Mean Girls changed culture forever, and the original creator says she deserves at least a bit of the reward.
In an interview with theNew York Post, Queen Bees and Wannabes author Rosalind Wiseman revealed she hasn't seen a lick of the profits since she sold the rights to her book in 2004. Of Mean Girls creator Tina Fey, who negotiated the deal with SNL big boss Lorne Michaels, Wiseman said, “I think it’s fair for me to be able to get compensated in some way for the work that has changed our culture and changed the zeitgeist."
She added: “Over the years Tina’s spoken so eloquently about women supporting other women, but it’s gotten increasingly clear to me that, in my own personal experience, that’s not going to be the experience. You don’t just talk about supporting women, you actually do it.”
When she reached out to Paramount recently through her lawyers, the studio was reticent to hear her case. "We have reached out to Paramount to have things be more equitable, but Paramount is not interested in that." They likewise told her they'd made no money off the film.
Wiseman says that she was paid about $400,000 for the original rights to her book, over which there were multiple offers. But Paramount hasn't paid her since, even though her deal included net profit points. In fact, Paramount told her they've been in the hole over the film and its derivative works — including the Broadway hit musical — and there was never any money to share with her.
Rosalind told the Post of this: “Yes, I had a terrible contract, terrible, but the movie has made so much money, and they keep recycling my work over and over again."
Her lawyer, meanwhile, said in a statement:
“I suspect most people would be shocked at how shabbily Rosalind Wiseman has been treated. And properly so. It is nothing short of shameful for a company with the resources of Paramount to go to the lengths to which it has gone to deny Ms. Wiseman what she is fairly entitled to for having created what has become one of the most iconic entertainment franchises of the last 25 years.”
Wiseman told the Post that she met Fey in 2002, with Michaels in tow. “When I went to meet Tina and Lorne Michaels many years ago, it was very much a ‘we’re doing this together’ kind of experience." She later says that "We created this thing, Tina took my words, she did an extraordinary job with it. She brought it to life and the material has been used and recycled for the last 20 years."
However, Wiseman adds, “I’m clearly recognized and acknowledged by Tina as the source material, the inspiration. I’m recognized and yet I deserve nothing?”
Coincidentally, talks are underway for a sequel to the film with the original cast... which likewise stalled over money.
Photo via Noam Galai/Getty.
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