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In 2004, the movie Mean Girls hit theaters, creating a loyal following that would turn out to be only the first generation of fans. Even 16 years later, people are still quoting lines from the movie, like the unforgettable “Stop trying to make fetch happen.”

Many of those unforgettable lines came from one of the movie’s most intimidating characters: Regina George. But it seems that Regina of Mean Girls was almost played by a different actress, who would have made her even more frightening. 

‘Mean Girls’ gave a glimpse into high school life

Tina Fey wrote Mean Girls, her first screenplay ever. It was an insightful look into the demands of popularity.

Lindsay Lohan played the role of Cady Heron, who was thrust into an American high school as a complete outsider. Her family had moved to a suburb in Illinois after living in Africa. Cady, who had been homeschooled by her scientist parents, gets a crash course in cliques, cruelty, and the power structure of the teen social world. 

Mean Girls quickly became a cult classic. Watching Cady learn about high school and eventually infiltrate the Plastics, her school’s top (and terrifying) clique was irresistible. Quotes from the movie remain popular, so much so that it’s become a part of the cultural background. 

And one of the most unforgettable things about the movie was definitely the unusual characters. 

Regina George ruled the Plastics

Mean Girls
‘Mean Girls’ | CBS via Getty Images

Regina was played by Rachel McAdams, and she was deliciously nasty. Regina was the leader of the most exclusive clique in the school, known as the Plastics, and she ruled her friends with such a firm grip that her former best friend referred to her as “an evil dictator.” She kept her followers in line with carefully calculated cruelty. 

McAdams went on to have a busy and successful acting career, starring in such movies as Wedding Crashers, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Spotlight. But for many fans, she’ll always be the queen bee who had some of the meanest, most quotable lines in the movie. She was fond of savaging her closest friends, saying things such as, “God, Karen, you are so stupid.”

And speaking of Karen, the actress who played her originally had her eye on a different, much nastier role. 

Amanda Seyfried almost played Regina George


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Seyfried was only 19 years old when she auditioned for Mean Girls. She credits Fey’s excellent screenplay and the movie’s director, Mark Waters, for her performance, saying it is her best work. But she originally tried out for a different role — and if she’d gotten it, the movie would have looked pretty different. 

Seyfried first read for the part of Regina, and if you’re used to her as the air-headed Karen, that can be hard to imagine. However, Waters called her performance “kind of brilliant.” In fact, she almost got the part. 

“She played it in a much more ethereal but still kind of scary way,” Waters said. “She was more frightening, but oddly, less intimidating.”

It’s hard to imagine Regina more frightening, but we’ll never know what that would have looked like, because Waters went in another direction. He decided to channel that ethereal quality into the character of Karen Smith. Seyfried nailed this part, convincingly playing Karen, who has been described as dumb as a box of rocks. 

In the end, Seyfried was perfect for the role of simple Karen. And although it’s intriguing to imagine what her scary take on Regina would have looked like, in the end it’s impossible for fans to picture anyone but McAdams in that role.