TORONTO — When Mean Girls opened in April 2004, Lindsay Lohan was a promising young actress, Rachel McAdams was two months away from breaking out in The Notebook, and Tina Fey was only known as the Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live.
Mean Girls was Lohan’s fourth movie and her second filmed in Toronto. (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, also made in the city, was released two months before Mean Girls.) It remains the second-highest grossing movie for both Lohan and director Mark S. Waters (behind Freaky Friday).
A decade after its release, here are some fun facts about a made-in-Canada comedy that remains, well, fetch. (Stop trying to make fetch happen. – ed.)
Although set in the Chicago area, virtually all of Mean Girls was filmed in and around Toronto. Etobicoke Collegiate Institute stood in for the girls’ high school in exterior scenes. The math competition was filmed inside Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. In the scene immediately following the competition, the actors — including Lohan and Fey — are seen standing on King’s College Circle with the historic University College in the background.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK
Mean Girls is decidedly heavy on the Saturday Night Live connections. SNL cast members Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler and Anna Gasteyer are in the movie, which counts Toronto-born SNL creator Lorne Michaels as a producer. The screenplay was written by SNL‘s Tina Fey (who plays Ms. Norbury in the movie) and Lizzy Caplan’s character was named Janis Ian as a tribute to the real-life Janis Ian, who was the first musical guest ever on SNL. (Ian’s hit “At Seventeen” is used in the soundtrack.) Fey has said Jonathan Bennett (Aaron) was chosen as the male lead because he looked like her SNL co-star Jimmy Fallon.
SHOP LIKE A MEAN GIRL
Want to walk in the footsteps of Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert? The mall frequented by the Mean Girls characters — and where Caplan’s character works — is, in fact, Sherway Gardens in Toronto’s west end. The mall was also used for several scenes in 2006’s The Sentinel starring Eva Longoria and Michael Douglas.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
In Mean Girls, Amy Poehler plays the mother of Rachel McAdams’ character Regina George. In real life, this would be a biological miracle, given that Poehler is only seven years older than McAdams. Of course, Regina should not be in high school — McAdams was 25 when she made Mean Girls. In fact, only Lohan and Seyfried were in their teens when they made Mean Girls. The other students were in their 20s.
In one Mean Girls scene, Lohan’s character Cady says she “actually recognizes” the song being played. The song is “Built This Way” by Samantha Ronson — who, four years later, had a real-life relationship with Lohan.
In addition to being made with a largely local crew, Mean Girls boasts several Canadians in the cast. In addition to London, Ont.-born McAdams, the movie features Nova Scotia’s Diego Klattenhoff as Shane Oman. He went on to much more serious fare, playing Mike Faber on Homeland and FBI agent Donald Ressler on The Blacklist. Choreography for the talent show dance numbers in Mean Girls was done by Donna Feore, whose husband is veteran Ontario-based character actor Colm Feore.
Mean Girls opened in theatres on April 30, 2004 against another made-in-Ontario movie, the thriller Godsend starring Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romjin, as well as the Ben Stiller comedy Envy and the Pierce Brosnan romantic comedy Laws of Attraction. Made for a reported $17 million, Mean Girls earned $24.4 million in its first weekend, putting it in the No. 1 spot. It went on to earn $86 million in the U.S. and Canada and another $43 million in markets around the world, for a total haul of $129 million.
Principal Duvall (Tim Meadows) is seen with a cast on his right arm at the beginning of the school year, at Christmas and at the prom — a period of at least eight months. Meadows broke his arm prior to filming his scenes.
BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT
Quick, name the two Canadian singers who have cameos in Mean Girls. If you said Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion, you’re right. Posters featuring their faces adorn the walls of two bedrooms in the movie — Lavigne in Regina’s room and Dion in Damian’s room. Canadians may also have caught a glimpse of a Roots gift certificate sitting next to a phone in a kitchen scene with Lohan.
TWICE AS MEAN
A sequel to Mean Girls was filmed in Atlanta in 2010 but never made it to the big screen. Mean Girls 2 aired on ABC Family in January 2011 and was distributed on DVD. Tim Meadows was the only original cast member to reprise his role.