Could you imagine Mean Girls without Lindsay Lohan? Neither could we. But apparently, it almost happened, because Lindsay was initially not sold on playing her now-iconic character, Cady Heron.
The 35-year-old Hollywood actress told the movie secret in a video for Vogue, where she reviewed her most memorable looks through the years. In it, Lindsay revealed that she had her eyes set on a totally different role in the film.
"I wanted to play Regina [George] because I'd just come off of Freaky Friday and I really wanted to play a pretty normal girl now," she explained. "I wanted to have a diferent kind of role than just the damaged teenager again."
However, the Mean Girls showrunners were not on the same page. Lindsay continued, "Mark Waters, the director, was insistent that I played Cady and so was Tina [Fey, the screenwriter]. They were like, 'No no no, you're the lovable one, you have to play Cady.'"
In an interview with Vulture, Mark shared that he, too, was advised to hand Lindsay the lead role. He said, "Sherry Lansing, who was heading Paramount at the time, told us, 'We have to have Lindsay play the lead in Mean Girls. It’s just not going to work having her play the villain, because she now has an audience that won’t accept that.'"
The "mean girl" role of Regina eventually went to Rachel McAdams, whose audition was turned down at first because she seemed "too old" to play a high schooler. Luckily, the director changed his mind when he saw Rachel and Lindsay act together.
"When Lindsay was acting with Rachel, she got very shy, because Rachel was older and a very accomplished actress. She’d come in the room and not talk to Lindsay—she was very focused," said the director. "Lindsay kind of got nervous around her, and I thought that, more than anything, was going to be the deciding factor, the fact that she affected Lindsay in that way."
Mean Girls premiered in 2004, the same year that The Notebook—another film headlined by rachel—hit the theaters.
In the end, Mean Girls' casting turned out more than perfect. It did, after all, become a cult-classic that any pop culture fanatic can still quote to this day.
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