Every 10 years or so a movie about high school comes along that goes on to have a life of its own, through catch phrases, references, and its particular dissection of the high school hierarchy; Heathers in the ’80s, Clueless in the ’90s and Mean Girls in the ’00s.
Tina Fey’s script, based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes, made an even bigger star out of Lindsay Lohan — who at the time was already getting buzz from roles in films like Freaky Friday — and demonstrated that Fey was a viable comedy writer outside of SNL. The movie itself has become almost a rite of passage for adolescent women and lives on through a never-ending sea of GIFs on Tumblr.
To celebrate the 10-year reunion of Cady’s infiltration into the world of The Plastics, here are 12 things you might not know about Mean Girls.
1. Age was just a number for the cast. Amy Poehler plays McAdams’ mother in the film, though the actresses are only seven years apart. Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams are supposed to be in the same grade, when in reality, Lindsay Lohan would have been in the 4th grade when McAdams was a high school senior.
2. Tina Fey plays favorites based on Jimmy Fallon similarities. Fey admitted that actor Jonathan Bennett may have gotten his part because he looked more like Jimmy Fallon than the other actors who auditioned.
3. Author Rosland Wiseman was skeptical about the development of her book for film. Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, was approached numerous times about adapting the self-help book for TV or film, but was worried it would come off cheesy. Tina Fey promised her the movie would keep a positive core and Wiseman thought Tina was the right woman for the job:
“I’ve found a lot of success in my life by collaborating with women who are smart and funny, and Tina fit that category. From the time I said yes until the time it came out was about 18 months.”
4. Lindsay Lohan wanted to play the mean girl. Lohan first worked with director Mark Waters on the remake of Freaky Friday a year earlier and the director was set on having Lohan in Mean Girls, but in the Regina role. Waters described Lohan as being perfect for the mean girl part of Regina.
“Her energy is a very aggressive, testosterone-laden energy, and that’s exactly what I knew I needed for Regina George. When I gave it to her, she was like, ‘I f*cking love Regina George! This is exactly the part I want to play.'”
Paramount’s studio head didn’t agree though, and felt audiences wouldn’t accept her as the villain, so Lohan was switched over to the lead role of Cady. In 2014, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when the public couldn’t see Lindsay Lohan’s bad side.
5. The difference between PG-13 and R. The dialogue of two scenes had to be altered in order for the film to secure a PG-13 rating. The first, involved Cady being asked if “her muffin was buttered,” with the line originally being “Is your cherry popped?” The second, was the line referring to the girl who “made out with a hot dog.” The original line, “Amber D’Alessio gave a blow job to a hot dog” was too racy for the censors to allow a PG-13 rating.
The scene where Cady walks in on Jason and Gretchen kissing was also more salacious in the original script, with Gretchen performing oral sex on Jason. Jason’s chances of getting to third base with Gretchen were cut to help the movie secure its PG-13 rating.
6. Ron Burgundy also saved the film from getting an R-rating. Director Mark Waters had to fight the ratings board to keep the joke about a “wide-set vagina” and still maintain a PG-13 rating. In order to win the censorship battle, Waters pointed out that Anchorman had just come out with a PG-13 rating with Ron Burgundy sporting a boner in one scene. Waters told the ratings board that they were being sexist just because it was a woman talking about a part of her anatomy, despite there being no sexual context. The ratings board backed off and allowed the joke and PG-13 rating live side-by-side.
7. Tim Meadows didn’t have carpal tunnel, but a broken hand. In the film, Tim Meadows’ character wears a cast because of severe carpal tunnel. This character trait was written in because Meadows broke his hand just before filming began and would have to wear a cast throughout shooting the movie.
8. The studio wasn’t excited about Tim Meadows and Amy Poehler being in the film. Paramount had been burned from investing in SNL movies in the past (The Ladies Man) and was cautious of having Meadows and Poehler in the film out of fear audiences would see it as “an SNL movie.”
9. Rachel McAdams drew her inspiration from Courtney Love and Alec Baldwin. McAdams character of Regina could best be described as a raging b*tch that intimidates people. Director Mark Waters suggested McAdams pull some inspiration for Regina by listening to Courtney Love CDs really loud and watching Alec Baldwin’s character in Glennary, Glen, Ross.
10. The film’s lingo stretches all the way to the White House. Mean Girls’ cult following revels in its dialogue, with the cast regularly getting hit up with quotes via Twitter, and its reach has even made it to the White House. Last year, the White House tweeted out the below photo of Bo with a reference to Gretchen’s failed attempt to coin the word “fetch.”
11. Lizzy Caplan’s character was named after SNL’s first musical guest. Caplan’s character was named Janis Ian as an homage to the musican who was Saturday Night Live’s first musical guest with Billy Preston in 1975. You can hear Ian’s song “At Seventeen” playing in the background when the girls are fighting at Regina’s house.
12. There are several “Mean” projects in development. In addition to being on TBS nearly every weekend, the Mean Girls legacy will live on through spin-off projects like a musical adaptation and possible male-centered project. Writer Sean Anders (We’re The Millers) has already penned Mean Moms, which essentially shows that the cut throat landscape of high school transitions right into adulthood thanks to competitive parenting.