It’s been a decade since Mean Girls was released onto the world in all of its quotable glory, and now, some of those who were at the heart of the project are reflecting on the film that changed their careers.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, creator Tina Fey, director Mark Waters, stars Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese, and author Rosalind Wiseman (whose book Queen Bees and Wannabes inspired the film), discussed the legacy Mean Girls, which has crossed multiple generations around the world.
After continually shutting down offers to expand upon her self-help book for teen girls, Rosalind Wiseman finally relented when an offer from Tina Fey seemed to hit the right note.
“Rosalind wanted the movie to be positive, and I remember promising her that that was the goal — to have a positive core,” Fey, who also portrayed the ‘voice of reason’ Ms. Norbury in the film, explains to the NY Times.
“I revisited high school behaviors of my own — futile, poisonous, bitter behaviors that served no purpose,” the former SNL star says of writing the script. “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.”
McAdams, whose career skyrocketed in the aftermath of her portrayal of ultimate ‘Mean Girl’ Regina George, explains of her now-iconic character, “At the heart of Regina George was a really angry kid who had no boundaries or guidance.”
Former child star Lacy Chabert, who played Regina’s right-hand woman Gretchen Wieners in the film (her father invented Toaster Strudel!), noted that growing up in Hollywood always made her feel as though she was “under a microscope” and so she identified with some of The Plastics’ behaviors.
“I related to the part in the movie where girls are cutting themselves down, like, ‘My hairline is weird’—stuff people would never notice on someone else,” Chabert says.
Though it’s widely considered to be a “cult classic,” Mean Girls actually did quite well at the box office, and has raked in $121 million worldwide since opening in April of 2004, according to E! Online.
“When you’re making something, you kind of have no concept of it. But this was the script that made me call my manager halfway through and say, ‘I will play any part in this,’” McAdams recalls. “Tina hit a nerve about girl politics, but in a nonconfrontational way.”
Lizzy Caplan, who played offbeat bestie Janice Ian to Lindsay Lohan‘s Cady Heron, remembers, “I was much more naïve about the business back then. I didn’t know much about, say, what a good opening weekend for a teen comedy was. But when I found out they were studying the movie in sociology classes at universities; that felt pretty big.”
The Mean Girls fandom continues to live on through social media and on television, and with a musical currently in the works, it’s likely that the ‘fetch’ phenomenon will soon reach an entirely new audience.
But in the meantime, there are still plenty of young fans who remain passionate about the story of formerly home schooled Cady and her run-in with the popular crowd.
“I recently stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in Europe, and the owner’s young granddaughter asked me to write down a few lines from the movie at breakfast,” McAdams tells the New York Times. “I was like a deer in headlights. I couldn’t remember any. And she proceeded to give me 12 direct quotes.”
For more on this interview, head to NYTimes.com, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!