Samantha Jayne is Making Fetch Happen

By Alixandra Rutnik on Feb 15, 2024

Director’s take on the 2024 Mean Girls remake


Get in losers.

The new rendition of the iconic movie-turned-musical Mean Girls is here. If you’re familiar with Renée Rapp’s bold character in Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, you’ll recognize Leighton Murray in her latest role as Regina George. Though, this isn’t the first time Renée’s played the mean girl because she starred as Regina George in Mean Girls on Broadway in 2019 and 2020, too.

Speaking of 2020, just before the whole world shut down, actress, writer, and film director, Samantha Jayne, took the winning title in the music video category of our One Screen Short Film Festival for “Damn I Love this Friday Night.” Samantha is well known for her Quarter Life Poetry book and FX Hulu TV Series and now will be acclaimed for her latest film, Mean Girls, which she co-directed with her husband, Arturo Perez Jr.

Of course, we had to catch up with Samantha (excitingly a “cool mom” to be) to hear all about Mean Girls 2.0.


So, I have to start with this, what is the pull of recreating the iconic Mean Girls movie from 2004?

I’ve been a mega-fan of Mean Girls since it came out when I was in high school. I connected with it on a deep level because I felt Tina Fey really understood what I was going through. I love the original Mean Girls movie so much, so yes, for sure, it was definitely a lot of pressure. But I think it was pressure I was putting on myself because I’m such a fan. I figured if we could connect a whole new generation to this story, it would be a total dream come true. I joked that it was my civic duty to do this story justice, but truly, I felt that way. We wanted to update it so it resonates with teens now, so naturally, it would be different in that way. And we wanted to be able to dive deeper into these characters we all love, and music was a great way to do that.

How did you connect with Tina Fey on this project?

Tina’s producing partner reached out to me and my husband to see what our take on the Mean Girls script would be, which was wild, unexpected, and so very cool. We knew Tina had seen Quarter Life Poetry, which we’d made at FX. Mean Girls felt like such a surprise, but when I thought about it, I realized there were a lot of parallels between Quarter Life Poetry, which cracks open the inner reality of a young woman through subjective reality and music, and what this reimagining of Mean Girls could be. We read the script and instantly had all kinds of sparks go off and ideas about how to bring this to life. When we first spoke with Tina, we all connected on the need to make this surprising and its own thing while still honoring the original and OG fans. I remember saying, “This movie is for the cynical millennials too, who are like, ‘Why are you touching my Mean Girls?!’ I know this because I am one.”

“I realized there were a lot of parallels between Quarter Life Poetry, which cracks open the inner reality of a young woman through subjective reality and music, and what this reimagining of Mean Girls could be.”

What were your major goals going into making this film?

Our goal from the beginning was to make this movie feel personal. It’s told through the mind’s eye of Janis and Damian, so really it’s their perception of what happened, which was a lot of fun to us. This version was always going to be a musical, and so we wanted to really get deep into each character’s inner world and emotion with the songs. We also wanted the camera to feel fluid and free, the way a teen might capture something on their phone. So whether it was a one-take or a talent show performance that feels like Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” it was all about how that character felt and how it can be expressed on screen.

“We also wanted the camera to feel fluid and free, the way a teen might capture something on their phone.”

We already love the original Mean Girls, so why should we go see the 2024 rendition? Sell us.

Art and I would call Mean Girls “the sacred text,” meaning it’s like an age-old story. Kind of like how Romeo and Juliet has many iterations and performances. Honestly, it’s the same for this! The story is just as relevant now, arguably even more so with social media, as it was 20 years ago. It’s a reimagining for today. So if you’re existing in today’s world, love Mean Girls, and want to experience it in a new way, this is for you.

“If you’re existing in today’s world, love Mean Girls, and want to experience it in a new way, this is for you.”

What does the Original Mean Girls movie mean to you?

It was really one of the first movies I saw as a teen where I felt that it didn’t speak down to me. It was talking to me at my level- it understood what I was going through, and I really appreciated that. Plus, it was funny as hell. I’ve also always loved its message that even if you don’t vibe with another person, don’t try to ruin their life. You can co-exist. Namaste. Women really need to support each other.

“I’ve also always loved its message that even if you don’t vibe with another person, don’t try to ruin their life. You can co-exist. Namaste. Women really need to support each other.”

What is your favorite scene in the original movie vs. the new one?

It’s a bit of a dark one, but I really love when Janis chews Cady out, outside of her house party. There’s something so raw about it, so satisfying, so teen girl rage! I’m in love with Auli’i’s Cravalho performance in this scene in the new movie. She sings live, and it’s so raw and real- the way her rage melts into hurt is so beautiful.

What is your favorite line in the OG Mean Girls and Mean Girls 2.0?

“She doesn’t even go here!” Iconic in the original and Jaquel Spivey cracked us up with every version he did. He did it like eight different ways, and they were all brilliant. It was so hard to choose the take!

In what ways has your filmmaking career improved since winning a One Screen award in 2020?

I’ve always loved The One Club (I started as an Art Director!), so it gave me such a sense of validation to keep going and making work that felt personal and hopefully resonated with others- specifically young women. It was a total gift to be able to do that with something as beloved as Mean Girls.

Also, major congrats to you on your first pregnancy! What’s it like being a soon-to-be “cool mom?”

Thank you so much! Ha! I don’t know if I’m a cool mom- that’s TBD, I suppose. But I’m excited to show him how beautiful the world can be. Getting into nature, traveling, and seeing how different people live. Things Art and I love to do– sharing it all with him.

What’s next for you in the movie sphere?

A few things! Art and I wrote a feature script- a very fun, crazy odyssey about friendship that we’re excited to make. We’d also love to bring to screen other music-related stories, so we’ll keep you posted on what’s next!

IG: @SAMANTHAJAYNE


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