If you got a chance to see the newest Mean Girls movie at the theater recently, you’ll know that, much like the Broadway stage production, there were many changes made to the original 2004 big-screen comedy. One of the most interesting changes is given to the character Gretchen Wieners, who was played by Lacey Chabert in first movie.
In the new Mean Girls, the role of Gretchen went to actress Bebe Wood (Love, Victor), who is Cuban-American.
Not only that, but co-directors and husband and wife team Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez, Jr., who has Mexican roots, decided to highlight Gretchen’s Latina background in at least one scene.
In the scene, Gretchen shares a story with new girl Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) about a music box that was a gift from her “abuelito” (grandfather).
There’s also a scene where they show Gretchen’s playlist on her phone for a split second. Most people are noticing that she’s a fan of Lea Michele and Ariana Grande, but take a look at what else is on that playlist – “Cuban Jazz para Abuela.”
In a 2021 interview, Wood said she was the “granddaughter of Cuban immigrants.” She recently explained to Pop Culture Planet why she was excited about playing Gretchen with someone with a Cuban background.
“I’ve never been able to play Cuban American before,” she said. “I’m obviously very white, and I don’t think Hollywood necessarily knows that like Caribbean people and Latino people in general come in all different shades and hair colors. I wanted to incorporate something and our directors were totally open to that. It felt natural to just say ‘abuelito’ instead of grandfather, so it was really cool.”
Mean Girls is currently playing at theaters nationwide.