Mean Girls turns 15: Behind-the-scenes facts about the cult classic
Can you BELIEVE it's actually been 15 years since the cult classic Mean Girls hit cinema screens, and changed our lives forever?
From iconic quotes, breakout stars and legendary comedic writing influencing pop culture forever; We want to look at some behind-the-scenes unknown facts.
Where are the cast now? What do they remember best from their time on set? What would be different if the flick was made now? We want answers.
The movie was meant to be called Homeschooled, and was Tina Fey's feature film screenwriting debut. We're glad for the name change, and MAD impressed at Fey's talent.
At the time, Fey was known for Saturday Night Live sketches, wrote the film based on the self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman
“Mean Girls still to me feels like it was yesterday,” Lohan recently told Entertainment Tonight.
“Oh my gosh- shooting that movie, I had never been in a movie before,” Tina Fey added. ”I had no idea. I had just done Weekend Update. But it was a good time.”
Lindsey Lohan and Rachel McAdams became huge stars after the release, playing the renowned characters Cady Heron and Regina . George (who reminded everyone of their secondary school enemy). Both actresses were already known before the 2004 classic was made.
Lohan and McAdams could actually have ended up in the others' role, but after Lohan's portrayal of Anna in Freaky Friday, the filmmakers weren't convinced that the audience would believe her as the villain.
Tina Fey became a household name after writing the film; "I knew she would be able to play Cady and go from being completely innocent- someone who knows nothing- all the way to being a horrible beotch and back to being a good person again." That character arc though..
Amanda Seyfried was also screen tested for the role of Regina, but the producers preferred her as ditzy Karen.
Everyone forgets that the budding actress and soon-to-be star was only 17 at the time;
“It was the first movie I'd ever done. I had the best time," she told ET. She literally hasn't aged a day between Mean Girls and Mamma Mia.
We actually can't fathom the movie without Johnathan Bennett as Aaron Samuels (Ariana Grande clearly agrees), but James Franco was actually considered for the role. Bennett won the part after making Lohan blush on set, and because Fey thought he looked like Jimmy Fallon.
“It wouldn’t have been the same without him,” Seyfried said about casting Bennett at the time. His appearance in Thank U, Next cemented his iconic role.
Ashley Tisdale of High School Musical fame also auditioned for the role of Karen, which is interesting, but she probably would have been too similar to her Sharpay Evans vibes. Scarlett Johansson apparently also tested for Karen's role.
Bennett and Lohan recently renunited, and the internet shut down;
Rachel McAdams actually wore a wig for the part of Regina, as she couldn't fully bleach her brown hair to go blonde for the role.
“I just thought that was very Regina- long, blonde, Barbie hair,” McAdams said during an interview on set. "The colour looks perfect.” McAdams originally auditioned for Lohan's role, but we can't imagine her as anyone but the devious Regina.
Lacey Chabert (Gretchen Wieners) shared how her two-year-old daughter, Julia, saw the Jingle Bell Rock scene and said, "That's Mama!", which is hella cute.
“Fifteen years- how is that possible?" Chabert said. “It feels like yesterday. I will never forget making that movie and I am so flattered people still love it and talk about it as much as they do. I’m honoured to have been a part of it.”
The movie has spanned a sequel (little known) and even a Broadway musical, but also has influenced female-created filmmaking and pop culture hugely.
Chabert agreed that rebooting the film could be fun, but she said there's been no talks of it recently;
"It was such a fun character that I think it would be so much fun to revisit these women and see where they are now.”
Director Mark Waters spoke to Cosmopolitan UK about how different the movie would be if it was made in 2019;
"There’s a lot in the movie that is very ‘un-PC’. I would think there would be more micro-managing over things you should or should not be portraying with teenage girls doing to each other and the way they relate to boys."
Waters spoke about how inappropriate some of the jokes may appear nowadays, especially about underage sex;
"It’s hard for me to delve into what would or would not be considered too ‘un-PC’ but we made light-hearted jokes about the gym coach having affairs with the students with lines like, 'Step away from the underage girls.'"
"You can’t really make that joke, it’s very transgressive. We did it in a light hearted no big deal way, but it is a pretty big deal," he explained.
The use of social media and phones would influence a 2019 version of the hit film, as technology and teen bullying would have evolved hugely since 2004.
Phones and social media were only emerging at that time. "If you’ve seen the Broadway musical, there’s a massive component of social media and devices that didn’t exist then, it really wasn’t an issue," Mark emphasises.
"We had cell phones, but the whole era of texting and social media didn’t exist. The way that teen bullying goes on these days is over devices as opposed to physically from person to person any more. Even those ideas of having the four-way phone calling seems incredible quaint these days with people talking on their land-line."
Imagine…the Burn Book all over Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. What a nightmare…it would never be forgotten once it hits the screens.
The age of the characters versus the actors who played them is extremely surprising; It turns out that Cady Heron and Regina George were supposed to be the same age in the movie, but Rachel McAdams is actually eight years older than Lindsay Lohan.
Even crazier, Amy Poehler (AKA Regina George's outrageous mum) is only seven years older than McAdams.
Consider us shook…
In the scene where Cady was asked "If her muffin was buttered", it was actually meant to be if "her cherry was popped." Now THAT'S intense.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler coached Rajiv Surendra on how to rap for his on-screen performance in the talent show, which is amazing. Is there nothing they can't do? He went on to become a respected writer and artist after his elaborate but failed attempts to win the lead role in Life of Pi, and subsequent autobiography Elephants In My Backyard.
Lizzy Caplan's character was called Janis Ian as an ode to the musician of the same name, who was the first Saturday Night Live musical guest in 1975.
Ian's famous song, At Seventeen, can be heard playing in the background when the Plastics are fighting at Regina's house. Caplan's character is persistently bullied and called a lesbian throughout the movie; the real Janis Ian is openly lesbian.
Daniel Franzese, who played Damien (our fave) was meant to be in the Thank U, Next video until his tour clashed with the date;
“I thought it was so cute. Ariana asked me to be in the video too, and I was ready to do it until they changed the date at the last second, because of my tour."
“She said I can be in another one of her music videos, and when ‘Seven Rings’ came out, I was like, ‘Girl, I will twerk,’ and she said she’d get me in one eventually.” We cannot WAIT for that.
The poor lad can't even wear pink anymore because of the fan fervour;
“I do not wear pink. I think that’s part of my persona that sometimes I embrace and sometimes I have to avoid. It just makes it too easy. I also get ‘You go, Glen Coco’ a lot.” Gas.
“Damian is actually based off someone named Damian Holbrook, who’s a writer for TV Guide and one of Tina Fey’s best friends. He’d be doing some glamour profession. Cady would definitely be doing something with animals. She’d be a zoologist or a vet or something. Regina would definitely be Miranda Priestly.”
Daniel also spoke about the LGBTQ aspect of his character's potential;
"If the movie came out today, Damian might have had a boyfriend. He’s in that sweet spot of trying to figure out who he is but decided he’s going to wait to do that until after they leave school, when he’s in college, so he can get to a place of peace. I think a lot of LGBTQ kids go through that.”
He also explains why he think the movie still resonates today;
“It really, for the first time, brought to light what was happening in girl world. And this was during Hollywood’s heyday of girls ruling the clubs, from the Olsen twins to Paris Hilton to Nicole Richie to Lindsay Lohan to Hilary and Haylie Duff," he says.
"The girl world was happening both in media and in people’s real lives. So I think this started to break down that structure so people could understand what this was."
“I also think my character, Damian, really resonated with LGBTQ people before we were really seeing a rise in acceptance, and it was the first time that we really saw a character who was able to breathe, and I think that affected a lot of people," he concluded. There was a scene filmed which was cut of Damien auditioning for American Idol.
They searched through FOUR cities to try and find the perfect actor for Damien, and they certainly found him.
Tina Fey allegedly was a real life mean girl in school, which is so random to think about.
The movie is based on a real high school, New Trier, which is located in Chicago and has a rep for being one of the best in America.
15 years on, a lot has changed in Girl World, but the movie still resonates with a massive audience and for good reason.
Feature image; Instagram/@vip_caracas