2004’s Mean Girls is so ingrained into pop culture now that even though it’s been more than a decade, we still wear pink on Wednesdays. We also don’t sniff around our friends’ exes, since that goes against the rules of feminism, and we know that all-carb diets don’t help you to lose weight.
We trust that you know everything there is to know about the characters, including the fact that Regina George hooks up with Shane Oman in the projection room above the auditorium and Mr. Duvall hates the fact that his sister named her son Anfernee. But how much do you know about the talented actors and actresses who brought these roles to life?
From on-screen tension to A-listers missing out on appearing in the film, it’s time to sort through the rumors and find out what is true and what isn’t about the cast of Mean Girls.
15 Rachel McAdams’ Iconic Relationship Had a Rocky Start
Aside from playing Regina George, Rachel McAdams is perhaps most well-known for playing Allie Calhoun in The Notebook. This is partly because the movie was iconic AF, but also because McAdams was in a relationship in real life with her co-star Ryan Gosling. Even though their characters went through some pretty hard times in the film, everybody took comfort in the fact that they were living happily ever in reality! It seems like something out of a fairy-tale, and most people don’t know that McAdams and Gosling actually couldn’t stand each other when they first met. Though they eventually saw more to the other person, in the beginning they thought each other to be obnoxious. Once they did hook up, the world watched them wherever they went with wagging tongues, but it was not meant to be. They broke up after three years together, so maybe they should have listened to their guts after all!
14 Lindsay Lohan Wanted Regina
When she first went to audition for Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan had her eye on the character of Queen Bee, Regina George. According to the actress, who was the only cast member young enough to still be in high school, she wanted to play the coolest part she could, and was over playing the typical down-to-earth outcast she portrayed in Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Despite what Lohan wanted, the director, Mark Waters, felt that she was better as the protagonist, Cady Heron. He had just directed her in Freaky Friday, so we guess he knew what he was talking about! Interestingly, McAdams initially read for the role of Cady, more drawn to playing the heroine than the antagonist. In the film, Cady slowly transforms into, in the words of Janice Ian, cold, shiny, hard Plastic anyway, so she did get a taste of being the cool one!
13 Tina Fey Wanted Lindsay Lohan for Regina Too
Lohan wasn’t the only one who thought she could have pulled off a brilliant Regina George. Tina Fey was originally thinking of casting her into the role that would see her play the mean girl of all mean girls, but the director talked her out of it. “At some point I was like, ‘Oh, should Lindsay be Regina?’” she explained. “And then Mark and Lorne [Michaels] had the good sense to say, ‘No, she gets to turn into Regina.’ You work backward from that and you cast her as Cady, knowing she could get to that point of being Regina, but you let her be the innocent side, too.” Whatever thought went into the process of the casting, it’s clear that the final decisions all worked out perfectly! We couldn’t imagine these two having reversed their roles, with McAdams coming from the jungle and Lohan cheating on Aaron Samuels with Shane Oman.
12 Things Were a Little Tense on Set
Most people think that the set of a movie like this must have been filled with sneaky, passive-aggressive fighting—the kind you’d only find in girl world. But that wasn’t the case! The meanness was contained within the bounds of filming, and the actors and actresses were able to co-exist without destroying each other’s lives like they do in the movie. That said, not all the cast was on strong speaking terms. The director confirmed that Lohan was shy around McAdams, who she saw as an older and much more accomplished actress. And McAdams wasn’t very chatty to her co-star, which might have flattened out her nerves. “She'd come in the room and not talk to Lindsay—she was very focused,” he said. “Lindsay kind of got nervous around her, and I thought that, more than anything, was going to be the deciding factor, the fact that she affected Lindsay in that way.”
11 Amanda Seyfried Made an Amazing Regina
So McAdams could have played Cady and Lohan could have played Regina, but Amanda Seyfried who played Karen-one-of-the-dumbest-girls-you’ll-ever-meet-Smith, was also being considered for the role of Regina. It’s hard to imagine her not playing Karen and talking about her “ESPN” talents, but according to the director, she was a very strong contender. Unlike the many others who auditioned, Seyfried brought her own touch to Regina that would have turned her into a totally different yet equally as effective villain. “She tested for Regina and was kind of brilliant, and very different than Rachel's approach. She played it in a much more ethereal but still kind of scary way. She was more frightening, but oddly, less intimidating,” he explained. Judging by Seyfried’s impressive acting in the many movies she’s completed since then, it’s clear that she is exceptionally talented and would have done Regina as well as she did Karen!
10 She Doesn't Even Go Here
One of the most popular rumors surrounding Mean Girls is that among other famous actresses, Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the film. The legend goes that she tested for the role of Karen. Waters has clearly denied that, saying, “I did test her for something, but not Mean Girls—I actually tested Scarlett for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, when I was going to direct it with Owen Wilson in the lead, and she definitely would have booked the part.” Johansson never appeared in that project either—Waters intended to direct it the year after he finished Mean Girls, but Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of the sets, and things were put on hold. The film did eventually get made with Ben Stiller directing and starring in it, and Kristen Wiig playing the role that Waters had put aside for Johansson. Unlike Johansson, though, Ashley Tisdale is one actress who really did audition for Karen.
9 Lindsay Lohan Got Real with Her Co-Stars
Anybody who grew up in the early 2000s knows about the beef that went on between two of the biggest teen sensations at the time, Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff. Gossip magazines reported that the two young actresses were feuding over pop star Aaron Carter. It all started when Carter appeared on an episode of Lizzie McGuire, and then started dating Duff on his 13th birthday. After about a year and a half, he got bored with her and started talking to Lohan at the same time. Yikes. Eventually Carter and Duff broke up for good, but Lohan and Duff started showing up to each other’s red carpet premieres, and shadily addressing each other in interviews. Nobody knows what really went down between them, but Lohan attempted to explain to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey what it was all about on set. According to Fey, they pretended to understand it, but secretly didn’t.
8 Amy Poehler Is a Rap Genius
She might not be a professional rapper that would impress the likes of Kanye West, but Amy Poehler, who played Mrs. George, is pretty good at coming up with her own raps. Mark Waters stated that although Tina Fey was the one who wrote the script, it was Poehler who coached Rajiv Surendra on how to pull off Kevin Gnapoor’s legendary rap at the Christmas talent show. “Amy definitely coached him on how to do the rap, and she actually gave him some of the moves and choreography for it,” he explained. No matter who’s doing what, it’s clear that when Amy Poehler and Tina Fey get together, magic happens! Fey was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for coming up with the script, and did an excellent job of playing Ms. Norburry, while nobody could have played Mrs. George quite like Poehler.
7 Lindsay Lohan Was Misdiagnozed
In the earlier days of Lindsay Lohan’s career, it was widely reported that she was suffering from AD/HD. As a result of her diagnosis, she was prescribed Adderall, and eventually, became addicted to it. This caused a whole bunch of other problems for the young actress, and she eventually ended up in a rehab facility. But at rehab, the doctors found that in actual fact, her earlier diagnosis had been totally incorrect. Lindsay never had AD/HD, and should never have been prescribed the Adderall in the first place. “AD/HD symptoms are easily mistaken for a wide variety of behaviors and disorders from autism and auditory processing disorder to depression and even normal behavior,” explains Psychology Today. There are a number of side effects of Adderall addiction, several of which we saw with Lohan, including sleep disturbances and self-medicating which can eventually turn into alcoholism.
6 Mark Waters Loves Female Protagonists
Hollywood has come under fire for years for being unfair to women in a number of areas, from pay gaps to assault and harassment to stereotypes and harmful portrayals. So when someone with power comes along and actively tries to make a difference to all of that, it’s a huge breath of fresh air! Unlike many male directors, Waters has had female protagonists appear in practically all of his movies, and he’s made a habit out of passing the Bechdel Test. “I find women much more interesting than dudes,” he said, explaining that his preference is really that simple. A few have concluded that because of this, Waters must also prefer the company of men in his personal life, but he’s confirmed that it’s not true. He’s married to an actress called Dina Spybey and has two daughters, though he’s used to people often assuming that he’s gay, including his parents!
5 Tina Fey Has at Least One Regret
The end result of Mean Girls was pretty perfect, so what could Tina Fey possibly have any regrets about? Well, she has only realized recently that like much of the population, she wants a sequel. Technically speaking, she could still create one. But since it’s been longer than 10 years since the film first came out, she believes she’s left it too late, and the fans need to stop asking for a sequel to happen, because it’s not going to happen (see what we did there?). “At the time we did want to start the conversation about the sequel, and for whatever reason I was like, ‘No!!! We shouldn’t do that!’” she explained. “Now I look back and I’m like, ‘Why?’ But now, no—it’s too late.” We’re not sure whether the cast would be up for a reunion or not, even if it were in the cards!
4 Amanda Seyfried Is an Opera Singer
That’s right—Karen Smith can do more than just use her body to tell if it’s already raining. Amanda Seyfried didn’t have to sing in Mean Girls, but we found out she was an amazing vocalist soon enough. Not long after she starred in the musical Mamma Mia, and later also appeared in Les Miserables. But it’s one thing to be a singer in Hollywood musicals, and it’s another to be an opera singer who’s basically a pro! Seyfried actually trained to become an opera singer from when she was little, but gave it up to focus on acting. Though that turned out to be a great choice, “quitting opera-singing training when I was 17” is one of the things she is saddest about. “That had been my passion before acting took over and I wish I had stuck with it. I never got to the point where you learn how to control your vibrato. And I got a lot of slack for that.”
3 Rachel McAdams Is a Figure Skater
Amanda Seyfried isn’t the only Mean Girls star who’s got some other talents hidden up her sleeve! Canadian-born Rachel McAdams actually started figure skating when she was four years old, and was already achieving success in the area throughout her childhood and teenage years. She could have earned even more wins in her competitive figure skating career, but like her co-star, decided to give it up when she was 18 so she could focus on acting. “Getting up at 5 a.m. was a constant struggle,” the actress told Elle. “I hung up my boots and haven’t picked them up since.” There were things about the lifestyle of a figure skater that she hated, including the pressure. “…I used to get so nervous before competitions. I’d wake up in a cold sweat. I don’t miss that.” That being said, she does miss skating itself. It goes to show that life is all about prioritizing!
2 Mark Waters Didn’t Think the Movie Was a Big Deal
Do you ever wonder whether people who make history know that they’re doing it at that moment, or whether they only realize years later? For Mark Waters, it was definitely the latter. Though Mean Girls is iconic, and one of the most quoted movies of our generation, Waters only gathered that it was a big deal recently. When a few of the actresses from Vampire Academy told him how much they love it and how often they’ve watched it, he finally got the picture. “It was fascinating to see how important it was to them—they're kind of obsessed with it,” he explained. “I always knew that it would have a cult following, but it wasn't until it was in my face, seeing these kids quote it back to me, that I realized it had this profound effect on people.” That’s putting it lightly!
1 Amy Poehler Almost Didn’t Make It
We all agree that Mean Girls wouldn’t be the same without Amy Poehler playing Mrs. George. Who would interrupt Regina’s steamy bedroom session with Shane Oman, who would offer alcohol-free drinks to Cady, and who would be there to film the Plastics singing “Jingle Bell Rock”?! Plus, the actress also had a part to play in making Kevin’s rap so memorable. But at first, Paramount couldn’t see the potential for any of that, and didn’t want Amy to appear in the movie at all. According to Waters, they thought that having her and Tim Meadows, who played Mr. Duvall, would make the film seem like a SNL-fest, since both stars were appearing on Saturday Night Live at the time. Even though Poehler is only seven years older than Rachel McAdams, she killed it as her mother, and Fey and Waters maintain that bringing her in in spite of Paramount was one of their best decisions.
Sources: www.seventeen.com, www.thewrap.com, www.glamourmagazine.co.uk, www.vulture.com