Tina Fey's cult classic 'Mean Girls' returns to theaters in new film based on hit Broadway musical

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Saturday, January 13, 2024
'Mean Girls' returns to theaters in new film based on hit Broadway musical
Nearly 20 years after the original film debuted, 'Mean Girls' is back with a new film adaptation based on the hit Broadway musical.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's been twenty years since Upper Darby's Tina Fey first brought us "Mean Girls," an instant cult classic that became a coming-of-age anthem for teenage angst, cliques and bullies.

There's since been a hit Broadway musical and now, the two become one in a brand new movie musical, in theaters now.

Action News reporter Alicia Vitarelli had a chance to chat exclusively with Fey, and her "fetch" new cast.

"The original movie is based a lot on my own experiences as a teen in Delco and kind of re-examining my own behavior and how toxic it was," says Fey. "This behavior, unfortunately, has not gone away in the world. It's still something that we need to draw attention to and make fun of."

Tina Fey's cult classic 'Mean Girls' returns to theaters in new film based on hit Broadway musical

So Fey brought back the Plastics to meet the moment we're in today. This new film draws in social media, and moves the storyline into modern times.

"It's not as big of a leap to bring it up to date because I think it is about human behavior at its core," says Fey.

Almost 20 years later, she's still in awe at the way the story resonates.

"It's been really gratifying to see how sticky these characters are with people and how much people still kind of care about 'Mean Girls,'" she says.

And all of it was inspired by Fey's own trips down the halls of Upper Darby High School.

"It's a joy and a surprise that here I am, twenty years later, still talking about this group of characters," she says.

The musical version of "Mean Girls" is now a touring production that recently stopped at Philadelphia's Miller Theater.

Fey decided to add the score from the musical to give this new film a fresh take.

The task? To build a new cast of up-and-coming stars.

"I love this cast," Fey says. "The original cast members are really formidable. I think these guys are too. They're each unique and so powerful in their own ways."

Reneé Rapp first played the leader of The Plastics, Regina George, in "Mean Girls" on Broadway.

"It feels really great," Rapp says. "It definitely feels exciting. It feels like it's been with me for a minute in a really, really good way."

Angourie Rice is Cady Heron, the new kid in school.

"It feels very special for us to be here and to be a part of something so big and iconic and to bring something new to it," she says.

Lindsay Lohan originated the role in the 2004 film, and welcomed Rice to this new era at the world premiere.

"Cady's character arc is so timeless," Rice says. "We're always going to relate to it. It feels very special to play that character and be a part of this."

Auli'i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey play Janis and Damian.

"Growing up, the only representation I had as a queer man was Damian Hubbard," Spivey says. "He's the only plus-size gay man that I'm seeing on my TV screen. To able to step into that as a black man 20 years later, is an honor."

Auli'i's breakout role came as the voice of Disney's "Moana" in the 2016 animated feature.

"I've been lucky enough to play characters who are true to themselves, who go beyond the reef in different ways," Cravalho says. "Janis is a character that decides that she would rather sit alone at her own lunch table rather than fit in with the Plastics."

Along with Rapp, rounding out The Plastics are Bebe Wood is Gretchen and Avantika Vandanapu as Karen.

"We both grew up with the movies so it's been a part of our lives for a long time," says Wood.

"I hope it impacts like the younger generation in a positive way like the original did for us," adds Vandanapu.

Finally, Christopher Briney is heartthrob Aaron Samuels.

"It's an honor," Briney says. "The fact that Tina entrusted us with these characters of hers. It's also terrifying! We have a lot of fear and excitement and, more fear!"

"Mean Girls" is in theaters now.