Directed by: Mark Waters
Written by: Tina Fey
Release date: April 30, 2004
Running time: 1h 37min
Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) thinks she knows about “survival of the fittest.” But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time and falls prey to the psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today.
Cast & Characters
Lindsay Lohan (Cady Heron), Rachel McAdams (Regina George), Tina Fey (Ms. Norbury), Tim Meadows (Mr. Duvall), Amy Poehler (Mrs. George), Ana Gasteyer (Cady’s Mom), Lacey Chabert (Gretchen Wieners), Lizzy Caplan (Janis Ian), Daniel Franzese (Damian), Neil Flynn (Cady’s Dad), Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels), Amanda Seyfried (Karen Smith), Rajiv Surendra (Kevin Gnapoor)
Surrounded by jocks, mathletes, flaky teachers and subcultures galore, Cady climbs up “and slides down” the harrowing social ladder of junior year, and life in the jungle turns out to be cake compared to high school! As exemplified in her wickedly funny and often acerbic writing style, “Saturday Night Live” head writer Tina Fey has long been fascinated by social dynamics and –thought that the phenomenon of Girl World nastiness bore further investigation. To that end, she got in touch with Rosalind Wiseman, co-founder of the Empower Program, a nonprofit organization that works to empower girls and boys and stop adolescent violence.
Wiseman’s book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence impressed Fey with its insight into how girls navigate through the cliques and hierarchies of adolescence, and she was convinced that the material could provide the spark for a very funny and very topical movie.
“I think that girls are ingenious in how they find ways to sabotage one another in these invisible, unseen, hurtful ways,” says Fey. “What struck me most were the anecdotes of the girls that were interviewed for the book. Rosalind, rightfully, takes them very seriously, but in my opinion, they’re also very funny. I mean the way girls mess with each other is so clever and intricate, and probably very instinctive.”
“SNL” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels loved Fey’s idea to turn the book into a film. “This is very rich subject matter, and very relevant at the moment. I knew that Tina would have a smart take on it,” says Michaels, who has been launching the theatrical debuts of “SNL” cast members since 1986. “She’s somebody who considers what she does very carefully, and I had every confidence it her ability to spin this book into a great film.”
While adapting a book to a screenplay can be complex at best, the task was made that much more difficult because Fey was turning nonfiction into fiction. Using the concepts and anecdotes in Wiseman’s book as a springboard, and pulling material from interviews with teenage girls and her own experiences in high school, Fey created a very funny screenplay that drew topnotch talent, including director Mark Waters.