The author of the book that the hit film Mean Girls was based on says that she hasn’t been adequately compensated for the franchise it inspired, the New York Post reports.
Rosalind Wiseman’s nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, published in 2002 by Crown, formed the basis for the 2004 film Mean Girls. The film was written by Tina Fey; directed by Mark Waters; and starred Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried.
The comedy was a hit and became a cult classic. It was adapted into a Broadway musical; a film adaptation of the musical is currently in the works.
Wiseman says that she sold the rights to her book for $400,000 but hasn’t made any money since, despite the popularity of the movie and the musical. The contract she signed promised her extra money if the movie was a hit, but she says Paramount insists that it hasn’t profited from the film at all.
“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,” Wiseman told the Post. “I’m clearly recognized and acknowledged by Tina as the source material, the inspiration. I’m recognized and yet I deserve nothing? For me, having a female writer and not having that happen has not only been difficult because of the money, but it’s also been painful, very painful.”
Ryan Keech, Wiseman’s lawyer, told Entertainment Weekly that the author is considering litigation against Paramount.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.