Image: Paramount Pictures
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that pretty much imprints itself on your soul. We're not talking about a movie that you watched once and enjoyed. We don't even mean movies that you've a few times and know a few lines from. We mean movies that basically become a part of the fabric of your being. Movies that you fall in love with 10 minutes in, and watch every single time you find it on TV. The kind of movie that you memorize from start to finish, and know all the songs from the soundtrack by heart. You have a folder of memes and gifs JUST FROM THIS MOVIE. There are a handful of special movies like this. And for many of us, Mean Girls tops the list.
Sure, it's technically a movie for the youths. Even when it came out in 2004 we were, uh, a bit above the target age range. A comedy set in high school about fremenies?? That ain't for us! But somehow, Mean Girls crossed all boundaries, and united us all in comedy, an extremely quotable script, and one of the best casts ever. It's been 15 years since the movie came out, but that cast is still near and dear to our hearts. So what's happened with them in the last 15 years? Some have soared, some have stepped back. And some, well ... some are Lindsay Lohan. Let's take a look at the cast of Mean Girls, then and now!
Apparently Lindsay Lohan originally wanted to play Regina George, the role that eventually went to Rachel McAdams. But director Mark Waters had her pegged as heroine Cady Heron from the get-go. And she was FANTASTIC in the role. She wasn't unknown before the movie - Lindsay had starred in quite a few popular films by this point. But Mean Girls definitely catapulted her into a level of fame that was otherworldly. However, Lindsay seemed to have a difficult time managing the newfound fame, and quickly became a tabloid staple. There were a few arrests, a few public meltdowns, and plenty of family drama.
Welllllllll ... it's complicated. Lindsay Lohan (wisely) extricated herself from the Hollywood scene after one too many run-ins with the law and some really bad press. She needed a break! She now lives overseas, splitting her time between Dubai and Mykonos. Earlier this year, she starred in the reality show Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club, which documented the opening of a club in Mykonos that bears her name. She hasn't worked much outside of the beach club show, however. After Mean Girls, she had a string of borderline-embarrassing films and made-for-TV movies. She's reportedly sober though, so that's awesome! But then there was the whole kidnapping refugee kids thing. Ups and downs, we suppose.
Besides penning the screenplay for the movie, Tina Fey also starred as 12th grade calculus teacher and Mathletes coach Sharon Norbury. The character seems classic Tina: hilarious, witty, and comically uncool but in the coolest way. Tina turned what could have been a boring character into one of the heroes of the movie. Ms. Norbury encouraged students to stand up for themselves, flex their muscles, and embrace being bad-ass young women. Now, we don't know Tina Fey personally, but we imagine there was a lot of her personality in the character. Super supportive, sort of inappropriate, and takes no BS.
We're not entirely sure Tina Fey sleeps. Since Mean Girls came out in 2004, she's been on a bit of a tear, career-wise. She's acted in movies and TV shows like Date Night, 30 Rock,Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Saturday Night Live, and the new Netflix movie Wine Country. She's credited as a writer on ... most of those. AND, she's written a book, and also wrote a hit Broadway show, also called Mean Girls, you may have heard of it? Oh, and she also hosted the Golden Globes. Did we mention she wrote a couple of books? She's been busy, in other words.
OK, so she might not have been our favorite character when we saw it before we had kids. But we became moms? COOL MOM FOREVER. Amy Poehler played Mrs. George, Regina George's highly inappropriate and clinging-to-her-fleeting-youth mother. In 2004, we could relate to Regina and her utter mortification. But in 2019? A couple of kids later? Hell yeah, we are Mrs. George all the way. You know, minus the underage drinking and whatnot. No one, and we mean no one, could have brought Mrs. George to life the way Amy Poehler did, and we are forever grateful for her in Mean Girls.
Tina and Amy are sort of a package deal, and together they've blazed a whole lot of trails since Mean Girls. Wine Country, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, plus voice work in movies like Monsters vs. Aliens and Inside Out have kept Amy Poehler pretty damn busy over the years. Did we mention she also hosted the Golden Globes with Tina Fey? Because she did. She's also a producer on Wine Country, Broad City, and Russian Doll (one of the best shows on Netflix, don't @ us). Writer? Yeah, she does that too, with credits on Parks and Rec, Russian Doll, Broad City, Inside Out, and more. She really IS a cool mom.
Good gracious, but Regina George was a grade A bitch, wasn't she? She was mean and vicious and manipulative and cunning. And the scary part is, plenty of us knew a Regina in high school. Rachel McAdams played that character like she was born to be bad, and she will always be one of our favorite actresses because of it. She wasn't exactly a newcomer when Mean Girls came out - The Notebook came out the same year, and she'd been acting for quite a few years before 2004. But it's pretty safe to say that 2004 (and those two movies) changed her life and career and made her a household name.
Rachel McAdams is one of those actresses that is pretty choosy about projects, so we don't see here nearly as much as we'd like. Since Mean Girls and The Notebook, she's probably most known for her work on the Sherlock Holmes trilogy and the TV series True Detective. Rachel also nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Spotlight. But the normally private actress made big waves last year when she posed for Girls, Girls, Girls Magazine wearing nothing but Versace couture and a breast pump. Rachel welcomed her first child in April 2018, and she gets the struggle of being a working, nursing mama.
Let's be honest: when Halloween rolls around, and you don't have a costume, 9 times out of 10 you slap on a pair of mouse ears and say, "I'm a mouse, duh". Amanda Seyfried had some of the best quotable lines in the entire movie, and she made us laugh with a simple eye roll or look of total confusion. Amanda originally wanted to play the role of Regina George, but is really happy she ended up as Karen. You only get so many breaks in your life," she said. "I just wanted to be in the movie." We're so glad she played Karen, because we're not sure anyone could have done it better.
Sure, some of us will never look at Amanda Seyfried and not hear her say, "It's like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can tell when it's gonna rain". But after Mean Girls, Amanda sort of ... exploded. She starred in the critically acclaimed show Big Love, played Cosette in Les Misérables, and of course, sang and danced her way into our hearts as Sophie in Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She also eloped with actor Thomas Sadoski, and welcomed a daughter in 2017. Busy? Sounds like it. We wonder when she'll introduce her little girl to the wonders of the movie that delivered her big break?
It's too bad "Fetch" didn't actually take off. Not that Lacey Chabert needs another claim to fame - her portrayal of Gretchen Wieners, one of Regina George's sidekicks, was one of the best parts of the whole movie. Gretchen always looked like she was on the verge of hysterics, which just added to her character's hilarious contributions. Her screeching, "YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US!" will never not make us laugh. And really, Lacey Chabert was probably one of the most seasoned actors in the whole movie. She's been on the big and small screen since the ripe ol' age of 11. We still remember her as Bianca Montgomery on All My Children and Claudia Salinger on Party of Five.
Lacey Chabert is a hustler, baby! Seriously, her IMDB page is massive. A solid four finger scrolls just to get through all her roles. Her work in recent years is mostly on the small screen, both as an actress and a voice artist. She's one of the Hallmark Channel's benchmark stars, from the Crossword Mysteries miniseries to more holiday movies than you can shake a strand of garland at. Seriously, if you watch Hallmark movies during the holidays, you'll probably see Lacey in 60% of them. She's worked pretty much nonstop in the years after Mean Girls, and for a woman in this industry, that is pretty rare.
If we're being honest, we were probably most like Janis Ian in high school. Lizzy Caplan played the outcast, sarcastic weirdo to absolute perfection, and her witty one-liners and stinging clapbacks were some of the best parts of Mean Girls. A lot of us could relate to Janis! Always on the outside looking in to the world of the popular kids, but knowing that they were a bunch of assholes we wouldn't actually want to be friends with anyway. From her thick black eyeliner to her emo-hair, Janis Ian was a real representation of high school for a lot of fans of the movie, and she still holds a special place in our hearts.
As much as she enjoyed working on Mean Girls, Lizzy Caplan found that the role of Janis Ian followed her around long after the movie wrapped. She says she was continuously typecast as a Janis Ian-type character. It got to the point where Lizzy seriously considered quitting acting altogether. She says, "I didn't want to be continually rejected. I was right at the doorway of believing I couldn't do anything else." Luckily for us, she kept at it, and found some roles that seem written just for her. After working on True Blood in 2008 and doing some other smaller TV and film roles, Lizzy landed the role of a lifetime on Showtime's Masters of Sex. She is dynamic and fantastic on that show, and VERY unlike Janis Ian.
"SHE DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE!" Listen. LISTEN. If you haven't yelled that line out at least 100 times at various points and in various situations over the last 15 years, then we can't even be friends. Daniel Franzese played Damian, the funny and slightly awkward BFF of Janis Ian. It's got to be hard to compete with a cast of amazing women in an arguably girl-centric movie, but Daniel more than held his own. That scene has got to be one of the most memorable scenes in Mean Girls! Most days, we want to put on some sunglasses and a hoodie and cinch away the outside world. Damian made us feel seen and heard.
Life after Mean Girls wasn't an easy transition for Daniel Franzese. While some of the movie's stars were shot into super-stardom, Danny had trouble getting out of the box the role put him in professionally. He says, "There were times when I didn’t have food, and I didn’t have rent, and I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I would walk outside onto the street and people would be like, ‘You go, Glen Coco,’ and it’s just like, ‘What the fuck?’ Even after Mean Girls I applied at one point to be a security guard again at Target in the Valley, and they wouldn’t hire me." But it's clear he's meant to be a performer, he's so freaking good at it. Daniel's worked in TV for years, and does regular stand-up routines around the country.
Ahhhhhh, Aaron Samuels. The cute, slightly dumb and more than slightly clueless jock who we ALL had a crush on in high school. On October 3rd, he asked Cady what day it was, and she told him it was October 3rd! Jonathan Bennett played the role of Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls, and we are all the better for it. Sure, in a cast of amazing women in a movie about backstabbing teens, his was more of a supporting role. But watching Regina completely lose her mind over the idea of Cady and Aaron even being friends was entertaining. And for the record, he does look great with his hair pushed back.
Sure, we might have been introduced to Jonathan Bennett in Mean Girls. But these days he's out there doing every damn thing. He was on Dancing with the Stars, he hosted Cupcake Wars and Cake Wars on the Food Network, plus a ton of other TV work. Most recently, he appeared on Supergirl, and will be seen in a bunch of movies and shows that are currently in pre- and post-production. Most notably, he stars alongside Hilary Duff in the campy horror movie The Haunting of Sharon Tate. So while we may remember him fondly as Aaron Samuels, Jonathan Bennett is making a name for himself all over the place. It's still always October 3rd, though.