MOTW: Five Facts about "Mean Girls"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
September 17th, 2013

MOTW: Five Facts about "Mean Girls"

The 2004 classic teen flick "Mean Girls" would probably have caused a little more than a blip on the radar if it weren't for the ongoing antics of the actress playing its lead role: Lindsay Lohan. Lohan has a love-hate relationship with her legion of obsessed fans. In the film, she plays the proverbial good-girl-gone-bad in what could be seen as a greatest representation of art imitating life to hit the silver screen in many years. After all, the movie is still being discussed years later and spurred a less-than-successful sequel and its own video game. Despite the repeated analyses, however, there's still a lot about the original "Mean Girls" that you might have missed amid the Lohan hype, so here's your chance to get up to speed.

Lohan was not the original choice for good girl Cady Heron; she was initially cast to play the movie's villain, Regina George. It was Lohan who decided to play Cady instead of Regina since she did not want the public to base her actual personality on that of The Plastics' leader. Originally, Plastics' sidekick Amanda Seyfriend, who played the part of the fourth meanie in the clique, Karen Smith, was cast as Cady. Interestingly enough, "High School Musical" star Ashley Tisdale also auditioned (but was not chosen) for the role of Karen.

The name for Lohan's character was selected as a sort of tribute to Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), who was an early pioneer in the women's rights movement in the United States during the 19thcentury. She also helped author "The Woman's Bible," a two-part book published in the late 1890s. Stanton not only addressed issues concerning a woman's right to vote, but she also lobbied for employment rights, income rights, birth control, and parental and property rights for women. Although it's pronounced like the traditional American name,"Katie," the spelling is a subtle allusion to the overall theme of the film, which is female empowerment.

At the time of its filming, the actress playing Regina George was old enough to have completed high school and college. Rachel McAdams was 26 when "Mean Girls" was shot, and the actress playing Regina's mother, Amy Poehler, was 33, just seven years older than her on-screen daughter. Lohan was 18 at the time, and thus the only member of The Plastics still young enough to be in high school.

The name for the character Janis Ian, high school outcast and former BFF of Regina George, played by Lizzy Caplan, was actually chosen to represent a real-life songwriter and singer who wrote "At Seventeen," a song that has great significance in the lesbian community. In the movie, Regina refers to Janis as a lesbian (although she's not) and has perpetuated rumors regarding Janis' sexuality since 8thgrade, leading to the animosity that occurs between the two girls in this film. There is some reference to the fact that Regina refers to Janis as a lesbian because she's Lebanese. Incidentally, Janis Ian was the first-ever musical guest and out-of-the-closet lesbian on "Saturday Night Live."

The film was originally set to be released with an "R" rating due to sexual content and strong language. In fact, the movie, written by Tina Fey, was originally drafted to pay homage to 80s teen sex comedies until Lohan was brought on board and a different approach was decided upon. The films' creators had to tone the film down to earn the film a rating of PG-13 so it could appeal to a larger audience. This proved to be a big job since there was a lot of questionable material in the film that had to be altered in order to achieve the more family-friendly rating. For example, during the lunchtime poll scene, the original script had Jason asking Cady if her "cherry" had been "popped." That was changed to her "muffin" being "buttered." In another change, a girl was purported in the legendary Burn Book to have "masturbated" with the help of a hot dog, but the writers changed it to say that she "made out" with a hot dog. Regina George was also slated to appear topless in an effort to seduce Aaron, and Karen (who thought that her breasts could predict weather) was also scripted to pull off her top to detect a tornado, but these scenes were also removed.

There you have it; five facts about "Mean Girls" that you likely didn't know. Love it or hate it, this film has staying power because anyone who attends or has attended high school can relate to its characters. Knowing a few little-known tidbits about its creation will help you understand the film a bit better.