13 interesting things you never knew about 'Mean Girls'

Paramount Pictures‘Mean Girls’ has been around for over a decade.
  • “Mean Girls” was released in 2004 and it’s since become a cult-classic movie.
  • The big talent show in the movie oddly took place on Thanksgiving.
  • One of the reasons Jonathan Bennett was cast as Aaron is because Tina Fey thought he resembled Jimmy Fallon.
  • The actor who played Glenn Coco wasn’t supposed to be in the movie at all.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

From a teen comedy to a cult classic with its own unofficial holiday and a Broadway musical, “Mean Girls” is now celebrating its 16th anniversary.

Written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan (Cady) and Rachel McAdams (Regina), the film continues to grow in popularity as new generations discover its humour and relate to its depiction of high-school drama.

And even though you know which day the Plastics wear pink (Wednesday, obviously), here are 13 things you may not know about “Mean Girls.”

The original cut of the film earned an R-rating from the MPAA.

Paramount PicturesSome of the movie’s original jokes were changed so the film could be PG-13.

“Mean Girls” eventually became a cult classic among its target audience, but younger tween and teen viewers were almost unable to see the film.

The filmmakers butted heads with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over the way many of the jokes were written.

For example, the quote in the Burn Book about Amber D’Alessio making out with a hot dog was originally about a frozen hot dog and involved something much more explicit than making out.

The ratings board took issue with the sexual humour and with the fact that the hot dog was frozen, so the line was rewritten.

Director Mark Waters told Thrillist that the board tried to force other changes before granting “Mean Girls” its PG-13 rating, but he said he pushed back against their qualms by bringing up comparable jokes in existing PG-13 films like “Anchorman.”

Actor Daniel Franzese said playing Damian helped him to embrace his own sexuality.

Paramount PicturesThe actor wrote about the experience a decade after the film premiered.

In 2014, 10 years after the film’s release, actor and comedian Daniel Franzese wrote an open letter to his character Damian on IndieWire.

In it, he shared details about how he struggled with his identity and how the character taught him to be proud of himself again.

“I think part of the reason it took me so long to feel comfortable with who I was, was I didn’t have the same referential point,” Franzese told People magazine. “What Damian did for a lot of queer people and people of size – which I found out later on – it gave them an identity in pop culture where they weren’t made fun of. He’s never made fun of for being big or for being gay.”

The movie “Freaky Friday” got in the way of Lindsay Lohan playing Regina George.

Buena Vista PicturesJamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in ‘Freaky Friday.’

In a 2014 interview with Vulture, director Mark Waters revealed that Lohan originally auditioned for the role of Regina, not Cady.

Waters said that Lohan had the right “aggressive, testosterone-laden energy” to be Queen of the Plastics, but that they could not find an actress capable of facing off against her as Cady.

During the casting search, the family comedy “Freaky Friday” released in theatres and it changed how audiences perceived Lohan.

“It’s just not going to work having her play the villain, because she now has an audience that won’t accept that,” Waters recalled former CEO of Paramount Sherry Lansing telling him.

Amanda Seyfried was also very close to playing Regina.

Paramount PicturesAmanda Seyfried said playing Karen ‘pigeonholed’ her into similar roles.

During his feature commentary with Tina Fey and producer Lorne Michaels, Waters revealed that Amanda Seyfried also read for the role of Regina George.

Seyfried was being strongly considered for the part until Michaels suggested that she read for the airhead friend, Karen.

Seyfried has since said that she was “pigeonholed as the dumb blonde” after starring in the film, but that just shows how convincing she was in the part.

Not everyone thought the movie was fetch — some critics hated it when it was released.

Paramount PicturesSome critics really hated it.

Given its lasting popularity and high score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s hard to believe that in 2004 not everyone was aboard the “Mean Girls” train.

Film critic Richard Roeper called it only “kinda funny” and said that he couldn’t recommend it.

“I would be more amused if the topic of rich material girls had not been worn to a thread elsewhere,” wrote critic Anthony Lane of The New Yorker.

Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead didn’t audition for “Mean Girls” because her mum thought it was “too raunchy.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesMany big-name celebrities have turned down projects that turned out to be big hits.

In an interview with Perri Nemiroff of Collider, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead revealed that her mother read the script for “Mean Girls” and thought the humour was “too raunchy” so she never auditioned to be one of the Plastics.

“I was looking for great roles to play when I first started as opposed to really looking at the whole story of the film and what the film was saying,” she said,

Fortunately, she’d go on to star in other hit films like “The Spectacular Now.”

Evan Rachel Wood also passed on a “Mean Girls” audition.

Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesThe actress ended up appearing in other hits instead.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” Evan Rachel Wood explained that when she heard about Fey’s film, she was already working on a similar project called “Pretty Persuasion.”

Not wanting to double-dip into the high-school comedy world, she passed on the chance to audition. And although “Pretty Persuasion” didn’t meet the same success as “Mean Girls,” Wood went on to star on hits like “Westworld.”

The big talent show in the movie oddly took place on Thanksgiving Day.

Paramount PicturesThe talent show wasn’t in December.

As the eagle-eyed team over at Ms. Mojo pointed out, there is a flyer in one of the bathrooms advertising the big Winter Talent Show.

The date printed on the flyer is Thursday, November 27, 2003 … which was Thanksgiving.

Ignoring the fact that public schools in the US are typically closed for Thanksgiving recess, it’s still a little odd that North Shore High was into the Christmas spirit so early.

The character Janis was named after a popular singer, but maybe not the one you think.

Paramount PicturesShe was named after Janis Ian.

In the DVD commentary, Fey revealed that Janis Ian (played by Lizzy Caplan) was named after a singer-songwriter of the same name from the 1960s and 1970s.

Ian’s 1975 chart-topping song “At Seventeen” was the anthem for teenage angst, which is why Fey chose the name for Caplan’s character.

The iconic song was also used in the background of one of the scenes in the film.

The actor who played Glenn Coco was only on set for the free food and he wasn’t supposed to be in the movie.

Paramount PicturesGlen Coco didn’t get credit, but he did get candy.

In a 2014 interview with Dazed Digital, actor David Reale shared the story of how he became the legendary Glenn Coco.

After auditioning for and not getting a part in the movie, then-19-year-old Reale decided to hang around the set with background actors so that he could snag a free meal.

The director recognised him from the auditions and decided to put him in the candygram scene.

Reale said he was never officially hired so he never got paid, but he said his free lunch was pretty great.

“I guess it was the first time somebody pointed to me on the street and shouted ‘You go Glenn Coco!’ that I knew I was involved in something with a beauty and power that surpassed the mere proliferation of four candy canes to an accidental movie extra,” he said.

He said fans still recite the quote to him on a daily basis online and in real life.

Kevin G had unlikely rap coaches on set.

Paramount PicturesHe picked up some rap skills from the pros.

Maths enthusiast M.C. Kevin Gnapoor is a standout among the secondary characters in the movie. His talent-show rap is legendary, but what you may not know is that actor Rajiv Surendra needed a little help to get the flow and attitude right.

Fey revealed in the film’s commentary that she and Amy Poehler were the ones who stepped in to help Kevin G “do his thang on the microphone.

One of the reasons Jonathan Bennett was cast as Aaron is because Tina Fey thought he resembled Jimmy Fallon.

Paramount PicturesJonathan Bennett in ‘Mean Girls.’

Jonathan Bennett told HuffPost that one of the reasons Fey chose him to play Aaron Samuels is because he looked like her former “Saturday Night Live” co-star Jimmy Fallon.

Tina Fey said she regrets shooting down talks of a sequel.

Paramount PicturesTina Fey was in the first movie.

Since the release of “Mean Girls” in 2004, fans have been begging the filmmakers and cast to return to North Shore to see what the student population is up to.

In a 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly for the film’s 10-year anniversary, Fey confirmed that there were once talks of a sequel but that she cut them off early.

“For whatever reason, I was like, ‘No! We shouldn’t do that,'” Fey said. Reflecting on the stance, she added that there was no reason why it couldn’t have worked, but added that as of 2014 it was “too late.”

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