Take yourself back to 2004: teen comedies are in full force. From Legally Blonde (2001) to The Princess Diaries (2001), Noughties Hollywood had adolescents in a chokehold. But little did we know that another American comedy was about to take the world by storm. Mark Waters’ Mean Girls (2004) became an instant modern classic. With its quotable lines like (‘On Wednesday we wear pink’) and recognisable characters, from Queen B Regina, gossip girl Gretchen, and ditsy Karen, Mean Girls continues to be a yearly watch for many (with October 3rd being dubbed the official ‘Mean Girls Day’). It came as no surprise, then, that the movie would receive musical treatment. Almost a decade later, in 2013, a musical adaptation was reportedly in the works, with music by Jeff Richmond, and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. On October 31, 2017 it made its world premiere at the National Theatre, Washington, D.C. — going on to attain twelve Tony Award nominations as a result.
But that’s not all. In January of 2020, Tina Fey announced a film adaptation of the musical was officially in the works. Unbeknownst to us, and them, mere months later the world would grind to a halt with quarantines and shutdowns. This did, undoubtedly, slow the film’s production. In fact, with almost two years of radio silence, many viewers began to lose hope altogether.
All was not lost, however. Almost three years later, in December 2022 an official cast list was released. With Angourie Rice as Cady, Reneé Rapp as Regina (who actually played Regina in the Broadway version back in 2019!), Auli’i Cravalho as Janis, and Jaquel Spivey as Damian — the musical film adaptation was once again in full-swing. With writing from Tina Fey (who wrote the original movie’s source material Queen Bees and Wannabes back in 2002), coupled with the combined efforts of directors Arturo Perez and Samantha Jayne, it seems that fans can certainly rest easy knowing that the upcoming adaptation is in capable hands.
And thankfully there’s even more light at the end of the tunnel. On February 8th 2023, fans were delighted to hear further news on the project. Joining the aforementioned ensemble, we have Christopher Briney as Aaron (who’s almost ‘too gay to function’!), Bebe Wood playing Gretchen (‘So fetch!’) and Avantika Vandanapu as the iconically dim-witted Karen. Now that production is looking to be in full-swing, therefore, we can certainly look forward to more updates over the upcoming months.
Whilst no official release date has been given for the adaptation, with what looks to be increasing numbers of updates over the last few months, we certainly have cause for optimism. But whether the film premiers this year, or next, one thing’s for sure: it has some pretty large shoes to fill. Can it live up to the huge hype set by the 2004 teen comedy? Perhaps. Only time will tell. But with its stellar casting, and a script by Tina Fey, it looks to off to a pretty strong start.
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