[Editor’s note: The following interview contains spoilers for “Mean Girls.” Go see the film first!]
If you saw “Mean Girls” this weekend, you probably freaked the heck out when you saw original star Lindsay Lohan pop up onscreen as the moderator running the climactic math competition in which Cady (Angourie Rice) competes.
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Co-director of “Mean Girls” Samantha Jayne knows the feeling. “I have a 14-year-old girl living inside of me,” Jayne told IndieWire about finding out Lohan would be making a quick appearance. “She was just exploding with joy and disbelief. We were literally counting down the days. I just didn’t understand how I would function as director and do my job. We did it. We got through it. Because I overcame my just pure unbridled joy and excitement to be able to speak to her. She was so wonderful. So warm.”
The third-act twist is a delightful treat. While Tina Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles from the 2004 film, the rest of the cast are primarily newbies to the franchise, so the unannounced Lohan reveal (she, duh, played Cady in the original) is a true surprise.
“Tina was on set that day, and to see them reunited, it was just so beautiful,” Jayne continued. “And then [Lindsay] was so kind to the cast; so wonderful with Angourie. And she was so trusting too. We were telling her about this idea: ‘We want to give you a big reveal; we think audiences would really, really enjoy it.’ So we just told her about the exact moment when the camera would come in and she looks down the barrel at the audience and announces, ‘This is the IMCT State Math Championships.”
Lohan then makes a meta joke about being unfamiliar with Cady’s experience. Perfect cameo aside, the film’s directing duo (Jayne and her husband Arturo Perez Jr.) told IndieWire it was important to them to make this version of “Mean Girls” — a musical with bombastic numbers and genuinely funny social media digs — their own.
“We talked about the need for it to be surprising,” Jayne said. “We’re massive fans of every iteration of this. It had to be something new. We’re 20 years later, it’s a new generation of kids, they speak an entirely new language; it’s a whole new arena.”
A Paramount Pictures release, “Mean Girls” is in theaters now.
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