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Catching Up With The People Who Made 'Mean Girls' Your Favorite Movie, 10 Years Later

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On Wednesdays we wear pink and write about "Mean Girls." Released 10 years ago this month (on April 30, 2004), "Mean Girls" has never been far from the cultural conversation. Netflix just added the high school classic to Instant Watch. In March, writer and co-star Tina Fey teased the idea of some kind of "Mean Girls" reunion. One month before that, star Lindsay Lohan alluded to a homecoming as well. Even the film’s supporting characters are well cataloged: This year, BuzzFeed reminded us that Kevin G. (Rajiv Surendra) grew up handsome, while Entertainment Weekly rounded up Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) and Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert). But what about the people who really made "Mean Girls" our favorite movie? Not Fey, Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, but Coach Carr, Trang Pak, Amber D’Alessio and the girl who doesn’t even go here? To celebrate 10 years of “Mean Girls,” HuffPost Entertainment tracked down the film’s key background players to find out what they remember about making the high school classic.

Dwayne Hill as Coach Carr

mean girls

Do you get recognized for "Mean Girls"? I don't look the same anymore. I've kind of got a beard. I look like an upscale hobo as opposed to a predatory authority figure. When people find out I'm in "Mean Girls," their jaws just drop. [...] I remember the first time people walked up to me who were fans. I used to work in a big production studio in Toronto. My office was in there. These two guys used to convert one of the studios into a rave party at night. They were club owners. They walked up to me and went, "You were in 'Mean Girls.'" I was like, "You've seen 'Mean Girls'? You two giant grown men love 'Mean Girls'?"

Did you think "Mean Girls" would be such a cultural phenomenon? I don't think anybody did. Mark Waters was, I think, a hot director at the time, so he had some buzz about him. Tina Fey was just the news anchor on "Saturday Night Live" who wrote jokes about George Bush being stupid. It was light fluff, but this was a movie that deals with really serious topics. You don't even realize that until the end. You're like, "Oh my God, did we ever take a journey!" [...] It's so universally loved. It speaks to everybody. That's Mark Waters and Tina Fey. Mark did "House of Yes," and Tina Fey is so in touch with her humility and honesty that everyone just relates to her voice.

When was the last time you saw someone from "Mean Girls"? You know what's funny? I did a sketch on "Late Night With David Letterman" last fall, which, of course, was a check off the bucket list. But Tina Fey was the guest. I didn't have the chance to say hi to her, but I thought it was so funny. Ten years later, she's now golden, because she deserves to be golden, because she's the hardest working woman in show business.

Clare Preuss as Caroline Krafft

mean girls

How did you get involved with “Mean Girls”? I have an agent, so I got an audition, and he was like, "I think for this part, you should Method act and go in looking as much like that person as possible." I didn't wash my hair for a couple of days and just got into the world of Caroline Krafft and went in there as Caroline.

What do you remember about being on set? Tina is in that scene, but she's in the audience. She was kind of chill in that scene. Tina and I got along because she felt like I looked a lot like she did in high school. Lindsay was lovely, too. Mark and I played a lot, though. Over the two days of shooting, I started channeling Molly Shannon's Mary-Catherine Gallagher character [from "SNL"]. We were playing a lot. It was really good.

What was it like getting into character? It was the only time in my life I've ever had an eyebrow fitting and an eyebrow prosthetic. I have moles on my face, but they made one of them a lot bigger -- like a boil or worse. Shooting was almost a month after the audition. They asked me to grow in my mustache and then put a bunch of mascara on my mustache. I felt like quite the beauty queen coming out of that makeup trailer.

Do you get recognized for "Mean Girls"? I have absolutely been recognized been many times for Caroline Krafft. Not by people I know. People I know have watched the movie, known I was in the movie, and [then don't recognize me]. [...] Mark was super personable and awesome with the actors and really integrated. So when I got to the wrap party, I was like, "Hey, Mark!" He looked at me like he didn't know who I was. I was like, "Okay, I realize I didn't play a huge part or anything, but we had a good camaraderie." So I go, "Oh, I'm Caroline Krafft." He was super shocked. He had never seen me out of Caroline Krafft land. He dragged me over to Lorne Michaels, and was like, "This is Caroline Krafft!" Lorne has seen a thousand people dressed up for "SNL," so in very famous Lorne fashion, he was like, "Oh, nice to meet you." Mark was like, "I can't believe it!" It was fun to shock him.

Julia Chantrey as Amber D'Alessio

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Amber was originally supposed to have masturbated with a hot dog, not made out with one. Did you know that line was going to change? No. I don't know why we didn't know it was going to change, though, because Lindsay was such a key factor in terms of her market. I don't know why it wasn't anticipated that the word wasn't going to go with the PG-13 rating.

Is that your most enduring memory from the set? I remember clearly shooting that, but my biggest memory was going into ADR to try and fix it. I was working overnight, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., at Tim Hortons. It was my "day job," but it was an overnight job, so whenever I had to audition for anything during the day, it was like getting up in the middle of the night. I can remember dragging myself out of bed, probably on more than one occasion, and going to the studio to try and get rid of the masturbate word. There was the bleachers scene with Tim Meadows chastising the girls for the eruption in the hall. I'm still physically there, but there was an exchange between my character and Tina's character that had to be cut because they couldn't dub the masturbate line. Mark, the director, was in L.A. at that point. They were telecasting him in and playing with every word that could possibly resemble masturbate. They couldn't get it.

Did you think "Mean Girls" was going to be such a cultural phenomenon? When I think back about it now, I remember how I almost did not audition because when I got the sides, all I saw was something about masturbation and a hot dog. I was like, "I don't even want to get up for this." I remember thinking that it was like porn. But I went, and it was only after I had been cast that I got the full script. As soon as I saw Tina's name on it I was like, "Ohhhh. Okay. Good thing we booked that one."

When did you realize the impact "Mean Girls" had on pop culture? It was a few years. I remember knowing the script was really good. I loved Tina's sense of humor. I recognized the intellectual dry commentary on the teenage hierarchy. The set was really fun, but you can be on a lot of fun sets and it doesn't mean the end product is going to be fun at all. So it was probably a few years later. Facebook was coming out at that time, and it was only when Facebook had been established for a few years that I started getting contacted by people who had hunted me down through Facebook. My coverage wasn't that elaborate, so for people to recognize me on the street or through social media just by that one line made me realize how many people must have been seeing this.

When was the last time you saw someone from "Mean Girls"? Just a few weeks ago. I was at a theater and I ran into the girl who played Dawn. The tampon girl I run into all the time -- the girl with the huge vagina line. I run into them in Toronto quite a bit.

Jill Morrison as Crying Girl

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What's your most enduring memory from the set? Meeting Tina Fey and working with her was amazing and surreal. I have always been inspired by the characters on "SNL," and thought she was hilarious. I walked into the large gymnasium where it was filmed and it was quite a sight, and Mark Waters walked up to me right away and was so friendly, and introduced me to Tina. It was a dream!

Do people recognize you from the movie? "Mean Girls" is amazing for the ability to capture generations, so my fans start fairly young and go to much older with "she doesn’t even go here" love. The other night after the live taping of the hilarious sitcom I work on, "Package Deal," "Mean Girls" fans approached me. It happens every day, on sets or in social situations, when people find out. But I am generally not approached about it on the street. I mostly enjoy the tweens though; they are pretty cute about it. But it's pretty constant and it’s been a really neat, exciting experience.

Did you think "Mean Girls" would be such a cultural phenomenon? The movie was my first gig, and I was already pretty overwhelmed by that. I thought Mark's direction was brilliant, and the way he worked with me was incredible and challenging. I knew the script was really funny and smart, and I could see the acting was good. But the reaction to it took me years to get used to. I sometimes could not believe the "she doesn’t even go here" craze. The attention for it has also really helped my career, and I will always be thankful for that. I once had a fan send me a t-shirt with a picture of a cake she had made with a rainbow on it. I think Crying Girl would have gobbled that up.

What do you remember about the wrap party? I have great memories about the wrap party. I hung out with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and it was pretty cool. I remember being nervous, but standing at the bar and watching Amy dance and loving the situation because she was being so entertaining, and it made me feel like I had front row tickets to "SNL." They were both so nice, it was a lovely experience and I really admire both those women very much.

Have you seen anyone from the film in recent years? I have not seen anyone from the film, which now when I go to answer this question makes me hope that changes! But it's awesome to watch the cast’s careers develop and grow.

Jeff Moser As Farting Guy

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What’s your most enduring memory from the set? Because I was the farting guy, the crew, as a prank, put a fart machine underneath the chair I was sitting on. That was pretty comical. I remember chatting with Lizzy Caplan and some of the cast in between the shots and set-ups. Also, I actually had somebody back into my car on the first day. I was late due to an accident, but I had a great time.

What was it like the first time you watched "Mean Girls"? My family was there, and, of course, my dad was like, "Hey, everyone, do you want to meet the farting guy?" "Thanks a lot, dad!" It was a lot of fun.

Do you still get recognized? I still get the odd person that will look and go, "Were you in 'Mean Girls'?" "Yeah, I was the farting guy!" [laughs] I've had some fun with that over the years.

Olympia Lukis as Jessica Lopez

mean girls

Do you get recognized for "Mean Girls"? The craziest time was when I was at a club in Toronto and these guys came up to me and were like, "Um, sorry to bother you, but were you in 'Mean Girls'?" And at this point, I'd cut my hair and looked totally different, and I looked at these kids like, is this a joke? Am I on “Candid Camera”? Are you serious? And they’re like, "We recognize your voice, so we just had to come and ask you. We watched that movie every single day for a whole year, and we were obsessed." These kids recognized my voice! We're in a club, loud music, and these kids totally knew me. I do definitely get some people who say I look familiar, but once I tell them or once they figure it out, they're like, "Yeah, totally!"

Did you think "Mean Girls" would be such a cultural phenomenon? Never in a million years did I think it would be such a pop culture phenomenon. I remember reading the script when it came to my door. I was 20 or 21 when I made that movie, and I was just so excited. Oh, Tina Fey! That was the most recognizable name, and Amy Poehler, because of the "SNL" cast. Lindsay Lohan was just "Parent Trap," and she was coming off of "Freaky Friday," so I would tell my friends I was in this movie and they'd ask who’s in it and I’d say, "Oh, Lindsay Lohan." "Who's that?" "Rachel McAdams." "Who’s that?" "Amanda Seyfried." "Who’s that?" People that now you definitely know who they are. But at the beginning, I remember saying to them, "Remember the girl from 'Party of Five'? Yeah, she's in that movie." Even reading the script from Tina Fey I was laughing and thinking this movie is so weird and hilarious, because there's no real movie that's been like that ever. People can compare "Clueless" to it or certain other movies from the '90s, but there's definitely not been a movie like "Mean Girls" made since. It's truly a standout, standalone movie.

What do you remember about the wrap party? I was drinking amaretto sours at that point in my life. I remember feeling nice at that party. I met Lorne Michaels and they had karaoke. I remember I sang a song that Tina Fey really liked. My go-to karaoke song is No Doubt -- that's always a staple of mine, but I didn't sing that one that day. Tina said she loved that Jennifer Lopez song "Play." And I sang that song, and as I was singing it -- and I was about four or five amaretto sours deep -- I couldn't remember how the song goes. So as I'm singing the song, I feel it just falling off the rails. As I'm struggling through it, Tina Fey comes out of nowhere and basically saves the day. She scoops me up and starts singing the song with me.

What's your most enduring memory from the set? There was one scene where they did the fire alarm and the sprinklers came on, and we all go into the gym. There was a scene where I'm sitting there in the wheelchair and they had to change the cameras around, so there were like 300 girls as extras in the gym scene, right? And I get up off my chair because it's take five, and you hear about 10 girls in the background going, "Oh, my god!" Because they thought I was really in a wheelchair, so they were shocked when I stood up. She walks!

Jan Caruana as Emma Gerber

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What was your most enduring memory from the set? Everyone was so great on that set. I still keep in touch with a few of the girls. But in terms of awesome memories, sitting in the makeup chair one day and getting to chat with Amy Poehler about the Upright Citizens Brigade and having her talk about it the same way I would talk about the small theater company I was part of at the time. Also getting to meet Tina Fey. Getting to meet Lorne Michaels at the cast party and having him know who I was, that was amazing. So there were just lots of cool things that happened.

Do people recognize you from the film? Not as much as they used to. I mean it has been 10 years, and that's the thing that makes me realize it has been 10 years the most. I used to get recognized all the time and it was hilarious. People would want to take their pictures with me and that was really funny because you think, you have such a small amount of screen time but those characters really affected people, I guess.

Did you think it was going to be a cultural phenomenon? Not really. When you are filming it, you are kind of in the middle of it, and you kind of don't really know what it's going to be. I remember when I first got the script, I knew that it was really, really funny and I knew that if everything went well, based on the script alone, I thought it would be a great film. And it really was. I think 10 years later it still holds up.

Ky Pham as Trang Pak

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What was your most enduring memory from the set? The whole thing was so hilarious and every scene that I shot was so funny. The one scene when the Burn Book came out and everyone is just fighting in the hallway, and it was utter chaos. I was having that catfight with the other "cool Asian girl" and we were actually clawing at each other, and I had scratch marks all over me. She had my skin under her nails, we actually really went at it. It was really funny.

I did have some English lines, but when we started filming Mark [Waters] cut them all. I had to go home and have a bunch of the lines translated into Vietnamese, because I had no idea how to translate it myself. I took my lines to my dad, and some of the things in the movie that I was saying were really rude. Like, I had to ask my dad how to things like, "Why are you always cockblocking me," and "n***a, please." And my father says to me, "What the hell? First of all, [said in a whisper] Why are you calling people n***as, and second, why are you saying please after you insult them?" It was so funny. But there is no literal translation, so he just came up with something else that was fitting.

Do people recognize you from the movie? Not until they know me. Like, after they've met me and they watched the film. Then they'll be like, "Hey, were you in 'Mean Girls'?" and I'm like, "What are you talking about?"

Did you think it was going to be a cultural phenomenon? I had no idea. When I went for the audition, I didn't know it was a feature film. I thought it was a made-for-TV Canadian movie. I didn't even know it was a feature until I saw the previews on TV. I had no clue, it was really funny. I thought it was an after-school special.

Erin Thompson as Dawn Schweitzer

mean girls

What was your most enduring memory from the set? It was my audition. It was my first audition for a feature film and when I came into the casting room, Mark Waters, the director, was actually in the room, which surprised me. So I did my audition, and when the reader responded with, "Who wouldn't say that?" I gave my very best stink eye to the reader and the director laughed. And that for me, as a young actor, was a really wonderful experience.

Do people recognize you from the movie? There was one time about five years after the movie came out. I was out and about, and I was recognized by someone that I didn't know at all while out at a bar singing karaoke. And as I was leaving I could hear a guy shouting, "Dawn! Dawn!" And that's not my name so I kept walking, but he grabbed me by the shoulder and turned me around and was shaking me and says, "You're Dawn Schweitzer from 'Mean Girls'!" It was lovely he was so excited to meet me, it was a really nice experience.

Did you think it was going to be a cultural phenomenon? I knew when I got the script that it was a great movie. Tina Fey is an amazing writer. She's definitely one of my heroes and someone I look up to. She took a non-fiction book written by Rosalind Wiseman about girl politics and culture and turned it into this amazing, funny film. And Mark Waters heading it as the director -- it's so wonderful because his brother, Daniel Waters, wrote "Heathers," and now he’s made "Mean Girls," which is the "Heathers" of this generation. Did I know that going into it? No, but the seeds were definitely there.

Stefanie Drummond as Bethany Byrd

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What was your most enduring memory from the set? I know you spoke to my best friend Jan, who played Emma Gerber, and my fondest memory is of our matching dresses that we wore during the prom scene. They were hilarious. They were long and puffy, and hers was bright blue and mine was bright pink. And I just remember putting on these dresses with my best friend and getting walked to set, it’s pretty remarkable. Just in terms of friendship and our the extravagance of it. [Check out Stefanie's photo here]

You know the scene in [the girls' changing room] where Rachel McAdams' character has holes cut in her shirt? So I had to wear a towel in that scene, but I didn't know I had to. I thought I would be wearing like gym clothes or something, and then I was like, "I'm going to be wearing a towel in a movie? What is going on?" I had never been in a movie before and I didn't know how big the towel was going to be, so it was freaking me out. So the wardrobe girls and the PA guys, they all put on towels with me before I had to shoot the scene. And now in retrospect, when I saw it, it's a huge towel, but at the time it really freaked me out. But it was so cute that they did that. The crew was so wonderful and Mark Waters was amazing.

Do people recognize you from the movie? All the time! It kills me. I'll be in hot yoga or something and people will ask me, "Are you the girl with the wide-set vagina?" It surprises me how often it happens. It makes me laugh. A lot of people love saying the lines to me, people are really sweet. I've never not had anyone been really cool about it.

Did you think it was going to be a cultural phenomenon? I knew it was going to be a really funny movie. I read the script and I laughed. I knew Tina Fey had written it and I couldn't believe I was reading words that Tina Fey had written -- and that I was going to get to say them. And then when I found out who was going to be in it -- like Amy Poehler -- these hilarious, strong women. I knew it was going to be funny, but I had no idea it would go on for like a decade.

Sharron Matthews as Joan the Secretary

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What was your most enduring memory from the set? It was my very first feature film and I was so nervous. I was sitting in my trailer on the very first day, and I heard this teeny little knock on the door and Tina Fey was standing there. She said, "Sharron, I'm Tina," and I thought, "I know." She said, "I just wanted to come walk you to set, we are so happy to have you on this movie." She walked me to set and she talked to me about my audition, and she loved that I was in musical theater and she just went to such great lengths to make me feel comfortable. That's what I thought happened on every feature film, which of course it doesn't. She put me at such great ease that it was a fabulous shoot for me.

Do people recognize you from the movie? You know what? They do. I was just out for a meeting with a production company at dinner and someone asked me if get recognized from "Mean Girls" and I said, "Oh yeah, all the time." I swear not 10 minutes later, a young man walked up to me and said, "You're from 'Mean Girls,' aren't you?" It hadn't happened in a while, but someone just wrote on my Facebook page, "You don't know how much this movie meant to our generation." And that person was probably 21. It's wild. I'm thinking, "You were 11 when I made this movie." But every generation has kind of claimed it as their own.

Did you think the movie would have such staying power? I remember thinking that it was a really good script. That made me hopeful for it being a good movie, but I don't think anyone guessed that it would be this enduring.

Daniel DeSanto as Jason

mean girls

What was your most enduring memory from the set? My first day on set, I met all the girls and I was pretty nervous because I was a big fan of Lacey Chabert's because I used to watch "Party of Five" all the time, and she was really hot. But in person she was even hotter, it was crazy. We were doing the scene where Lacey's character and my character were in the bathroom together, and in the script, Lindsay's character is supposed to open the door and see us, even though we're not doing anything and just moves on. Mark Waters, the director, he would give us a cue for Lindsay at the door. He'd yell, "Lindsay!" and then we'd react. We rehearsed a couple times and then he took me aside and told me, "When we roll, lean in like you are going to kiss Lacey." And already I was super nervous because I never kissed a girl on screen before, and I just kind of looked at him and he told me he'd yell for the cue before I would actually kiss her or anything. So then we go back and he yells action, and now I'm even more nervous and I'm sitting there, looking at Lacey and she puts her hand on my chest and I'm sure my heart was beating out of my chest. And then I sort of played with her hair, and lean in for the kiss -- and Mark is not stopping me. Now I'm already committed, so it's not like I can pull back, so I kiss her. And then all of a sudden finally Mark Waters yells "Lindsay!" and we both react and look at the door and out of nowhere Lacey just slaps me. That was not part of the script at all. And my reaction was real because I was shocked she hit me, and she hit me pretty hard. There was stunned silence for a couple seconds, and all of a sudden you hear our director just start howling with laughter and finally he yells "cut." And that was the only take of that scene that we did.

Do people recognize you from the movie? All the time, it's crazy. Every once in a while I'll get people saying to me, "Jason, you're such a skeeze." I’ll get, "Go shave your back now." I get "Butter your muffin" all the time. It's crazy how much that line sort of made it. We didn't even know what it meant at the time, because the original line that we shot was, "Is your cherry popped? Would like us to assign someone to pop your cherry?" That line didn't make it through MPAA ratings, so we had to change it. When we went into do ADR for the film, myself and the director, he was just throwing a bunch of different stuff at me: "Is your taco spicy? Is your cookie baked?"

[...]

It's crazy. I’m newly single now, and when I was in L.A. about a month ago my friends were telling me about Tinder, and I got on it, and I thought it was pretty cool. So I started getting matched and stuff like that, and this one girl messaged me, and she was like, "Hi" and I was like, "Hey," and she says to me, "I have a question for you." And I said, "Shoot." And she said, "Can I butter your muffin?" And then I deleted the app after that.

Did you think it was going to be a cultural phenomenon? No. I mean, the script was funny and through the auditions I met Waters and he was really great, and that was exciting. But, I mean Lindsay [Lohan] was just coming off "Freaky Friday." Rachel [McAdams] was just coming off of "The Hot Chick." I remember sitting at lunch with Rachel and telling us about "The Notebook," but not for her, she was saying that everyone is going to freak out when this movie comes out because of this guy Ryan Gosling. Of course Lacey [Chabert] had her voice work and "Party of Five," and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Ana Gasteyer and Tim Meadows, everyone knew from "SNL." But "30 Rock" hadn't happened yet, neither had "Parks and Recreations." It was basically on the cusp. We had no idea. Everyone had kind of done something, but we just thought we were shooting another high-school movie, right? I mean I had no idea. It's such a rare thing.

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