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Interview: ‘Mean Girls’ Star Angourie Rice on What the Original Film Means to Her, and What It’s Like Following in Lindsay Lohan’s Footsteps

January 11, 2024Ben MK

Taking over an iconic role like Lindsay Lohan's Mean Girls character, Cady Heron, is no small task. However, in the two-decades-later big screen update to one of the most crowd-pleasing and time-tested comedies from the early 2000s, that's exactly what Angourie Rice does with aplomb. Best known to moviegoers as Betty Brant in the Tom Holland Spider-Man films, the 23-year-old actress has seen her star rapidly rise in recent years, with prominent parts in such movies and series as Senior Year, Honor Society and The Last Thing He Told Me. And now, with Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.'s musical reimagining of Mean Girls, Rice is stepping into the shoes — or rather, the pink heels — of one of cinema's most beloved heroines.

I caught up with Angourie Rice to chat about her favorite memory from the original Mean Girls, as well as her favorite musical moment from the 2024 version, and to find out what she would do differently if she could travel back in time and re-live her own high school experience.

I understand you're a huge fan of the original Mean Girls. What's your favorite part or character from the first movie, and what made you want to be a part of this new take on that fan favorite?

Rice: I think one of my favorite parts of the original movie is Cady's transformation. And it's not a particular scene, but it happens really slowly. I think Lindsay Lohan does such an incredible job of making that change so subtle and detailed, so that when she's suddenly mean, it's like, "Oh, I see how you got there." Like it's been this slow progression. So that's something I was also really excited to take on, because that's such a joy as an actor, when you get a character who really changes and goes through a transformation. So, I was excited to do that.

You’re taking over an iconic role first made famous by Lindsay Lohan. Were you nervous at all?

Rice: Yeah, really nervous. I felt a big sense of responsibility, not only to myself, but also to other fans of the movie. It's so prevalent in pop culture, and such a huge part of everyone's adolescence and experience growing up. So there was a lot of responsibility there. But everyone who signed on to do this movie did so because they love Mean Girls. So everything that's in this movie comes from a place of loving the story.

And, of course, this version of Mean Girls incorporates a lot from the Broadway musical as well. What was that like, in terms of all the singing and the choreography you had to do?

Rice: It's different! I grew up singing and dancing, so for me it was really fun to return to that. What I also love about it is it's very unique in the way that the musical numbers are done — the way our directors and choreographer worked together to create musical moments that feel really interesting and unique and surprising, not something you've necessarily seen before. There are really clever camera moves and quick cuts, and little tricks of the eye so things are all in one take. It's really clever, and I think a great visual spectacle.

Did you have a favorite song in the movie?

Rice: I have so many favorite songs. One of my favorite songs to see performed was Bebe [Wood's], who plays Gretchen, her song "What's Wrong With Me." She sang that live, and that was really amazing to see. Just such a beautiful song, and she sang it so beautifully, also with almost no accompaniment.

Last but not least, if you could go back in time and redo your own high school experience, is there anything you would do differently?

Rice: If I could change anything about my own high school experience, I would put less pressure on myself. Cuz I definitely had a lot of pressure to do everything and be friends with everyone and make everyone happy. And in the end it just ended up making myself not as happy, because I was trying to please everyone else.

Mean Girls is in theaters January 12th.

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