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January/February 2024

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Mean Girls With inspiration from Broadway, Paramount reimagines this high-school comedy BY MARC LOFTUS D irected by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., Paramount Pictures' Mean Girls puts a musical twist on the popular 2004 release. The film was produced by Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey, and introduces a new cast of students to the cutthroat jungle of high school. Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is welcomed into "The Plastics," which is ruled by queen bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp) and her minions Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika). However, when Cady dares to fall for Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), she finds her- self prey in Regina's crosshairs. Her outcast friends Janis (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey) are there to support the newcomer. Here, the directors share insight into the film's shoot, VFX and post production, and how they brought a modern take to a story that already has a strong fan base. How long was the shoot? Arturo Perez Jr.: "39 days." Samantha Jayne: "Originally, it was 34, I believe… And then we asked for a Hail Mary, and then we got it." Arturo Perez Jr.: "The days were tight! I spent a lot of time there." I understand that it's the equivalent of having put together a dozen music videos? Samantha Jayne: "Yeah, lots of music videos." Arturo Perez Jr.: "And a movie!" A film like this is so dependent on the music. What shape was the music in when you began production? Arturo Perez Jr.: "I think Je© (Richmond) was still working on the music. I remember we were shoot- ing and they were still writing 'What Ifs.' We didn't have the opening song." Samantha Jayne: "For a while!" Arturo Perez Jr.: "Grease did it too. One of the songs… I think 'Summer Loving' — or one of the songs — they were shooting and they hadn't writ- ten that song. I remember we didn't get 'Revenge Party' until, like, two months before." Samantha Jayne: "But we knew the goal was always to update it to kind of this fresher, pop palette. We had many conversations with Tina (Fey) and the team about: What songs do we want to keep? What songs do we have to, unfor- tunately, part with? But then, once we got to that point, they started reconceiving the palette of those songs to kind of more of something that kids would listen to on Spotify, perhaps." Arturo Perez Jr.: "Yeah, we had the Broadway songs." Can you talk about how you made use of several di¡erent aspect ratios for the social media, music video and reality scenes? Arturo Perez Jr.: "Even at the very beginning, we don't cut. We go from [9 by 16] through the garage door. You might not even notice it, but we don't cut. And we go to Cinemascope. We use the garage as a way for your eyes to adjust. We wanted it to feel like this is a movie that is like with the heart and soul of a 16-year-old, but it's a movie for the theater." Samantha Jayne: "Just to tack on to that — then, after you're in anamorphic, you're knocked back into reality — back into spherical. So it was

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