“Ex-boyfriends are off-limits to friends. That’s just, like, the rules of feminism.” Tina Fey’s Mean Girls rewrote the rules of adolescence for young girls. It’s a fan favorite, and certainly a film that left a ding in the cinematic universe. Here are some of our favorite Mean Girls facts.
30. Lesbian rock and roll.
Janis Ian is the name of the incredible singer and songwriter who wrote “At Seventeen.” (If you’ve ever been to a lesbian karaoke bar, someone will sing that song.) This song plays in the background during a fight at Regina’s house. Janis Ian was the first-ever musical guest on SNL and an out-of-the-closet lesbian in real life.
29. “I know this song!”
At the prom, Cady mentions that she “knows” one of the songs that’s playing, a reference to her general pop cultural illiteracy. That song is “Built This Way,” a track by Samantha Ronson, the British DJ that Lindsay Lohan would confirm she was dating four years later.
Samantha Ronson and Lindsay Lohan.
28. My breasts also have this gift.
Lindsay Lohan was originally going to play Regina but was worried that the public would associate her with being nasty, so she made Lorne Michaels switch her part. The producers originally cast Amanda Seyfried as Cady, but Michaels felt she would be a better Karen. Maybe it was because her breasts can always tell when it’s raining?
27. Oh, Alec, why are you so inspiring?
Regina George’s character was partly inspired by Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross. Fey worked with Baldwin extensively on SNL, as he has hosted the show more than anyone else in history, and apparently liked working with him so much that she cast him as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock.
26. You won’t find Lebanese food down there…
Janis mentions toward the end of the film that she’s “Lebanese.” This is probably why “lesbian” rumors spread about her during middle school, when eighth graders didn’t know the difference between the two words. That’s you should pay attention during Geography class, kids.
25. Age is just a number.
Amy Poehler is only seven years older than Rachel McAdams, who plays her daughter in the film. McAdams was eight years older than Lindsay Lohan, who was the only Plastic still young enough to be playing a high schooler by the time the film was released.
24. Power couple.
In real life, Lizzy Caplan (Janis) was in a relationship with Matthew Perry since 2006, which basically means that Janis Ian and Chandler Bing do it on a regular basis. Could you be picturing this any harder right now?
23. Girl Power!
The main character, played by Lindsay Lohan, is named “Cady,” which has a common pronunciation (“Katie”) but an uncommon spelling for an American girl’s first name. In keeping with the film’s theme of female empowerment, it’s the same spelling as the maiden name of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a 19th-century pioneer in the American Women’s Rights movement.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
22. Make Tina Fey your BFF…
Daniel Franzeze’s character, Damien, was based on an old friend of Tina Fey’s, who is now a writer for TV Guide. Glen Coco is also a real-life friend of Tina Fey, and Mrs. Norbury was named after Fey’s old German teacher. Lesson: You need to know Tina Fey, so you can be a character in one of her movies.
21. Canada, eh?
Even though the movie was set in Evanston, Illinois (#northshorerepresent), the entirety was filmed in Canada, where Rachel McAdams was born. Etobicoke Collegiate Institute stood in for the high school in exterior scenes. The math competition was filmed inside Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. In the scene immediately following the competition, the actors — including Lohan and Fey — are seen standing on King’s College Circle with the historic University College in the background.
20. She was born to play Gretchen.
Before playing Gretchen, Chabert was a prolific voice actress. Her most prominent voiceover gigs included playing Eliza in The Wild Thornberrys and Meg in the first season and a half of Family Guy. After the character was slightly rewritten in the second season, Mila Kunis took over Meg duties.
19. Yes, just chase the kids with a baseball bat.
When Tim Meadows (who plays the principal) walks through the school with a baseball bat in the “the girls have gone wild!” scene, he says, “I did not leave the South Side for this!” This is a direct quote from the movie Lean on Me, a movie about a principal struggling to improve a decaying school.
18. Keeping it in the family.
The director of Mean Girls, Mark Waters, is actually the younger brother of screenwriter Daniel Waters. Daniel Waters would become infamous in the 1990s for winning Worst Screenplay Razzie Awards for both Hudson Hawk and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, but before that, he wrote the screenplay to Heathers. Heathers is the movie most credited as being a direct influence on Mean Girls, as it featured a group of four popular girls wreaking havoc on the lives of those around them.
17. Still “grool” to fans?
Jonathan Bennett (who plays Aaron Samuels) was cast in the movie at the urging of Fey, who thought he looked like Jimmy Fallon. However, audiences have not found him quite as “fetch” since Mean Girls ended, as his major film credits have included Bachelor Party: Vegas, Cats Dancing on Jupiter, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year and Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning. His biggest film, Morning Glory, allowed him to reteam with Rachel McAdams in the prestigious role of “Unnamed Interviewee.” If it’s any consolation to Mr. Bennett, almost every girl I know will think he’s “grool” forever.
16. Immortal doesn’t always mean box office success.
Mark Waters had previously directed three films before Mean Girls, and the most successful of them was Freaky Friday, the surprisingly acclaimed 2003 film starring Lindsay Lohan. Oddly, it also grossed more money in the theatres than Mean Girls did, which makes no logical sense.
15. Good luck with that, mom.
The movie was inspired by Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, a non-fiction guide for parents to help “your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolescence.” Tina Fey said she found it “funny.”
14. Poor Gretchen….
Although it has a Facebook page, P.J. Calamities is (unfortunately) not a real bar in Evanston. However, Old Orchard Mall is a thing, although it’s an outdoor mall and not an indoor one, like in the movie. The Barnes and Noble in Evanston is located right in the middle of Evanston. So, if Gretchen got diarrhea in it, she would be happy to run into almost everyone she knows afterward.
13. Those things are like sledgehammers!
In the scene when Cady asks for the “lavatory pass,” you can see the periodic table on the board behind them. On it, the table lists “silicone” as one of the elements. This is not an actual element, although “silicon” is. Instead, it’s likely a sly reference to Mrs. George’s rock-hard breasts.
12. Fighting for the right to joke about genitals.
The film was almost forced to cut the “wide-set vagina” line. The MPAA tried to cut the line, but Anchorman had just come out and Will Ferrell got away with an erection scene and still got a PG-13 rating, so Mark Waters and crew told them they were being sexist. The MPAA finally let them keep the line.
11. Those girls got flow.
For the Kevin Gnapoor’s rapping scene, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taught actor Rajiv Surendra, how to rap. In a rare video, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan take a swing at mastering the geeky mathlete’s talent show solo. It’s pretty much a dream scenario, people.
10. High school trauma.
The 30 Rock standout, Tina Fey, played the character of Ms. Norbury, who was accused of peddling drugs after a vicious rumor was started by The Plastics. “I revisited high school behaviors of my own—futile, poisonous, bitter behaviors that served no purpose,” Fey told the Times. “That thing of someone saying ‘You’re really pretty’ and then, when the other person thanks them, saying, ‘Oh, so you agree? You think you’re pretty?’ That happened in my school. That was a bear trap,” the Philly-area native recalled.
9. We love you, Rachel.
Rachel McAdams was a little-known actress back in 2004 on the brink of superstardom. In the movie, she played the beautiful, evil leader of The Plastics, Regina George. “At the heart of Regina George was a really angry kid who had no boundaries or guidance,” she told the Times of her character. To channel her character, “[Director Mark Waters] told me to listen to Courtney Love really loud, and to watch Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.”
8. Mommy girls.
For fun, the cast mostly hung out with their moms. In a recent interview, Bennett told The Huffington Post that there wasn’t any drama or secrets happening on set because they “were just a bunch of kids trying to make a funny movie in Canada.”
“It was before everybody was who they were.” says Bennett. “You had your parents, so there was a lot of family stuff. Lacey [Chabert]’s mom was there. Amanda’s mom was there. We all like hung out with our moms.”
7. Who needs The Oracle?
While chatting with Diablo Cody in a “Red Band Trailer” interview, Seyfried said the first scene she shot for “Mean Girls” was the weather report. Since it was her first time on a major film set, she says she was amazed by everything, especially the sprinklers making the rainstorm. “I was like, ‘This is how they make rain!’ Like, fake rain. I was so blown away, and I didn’t know if I was going to remember my lines, and I was so nervous,” she said.
Daniel DeSanto, who plays Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend, Jason — aka, the guy who asked Cady if she wants someone to “butter her muffin” and the dude who gets hit in the face by the stereo after “Jingle Bell Rock” — is also a voice actor. Like his on-screen girlfriend, this guy lent his voice to a popular children’s cartoon too: He was Carlos on The Magic School Bus. unfortunately, imagining Carlos saying Jason’s dialogue is not as fun as picturing Eliza as Gretchen.
Want to walk in the footsteps of Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert? The mall frequented by the Mean Girls characters — and where Caplan’s character works — is, in fact, Sherway Gardens in Toronto’s west end. The mall was also used for several scenes in 2006’s The Sentinel starring Eva Longoria and Michael Douglas.
4. Money, money, money.
Mean Girls opened in theatres on April 30, 2004 against another made-in-Ontario movie, the thriller Godsend starring Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romjin. Made for a reported $17 million, Mean Girls earned $24.4 million in its first weekend, putting it in the No. 1 spot. It went on to earn $86 million in the U.S. and Canada and another $43 million in markets around the world, for a total haul of $129 million.
3. More Canada, eh?
Quick, name the two Canadian singers who have cameos in Mean Girls. If you said Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion, you’re right. Posters featuring their faces adorn the walls of two bedrooms in the movie — Lavigne in Regina’s room and Dion in Damian’s room. Canadians may also have caught a glimpse of a Roots gift certificate sitting next to a phone in a kitchen scene with Lohan.
2. Mr. President, Sir?
On August 13, 2013, the White House tweeted a photo of the Obamas’ dog, Bo, holding a tennis ball in his mouth with the caption “Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen.” This was a play both on a line from Mean Girls and on one of the more usual meanings of the word “fetch.”
The film initially earned an R rating from the MPAA for language and sexual content. To get a PG-13, numerous plot elements and verbal exchanges had to be toned down or taken out. In the original script, Jason was to ask Cady, “Is your cherry popped?” during the lunch-time poll scene, and that burn-out girl did way more than make out with that hot dog. And when Cady walks in on Jason and Gretchen making out at her party? The R-rated version had Gretchen giving him a bit more attention… Alright, we’ll say it. It was a BJ.
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