Study Guide

Mean Girls Director

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Director Mark Waters is a real ladies' man.

Wait—that sounds wrong. What we're trying to say is, almost all his movies have been anchored by female protagonists. That makes him a rarity in Hollywood.

Waters' filmography is diverse, too. His first film was 1997's The House of Yes, a black comedy starring Parker Posey that he adapted from the play of the same name. Mean Girls marked his second collaboration in a row with Lindsay Lohan. He also directed her in 2003's Freaky Friday remake. In fact, after that film, he knew Lohan absolutely had to star in Mean Girls…as Regina.

Waters explains:

"Her energy is a very aggressive, testosterone-laden energy, and that's exactly what I knew I needed for Regina George." (Source)

The problem was, Freaky Friday was a big, fat hit that increased Lohan's profile. The execs at Paramount insisted that she could no longer play the villain in Mean Girls; her fans wouldn't want to see her pounding Kälteen bars and getting hit by a bus. Waters ultimately agreed and broke the news to his star.

Mean Girls follows Waters' modus operandi by featuring a cast that's almost entirely women, who don't spend every waking hour talking about dudes. He also manages to skirt a bucket-load of high school comedy clichés—or at least to skew them a little it. Cady throws a "small get-together" that turns into a monstrous house party, for example, but her classmates don't trash her house.

Similarly, Cady gives a big, heartfelt speech at the end of the film (at the school dance, of course), but it's subverted by Mr. Duvall continually interrupting her to tell her that it's not necessary for her to make a big speech—because it isn't necessary.

That kind of move only happens on the big screen. Taken in tandem with his penchant for making movies about interesting women, Waters' willingness to explode tropes like this makes him not just a formidable comedic director but also an ace disruptor.

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