's struck dumb because nothing ever goes his way."

Ashley's best friends are Dana and Maggie, played by Bree Turner ("Bring it On Again") and Samaire Armstrong ("The O.C.," "Entourage"), respectively. "Dana's a bit older," says Turner, "and has been working a little, so naturally she's wondering, `Wait a minute! You get all of these things and I've been working my butt off and I should have it.' They're not horrible to each other, but it's just baffling to work so hard and not have the luck to get ahead, whereas Ashley gets everything she could ever hope for with very little effort."

Samaire Armstrong plays Maggie, who keeps her friends together through thick and thin. "She really believes in the bond between all of her friends and cares a lot about that," Armstrong says. "She's a struggling musician and doesn't want success if it means compromising her friendships."

"There's a nice dynamic between the three with Ashley being the most well- rounded," Turner says. "Maggie is the extreme of sweetness and I'm a bit more of the other extreme, hard-edged and intense."

Peggy Braden, Ashley's sophisticated boss, is played by Missi Pyle. Peggy is "likably mean," says Pyle. "She's a fun character." Adds Lohan: "On paper she's like a bulldog, no heart, cold. But Missi brings such a vulnerability to her character that makes it so much funnier."

"Peggy is a very tightly wound woman," Pyle says. "Her shoes are tight; everything she does is sort of severe and bottled up." When Ashley sets her up on a date with her neighbor, Antonio (played by Latin pop icon Carlos Ponce), Peggy's inner self is unleashed. "Everyone is shocked because Peggy is so uptight and Antonio is so easy-going," says Pyle.

The band Jake manages is played by real life British band McFly. With two solid hits in the UK, McFly (comprised of lead singer Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd) was brought to the attention of filmmakers through music supervisor Lisa Brown. "Petrie had a hand in choosing the songs, going through McFly's older and new works," says co-producer Shik. "He wanted to use the band's big hit in the UK, `Five Colors in Her Hair,' as a signature song in the film."

As Jake and McFly's stars ascend, Ashley's descends. After losing everything, she's forced to move in with her friends Dana and Maggie. But someone else takes an interest in her sudden bad luck. Not realizing it's the girl he kissed at the party, Jake takes the newly destitute and unlucky Ashley under his wing and gets her his old job at a bowling alley.

"He meets up with Ashley for the second time when he sees her at this diner," explains Pine. "This poor girl is trying to get a coffee but can't even afford that. It's one of those moments of shared pain where you see someone going through what you've been through, what you went through as a kid and Jake wants to help her out in any way he can. And of course, she's great to look at, which never hurts."

As Ashley closes in on the truth of her fate, she must brace herself to discover that the one to whom she gave all her good luck is the same boy with whom she has fallen in love. "Ashley takes advantage of the fact that she is so lucky and doesn't really recognize how much she had before," says Lohan. "She then has to go through the hardships of struggling and having to get a normal job working at a bowling alley to figure out that nothing is really worth having unless you've worked for it. And she finds love in the midst of it all."

"Sometimes what makes us happy is not what we were looking for," adds co-screenwriter I. Marlene King.

JUST MY LUCK was shot in locations in New Orleans (prior to when the tragic hurricane devastated the city) before moving to Manhattan to capture the exteriors of Ashley's world.

The filmmakers searched for interiors that would bring to mind the style and energy of New York City. The first location was a high-rise office building on busy Pydras Street in the Business District standing in for Braden & Co., the PR firm where Ashley works. Production designer Ray Kluga referenced the New York offices of high-powered public relations firm to capture the energy of Ashley's workplace environment.

To create the Rock `N' Bowl, where Jake works and McFly serves as the popular house band, the filmmakers found inspiration and a living set at New Orleans' Mid-City Lanes Rock `N' Bowl. This provided myriad backgrounds for the montage which shows Ashley, who also takes a job there when her luck spirals downward, armed with a plunger and gas mask cleaning out toilets, and performing an array of unglamorous custodial tasks.

Ashley and her boss, Peggy Braden, are jailed as a direct result of Ashley's plummeting luck. The filmmakers, needing a realistic jail setting, set their sights on Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility, just outside New Orleans. State officials sealed off a section of the working prison to allow the crew to shoot in an authentic environment. The historic State Palace Theatre, adjacent to New Orleans' French Quarter, mirrored London's Apollo Hammersmith concert arena for the filming of a live McFly concert in front of thousands of screaming fans (extras recruited locally in New Orleans).

Kluga's biggest challenge was bringing to life the all-important masquerade ball, where Ashley and Jake have their life-altering kiss. The event is to be Ashley's ultimate expression of style, where she must live up to her boss' enormous expectations and wow even the most sophisticated member of New York's glitterati. For this event, Kluga and Petrie used the Beaux Arts interior of New Orleans' historic FNBC Bank Building near the French Quarter to stand in for the New York Palace.

 Just My Luck
Director Donald Petrie with Lindsay Lohan on the set of Just My Luck.
Kluga transformed the massive space with marble columns and grandiose chandeliers with lots of color throughout. "My idea was to use striking jewel tones," Kluga says, "unlike the typical idea of what a Manhattan nightclub looks like - which is generally sleek and grey. Because we were doing a masquerade party, I wanted to incorporate strong dashes of color. The movie starts out very light, white and neutral. But then, you get into this magic scene and suddenly the colors begin to pop. It's an explosion of shapes and exciting things."

Ashley's vision for the masquerade ball was an atmosphere where "anything can happen." The massive interior was divided into sections: a VIP area; a place for record company execs to present their artists; and an area with giant projection screens where the latest rock videos are showcased. "We created private corners that have veils of fabric so that you get a sense of `what's going on in these dark corners?'" Kluga describes. "We built in lighting to all of the furniture, up-lighting so the people sitting in the banquettes would be artfully backlit."

To match the lush interiors, costume designer Gary Jones needed a drop-dead gorgeous ensemble for Lohan, who is at the peak of her winning streak on the night of the ball. Director Petrie wanted to make sure Lohan's eyes were visible behind her mask (it is, after all, a masquerade ball). "We had to find a way to make a mask that would not hide or bury her eyes so far behind it that we would lose her," says Jones. He designed a headpiece using beige ostrich and rooster feathers; and a mylar silver, gold and beige horse-hair veil to match her Balenciaga dress.

Lohan, a fashion enthusiast, relished the opportunity to bring her sensibilities to Ashley's wardrobe and immediately clicked with Jones. "He's amazing," she says. "We worked together on everything. We started way before we even started prepping for the movie, just bringing in clothes and having fun. It was nice for me to get to play a character that is into fashion."

At the film's start, Ashley's "lucky look" is quickly established. "She is this pristine, dressed-in-white, almost impermeable person who can walk through the streets of New York and never get a drop of anything on her," says Jones. "She wears a white Versace cashmere coat in the opening shots of the movie. Underneath is a sheer top in a creamy white color with gold threads and a great silk charmeuse skirt. Very pale, high-heeled Valentino boots, a pale Valentino purse and a white cashmere pashmina complete the look. She starts out in white and in shades of white and continues that way until she loses her luck."

To create that pristine, untouchable sparkle, makeup artist Kimberly Greene patterned Ashley's masquerade makeup after the 1940s Varga girls with bright lips and eyeliner. "She was literally born under a lucky star and everything she does is just perfect and gorgeous," Greene describes. "She knows the right make-up, the right hair, the right outfits - everything comes to her very easily."

Greene also found the task of making Lohan's eyes "visible but hidden" a challenge. "We wanted to see her and not see her; make it gorgeous and beautiful but also make it a masquerade," Greene says. The final look chosen for the masquerade ball is Italian-themed, inspired by traditional Venetian masks. Greene used Swarovski crystals and swirls of gold traced around Ashley's eyes. "The look starts out flawless," Greene says. "But when she loses her luck, everything becomes smeary. We see a physical transformation which helps to sell the idea that her luck has really gone sour."

The newly-unlucky Ashley wears a hodgepodge of clothes that reflect her unfortunate turn of events. "She starts borrowing clothes from other people, which puts her in a lot of color and a lot of different kinds of clothing that she would never have worn as Ashley, the successful and lucky young woman," says Jones. "Her `borrowed look' is a mish-mash of sorts and takes her into a palette of bright colors, casual clothing and jeans. Her hair and makeup become clean and simple, with a natural prettiness showing through."

Ashley's look hits rock bottom as she gets doused with real mud. "It was funny because Donald Petrie likes to shoot shots from every possible angle, especially the mud scene," Lohan recalls. "And we repeated it several times and there came a point where I said, you know what? I'm just gonna put my head back in and let's just do it again while I'm already muddy." Greene put in a bid to help Lohan through it by offering up face mask mud instead of real mud, but Lohan refused, "I was like, fine, let me just do it," she says, laughing.

In March 2005, the production moved to New York City to shoot exteriors. Making themselves visible to the public proved tricky with Lohan's rapidly ascending profile as a prime target of the paparazzi. "Some days there were as many as 30 or 40 paparazzi on the set," co-producer Ellen H. Schwartz says. "The crew often had to erect physical barriers to preserve a comfortable shooting environment and eye-line for the actors."

Many of the film's pivotal scenes take place in some of the city's famous landmarks and vistas, which give the film a cosmopolitan look. Central Park and Times Square were vital set pieces to the action, with the film's finale set at the always romantic Grand Central Station.

For the climactic concert scene finale, set at the then-uncompleted Hard Rock Café in Times Square, the crew dressed the outside marquis for the movie concert scene. This enabled the filmmakers to capture a nighttime exterior of the famous, brightly lit landmark. The production team managed to get the massive Reuters video board, adjacent to the Hard Rock, to play fictional McFly concert promos which ignited a few British tourists familiar with the band into thinking their favorite band had finally hit America.

 These production notes provided by 20th Century Fox.


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