The star of Entertainment Weekly's "Mean Girls" oral history: Lindsay Lohan

After all the years of chaos and controversy, Lohan emerges like a calm, sane phoenix from the ashes

By Erin Keane
Published November 6, 2014 8:30PM (EST)
Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls"
Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls"

The cast of “Mean Girls” got back together for Entertainment Weekly’s reunion issue, and anyone looking for a tabloid-worthy Lindsay Lohan moment walked away empty-handed. Lohan sat down with her co-stars, Tina Fey and the Plastics (Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried), to swap memories about filming the sleeper hit that turned her into a bona fide star, and she sounds, well, happy to be there. Nostalgic. Normal.

A lot can change in 10 years, and Lohan’s decade has been tumultuous — drug and alcohol abuse, rehab, multiple arrests, jail time — and her personal problems quickly eclipsed her once-rising star. But in the cast reunion, we see a different Lindsay than the one we’ve come to know in the tabloids — the talented and funny young actress who once charmed the whole country as Cady, the heroine who takes on the mean girls and wins.

The anecdotes are all pretty charming. Lohan, 17 at the time they filmed, bedazzled her phone case in Swarovski crystals (“it was somewhat Method”). She went on a quest to find pink Uggs, and once tried to unravel all of the details of her feud with Hilary Duff to Amy Poehler and Fey, who said, “We couldn’t crack it. But we were pretending we could follow it.” It’s really easy (and really charming) to imagine the grown-ups trying to break down the she said/she said of a high-profile teen girl drama while filming one themselves.

The most interesting fact that came out about the film is that while Rachel McAdams, fresh off “The Notebook” set, wanted to play fresh-faced new girl Cady, Lohan really gunned for the role of Queen Bee Regina George. “I had just played — in "Confessions" and "Freaky" — not the cool girl in school. I was still 17 years old and I wanted to be the cool girl on set. So I had a war with him, and he goes, ‘No, Cady is the heroine, and that’s who you are,’” said Lohan. Could we really imagine them the other way around?

If there’s anything Cady and “Mean Girls” taught us (aside from the fact that on Wednesdays we wear pink, and butter is not a carb), it’s that you can turn into a version of yourself you never wanted to become, but it’s (almost) never too late to reverse the damage. Lohan’s been working in London, acting in the West End revival of David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” She’s said she doesn’t plan to move back to Hollywood, and maybe that’s for the best. In England, Lohan can get a little of that new girl magic back. She can work on the next chapter of her life and career with perhaps not a clean slate, but a fresh perspective — older, wiser, cooler.

Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Editor in Chief.

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Lindsay Lohan Mean Girls Tina Fey