20 Facts About Mean Girls That Are So Fetch

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If you're between the ages of 10 and 80 you've probably seen "Mean Girls" at least once in your life. It's technically a high school movie, but it has something for everyone. There's high school drama, sure, but there's also romance, betrayal, and revenge. At its core, the story is one of friendship and forgiveness, told with a lot of humor.

Released in 2004, fans of "Mean Girls" have had almost two decades to watch the film over and over again (yes, it's just that fetch). But how many people know the behind-the-scenes story of one of the world's most iconic and beloved films? Sure, you can quote the lines, but how much do you really know about the movie? From casting switcheroos to the truth about Glen Coco, we've got you covered with the 411. Here's the real truth of "Mean Girls" that you won't find in any burn book.

1. There's a mini SNL reunion in the film

Fans of sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" no doubt noticed that "SNL" alums Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, and Tina Fey made appearances in "Mean Girls". Poehler played Regina's mom, Meadows played the school principal, Gasteyer played Cady's mom, and Fey played math teacher Ms. Norbury. "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels produced the film, which was written by Fey. She was always going to co-star in the movie, but the other casting choices required a bit of negotiation. "It was frankly discouraged by Paramount," director Mark Waters told Entertainment Weekly. "Paramount didn't want this movie to be branded as an 'SNL' movie."

Waters knew that having so many SNL cast members in the film would make some epic comedy, so he went to bat for them. "It required some sweet talking on my part with Paramount to convince them it was the right idea," said Waters. Thankfully, Paramount eventually came on board, or "Mean Girls" would have been a much different film.

2. The character of Janis Ian was named after the singer Janis Ian

In the film, Janis Ian is the epitome of the rebel outcast. Her only real friend is Damian, she dresses in a distinct style that's all her own, and everyone thinks she's a lesbian. Her character is actually based on a real person — a singer/songwriter who's also named Janis Ian and whose song, "At Seventeen," is played in the background of the movie.

The song is based on the real-life Janis Ian's high school experience, an experience which has a lot in common with the Janis Ian in the movie. "This song was written about a time in my life when I was really weird-looking, and there were all these girls I was going to school with who were really terrific-looking, they were like cheerleaders and very tall, and long blonde hair," said Janis Ian before a performance of "At Seventeen" (via YouTube).

There's another connection between Janis Ian and "Mean Girls." Remember how many people, including its writer Tina Fey, were also involved with "Saturday Night Live?" Well, Janis Ian was the show's first-ever musical guest when it debuted in 1975.

3. In the original script, Regina George cussed like a sailor

The film is a classic teen movie (although it's also enjoyed by adults) but it was very nearly rated R. The original script had a lot more swearing in it. "It was a balls-out R-rated movie," director Mark Waters told Entertainment Weekly. "Regina George cussed like a sailor. She had more F-bombs than Joe Pesci in 'Goodfellas.' And I thought, 'This is incredibly bold and daring, but how is anybody going to be able to make this?'"

The rap that mathlete Kevin G performs was also originally much racier, with some of the more obscene lines cut from the film. Even with everything that was deleted, Waters said they got the PG-13 rating "by the skin of our teeth." The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) pressured the filmmakers to cut a line that referenced a "wide-set vagina" (via YouTube) but were persuaded to keep it in the movie. "We made a whole stink about them being sexist because 'Anchorman' had Will Ferrell walking around with an erection," said Waters. "Like, you really think a teenage girl speaking about her anatomy [is the problem]?"

4. Most of the film's stars wanted different roles at first

"Mean Girls" was almost a completely different film. For starters, it was originally called Homeschooled. The casting was also going to be totally different. Lindsay Lohan, who played Cady, had actually wanted to be Regina. That part ended up going to Rachel McAdams, who had originally auditioned for Cady but was told that, being in her mid-20s, she was too old to pull off being a young and innocent ingenue. Amanda Seyfried, who was eventually cast as Karen, also auditioned for the part of Regina. 

Lacey Chabert, for her part, didn't feel like she was right as the character of Gretchen at all. "The character description physically was very different from me," she told Entertainment Weekly. It's hard to imagine how different the film would have been had Lohan, McAdams, and Seyfried ended up in different roles, and if Chabert hadn't been in it at all!

5. Amy Poehler wasn't just a cool mom, she was also a really young one

Who can forget Amy Poehler as Regina's mom? In the movie, she plays a middle-aged parent desperately trying to recapture her youth who seeks the approval of her daughter and her daughter's friends. In real life, however, Poehler is only seven years older than the actress who played Regina, Rachel McAdams. "Mean Girls" was released on April 30, 2004, making Poehler just 32 when it hit theaters. McAdams was 25.

In fact, out of the clique known as The Plastics, Lindsay Lohan, at 17, was the only one who was actually high school-aged. Amanda Seyfried was 19, and Lacey Chabert turned 21 during filming. Other pivotal characters were also played by actors who were quite a bit older than they were. Jonathan Bennett, who played Aaron Samuels, was 22; Lizzy Caplan, who played Janis Ian, was 21; and Daniel Franzese, who played Damian, was 25.

6. What's the deal with Glen Coco?

The line "You go Glen Coco" is one of the film's many memorable quotes, but most people don't actually know who Glen Coco is. The character was named after Tina Fey's brother's friend, but he doesn't actually have any lines in the movie. He was played by actor David Reale, who wasn't even credited for the role. Reale had auditioned for "Mean Girls" but wasn't cast. That didn't stop him from wandering on set in search of free food, however. "I was a 19-year-old actor with no money so eating was daily mission," he told Dazed.

The director recognized him from his audition and decided to put him in a scene. While he made it into the movie, his time on set wasn't as exciting as it sounds. "Tina Fey wrote the line, Daniel Franzese spoke the line... I just sat in a chair and tried not to stare at Lindsay Lohan," he said.

7. The truth about October 3rd

Any "Mean Girls" fan worth their salt knows that October 3rd is the unofficial Mean Girls day. In the movie, Aaron asks Cady what day it is and she answers "It's October 3rd," which seems like a completely insignificant date ... until you dig a little deeper.

One of the film's most memorable scenes is the one where Gretchen is giving a presentation on Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar" and has a meltdown, yelling: "We should totally just stab Caesar!" (via YouTube). This is a turning point in the movie where Gretchen falls into the trap laid out by Cady, Janis, and Damian to overthrow Regina as the most popular girl in school. Regina is clearly being compared to Caesar, the ruler of Rome, who was assassinated by a group of men including Roman official Gaius Cassius Longinus. Cassius was one of the ringleaders in the plot to assassinate Caesar and plays a prominent role in Shakespeare's "play. In the play, he dies in the Battle of Philippi on what he claims is his birthday: October 3rd.

8. The movie is based on a nonfiction book

Tina Fey based "Mean Girls" on a self-help book called "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World" by Rosalind Wiseman. "Mean Girls" wasn't the first offer to turn her book into a film. A lot of people were interested in adapting the popular book, but Wiseman rejected all of them, and almost turned down Fey, too. "People had called about turning it into a movie or a TV show, and I had no problem turning them down, because it was always something cheesy," Wiseman told The New York Times

"'They were trying to make it about me — 'You're so inspirational!' Then Tina called. I didn't know who she was. ... But I knew it was important to her that it was not going to be stupid." Fey assured Wiseman that she would do her book justice, and the rest is history. "Rosalind wanted the movie to be positive, and I remember promising her that that was the goal — to have a positive core," she said.

9. Regina's cattiness was partially inspired by Tina Fey's mom

Regina is the leader of The Plastics, so it makes sense that she's the meanest one of all (at least until Cady comes on the scene). It turns out that Tina Fey drew from inspiration pretty close to home when writing Regina's character. Remember the scene where she compliments a girl's skirt and then makes fun of it as soon as she walks away? That's something that Fey's mother actually does. 

"My mom has this habit that if she sees a lady in a really ugly hat or a glittery sweatshirt, she'll go 'I love your shirt' and I'll say 'Mom, that's really mean,'" she told Blackfilm.com. "And she'll say 'clearly she wanted someone to notice that shirt. She picked it out. It has a huge Teddy Bear on it.'" Some of the inspiration for The Plastics came from Fey herself. "I was the Mean Girl, I admit it openly," she told Net-A-Porter.

10. Jonathan Bennett (aka Aaron Samuels) wrote a Mean Girls cookbook

Aaron Samuels might be lousy at math, but it turns out that he can write. At least Jonathan Bennett, the actor who played him, can. The actor collaborated with chef Nikki Martin to write "The Burn Cookbook" which is chock full of recipes like Fetch-uccine Alfredo and Just Stab Caesar Salad for the "Mean Girls" lover. Bennett hopes that the cookbook will bring joy to people and brighten up their lives.

"There's so much crap in the world, and there's so much stuff going on that is so negative and bad, and "Mean Girls" is such a great movie because it brought awareness to dividing people," the actor told Hollywood Life. "It brought awareness to how in high school, you divide people by standing apart from each other, but Mean Girls taught us a great lesson. And so this book is meant to bring people together instead of putting them apart. And what better way to bring people together than over food?" We agree!

11. The Broadway adaptation was nominated for 12 Tony Awards

"Mean Girls" is pretty perfect as is, but a lot of people seem to think that it's just as good (or better!) with some killer songs and dance routines. We already know that The Plastics have some moves, thanks to their "Jingle Bell Rock" routine, so it's only natural that the film made the leap to Broadway in 2018. The show racked up an impressive 12 Tony nominations, proving that "Mean Girls," with or without music, is timeless.

Tina Fey helped the show make the transition, writing the book for the musical and updating it for a modern audience. "No spoilers, but we knew we had to kinda pull the show into 2018 and social media is certainly a part of that," Fey told New York Theatre Guide. "For example, when something goes wrong for our characters at the talent show, maybe it gets broadcast across several social media platforms. ...It was quite fun and like a breath of fresh air to kind of pull those characters into the present and to talk about things kids have to deal with."

12. A Mean Girls sequel with the original cast was stalled due to contract negotiations

While there is a "Mean Girls 2," it isn't a true sequel to the original film and has a totally different cast. The 2011 film wasn't very well received and holds a measly 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sadly, this is the closest we're probably going to get to a "Mean Girls" sequel, at least for the foreseeable future. 

The original cast may have had a turbulent relationship on screen, but in real life, they've stayed friendly with each other and seem more than willing to film a sequel. However, there's a major issue preventing the rebirth of our favorite teen classic. Since the release of the original movie in 2004, the lead actors have become more successful and are worth more money. "Paramount Pictures doesn't want to pay the girls what they are worth," according to a source close to the production (via Page Six). "All four girls were willing to come back, but Paramount has not been respectful of what they are worth."

While Lindsay Lohan has hinted at wanting to do another "Mean Girls" movie (via YouTube), Tina Fey has joked that they wouldn't be able to afford a sequel today. The original "Mean Girls" was filmed before the stars had become the mega-famous celebs they are today. "Their quotes are all too high now," Fey told ET. "They're, like, Oscar nominees and stuff."

13. The author of the Means Girls books spoke out against Tina Fey

Before "Mean Girls" was a movie, it was a book. "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman was the main inspiration for the famous movie. However, even though Tina Fey bought the rights to the book before making the film, according to Wiseman, she was never compensated for the success that the film has had since signing the contract, even though she worked closely with Fey during the making of the movie. Her contract reportedly stated that Wiseman would receive more money depending on the film's net profits — however, she has never received anything extra.

"For so long I was so quiet about it ... but I just feel like the hypocrisy is too much," Wiseman told the New York Post. "I think it's fair for me to be able to get compensated in some way for the work that has changed our culture and changed the zeitgeist." She went on to accuse Fey of hypocrisy, saying: "Over the years Tina's spoken so eloquently about women supporting other women, but it's gotten increasingly clear to me that, in my own personal experience, that's not going to be the experience. You don't just talk about supporting women, you actually do it."

14. There could have been other celebs in the movie

These days, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the infamous Plastics; however, there was a time when the movie could have looked very different. Apparently, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was initially asked to audition for the role of Gretchen Wieners but turned it down because her mother hated the script. "We'd both read scripts and sometimes she would be like, 'Ew, that's terrible,'" Winstead told Collider. "You know, like the humor was raunchy or whatever, and so she hated that script and was like, 'You're not auditioning for that.' And I just was sort of like, 'Oh, okay. Whatever.'" 

Ashley Tisdale was also considered for the part. "We had a difficult time casting Gretchen Weiners," the movie's casting director Marci Liroff told Cosmopolitan. "I kept reading young actresses for the role, Ashley Tisdale auditioned for that part but didn't come down to the finals."

Blake Lively of "Gossip Girl" was another actor who almost became a Plastic. According to Amanda Seyfried, who played Karen, they had initially considered Lively for the part of Karen, while Seyfried was pegged to play Regina, as the actor told Vanity Fair (via YouTube).

15. Some cast members appeared in Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next video

In the "Thank U, Next" video, Ariana Grande paid homage to a few classic teen movies, including "Mean Girls." The music video featured a few iconic "Mean Girls" scenes, including the famous straight-to-camera scene, the "Jingle Bell Rock" dance, the burn book, and the slow-motion walk down the hallway. The video also featured scenes from "Clueless," "Bring It On," "Legally Blonde," and "13 Going On 30." 

In addition to including scenes from "Mean Girls," the music video also featured a couple of actors from the movie. Jonathan Bennett, who played romantic lead Aaron Samuels, reprised his role in the music video. "Ariana told me my hair looks sexy pushed back," he said to the camera, referencing a famous line from the movie. Stefanie Drummond, who played one of the high schoolers back in 2004 also made an appearance.

16. There was a Mean Girls video game

As strange as it may sound, "Mean Girls" was once developed into a video game. Back in 2008, Paramount announced it was developing games for three teen classics, including "Mean Girls," for Nintendo DS. However, the game was never released.

Luckily, Ray Mona, a gaming YouTuber, got her hands on the game in 2021 and posted a playthrough of the game on YouTube. "This game was full of so many bugs, and required several restarts, a patch, and a lot of debugging and patience but we managed to pull through," wrote Mona in the video description. "After all this, I can tell that the game required a lot of bug testing and wasn't at all ready for a release before it was ultimately pulled from release." She also commented on the game's characterization of Janis, writing: "Why did they make Janis even meaner in this game LOL."

17. Jonathan Bennett was hired because he looked like Jimmy Fallon

If you grew up in the era of "Mean Girls," chances are, you harbored a not-so-small crush for Jonathan Bennett, aka Aaron Samuels. Prior to the film, Bennett wasn't exactly a huge star — he had appeared in a few TV shows and films, including "The Bill," "Law & Order," "Eastwick," and "Boston Public." So, how did a relatively unknown actor end up starring in one of the biggest comedies of all time?

Well, apparently, it all came down to his looks — more specifically, who he looked like. As Bennett explained during a Reddit Q&A, Tina Fey thought that Bennett looked like Jimmy Fallon. "I heard that Tina Fey casted you as Aaron Samuels because you looked like Jimmy Fallon," wrote a fan. "Is there any truth to this? How was it working with Tina Fey?" To which Bennett replied: "Yes this is true! She was awesome."

18. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler helped Rajiv Surendra nail his rap

One of the most iconic moments in "Mean Girls" comes during the talent show — and no, we're not talking about "Jingle Bell Rock." We're talking about Kevin G's infamous rap (via YouTube). Even though Rajiv Surendra's performance as Kevin G made the rap what it is, it turns out, without Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the rap may never have come about in the first place.

While Fey wrote the rest of the screenplay, Poehler reportedly wrote the rap. "She'll [Fey] actually give credit to Amy for this, because Amy is more of the rap person," director Mark Waters told Vulture. "Amy definitely coached him on how to do the rap, and she actually gave him some of the moves and choreography for it."  

Need further proof that Poehler worked on the rap? In 2014, a behind-the-scenes video from the set of "Mean Girls" surfaced on YouTube that showed Poehler, Fey, and Lindsay Lohan doing the rap themselves. And Poehler is a natural.

19. Tim Meadows had a broken wrist while filming

Tim Meadows played the no-nonsense principal of North Shore High School, Mr. Duvall. You might remember the line about his carpal tunnel syndrome and his visible cast on his right hand. When he asks Tina Fey character's Ms. Norbury how her summer was, she says, "I got divorced," and he replies, "My carpal tunnel came back." It turns out, this line wasn't in the original script. Instead, Meadows had broken his hand right before filming began, and they had added the line to explain his cast. 

"Tim broke his wrist a week before shooting and thought he had to drop out, then Tina said: 'We'll just write a little joke about you having carpel tunnel syndrome,'" director Mark Waters told Cosmopolitan. "It's bizarre because no one comments on the fact he was wearing a cast for the whole movie." Apparently, Fey was eager to work with Meadows as they were co-stars on "Saturday Night Live."

20. A Mean Girls musical movie is coming

In 2017, "Mean Girls" was reimagined for the stage in a Broadway musical written by Tina Fey with music and lyrics by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin. But now, the musical is coming to the big screen in a 2024 movie adaptation. The film is set to star Angourie Rice as Cady, Renee Rapp as Regina, Auli'i Cravalho as Janis, Bebe Wood as Gretchen, and Avantika Vandanap as Karen.

Even though the cast of the original movie is too old to reprise their roles, we may get to see them make cameos in the film — although at this point it's unlikely. Speaking to ET, Amanda Seyfried said she was "still hoping for a miracle" and that they would all be "100% into" appearing in the movie. She added that whether they appear in the movie or not, they are long overdue for a reunion. "It's been a long legacy for 'Mean Girls,' and I think we all kinda just need to hang," Seyfried said.