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The Transformation Of Amanda Seyfried From Mean Girls To Now

The 2004 comedy "Mean Girls" was the first introduction many viewers had to a number of its now-famous castmembers, such as Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Lizzy Caplan, Tim Meadows, and Rachel McAdams. The script, penned by Tina Fey, focuses on the previously homeschooled Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), whose arrival at a high school disrupts the precarious social hierarchies when she catches the attention of The Plastics, the school's clique of popular girls. Fey, who also plays a supporting character in the film, gave plenty of characters a chance to shine with her script, thus highlighting their respective performers as well.

One of the breakout actors of the film was Amanda Seyfried, who played Karen Smith, member of The Plastics and subordinate to queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Seyfried's performance of Karen as someone prone to ditzy remarks and mannerisms garnered her a new set of fans beyond those who had previously seen her on the soap operas "As The World Turns" and "All My Children." Seyfried has since parlayed that role into a very successful career. Let's take a look at her transformation from "Mean Girls" to now.

Following Mean Girls, Seyfried made her mark on TV

"Mean Girls" wasn't Seyfried's only major project in 2004. She also showed up later that year in the UPN/CW series "Veronica Mars" as Lilly Kane, whose murder is the first season's mystery and drives the overall story. In life, Lilly Kane was the best friend of the titular character, played by Kristen Bell, and the sister of Veronica's then-boyfriend Duncan Kane. Lilly's murder and the ensuing fallout is the catalyst for Veronica going from popular girl to outcast at her high school, and it's the investigation into who murdered Lilly that sets Veronica on her own path to becoming a private investigator. Lilly is shown to be a free-spirited young woman with her own share of demons but who shared a deep bond with Veronica. A sighting of what appears to be Lilly's ghost also saves Veronica from getting on to a bus that later suffers a fatal crash in the Season 2 premiere.

Seyfried made the jump from UPN/CW to HBO in 2006 with the series "Big Love," about the trials and tribulations of a polygamous Mormon family in Utah. Seyfried played Sarah Henrickson, the oldest child of Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) and his first wife Barb. Sarah chafes against the Mormon lifestyle and decides against polygamy in her own life in the first season. She joins a support group for ex-Mormons in the second season, where she meets Scott Quittman, played by Aaron Paul. The two start a relationship but break up in the third season before Sarah discovers that she's pregnant. The pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, and the season ends with Sarah and Scott engaged to be married with the reluctant approval of Bill. The fourth season sees the two get married before Sarah suddenly announces the duo's move to Portland to start a new life. This signaled Seyfried's departure from the show, and she only returned in the finale to show that Sarah's marriage to Scott was still going strong and that they had a child together.

Seyfried has done multiple musicals

2008 saw Amanda Seyfried make her first, though not last, appearance in a musical: the ABBA-inspired "Mamma Mia!" In the film, Seyfried plays Sophie Sheridan, a bride-to-be trying to figure out who her father is by inviting the three most likely individuals to her wedding. When they arrive, she doesn't tell them that one of them might be her father, rather spinning it as a surprise for her mother Donna, played by Meryl Streep. As Sophie learns more about her mother's youth, misunderstandings lead all three men to conclude that they are Sophie's father. The film features arguments, and hijinks, several ABBA song-and-dance sequences, and an ultimately heartwarming conclusion.

In 2012, Seyfried appeared in a film adaptation of the acclaimed musical "Les Misérables." In the film, Seyfried plays Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) who stays with the scheming Thénardier family so Fantine can work to pay for her well-being. When Fantine dies, Valjean (Hugh Jackman) takes Cosette under his wing, as he promised to Fantine, before fleeing from his enemy Javert (Russell Crowe). Nine years later, Cosette catches the eye of Marius (Eddie Redmayne), an anti-monarchy revolutionary, to the sadness of the Thénardiers' daughter Éponine, who is herself in love with Marius. When Valjean plans to run from Javert again, Cosette leaves a letter for Marius, but Eponine gets to it first and hides it. She is fatally shot in a subsequent skirmish and gives Marius the letter, confessing her own love before dying. Marius' reply to Cosette ends up in Valjean's hands and he joins the fight himself, saving Marius partly thanks to the mercy of Javert. Marius and Cosette get married, and they visit an ailing, hidden Valjean before he dies.

Seyfried has worked on both horror and comedies

In 2009 Seyfried made a foray into the horror genre with the Diablo Cody-penned "Jennifer's Body." In the film, Seyfried plays Needy Lesnicki, a nerdy high school student who is best friends with popular girl Jennifer Check (Megan Fox). When the two attend a concert, Jennifer leaves with the band against Needy's warnings and subsequently undergoes a change as a result of a botched murder ritual by the band. The film follows Needy as she realizes that Jennifer has become a succubus who feeds on human — particularly male — flesh. Needy tries to navigate her friendship with a now-demonic creature while also protecting her boyfriend Chip, and she eventually gets drawn into the murderous melee.

Seyfried also collaborated with comedian Seth MacFarlane, turning her talents back to comedy when she starred in MacFarlane's 2014 directorial effort "A Million Ways To Die In The West" and his 2015 film "Ted 2". In the former, a kooky Western comedy, Seyfried plays Louise, the ex-girlfriend of MacFarlane's Albert Stark. The two break up due to Stark's refusal to engage in gunfights, and Louise's new beau Foy challenges Albert to a gunfight.

In "Ted 2," Seyfried joins as a new character named Samantha Jackson, a lawyer who takes on the case of stuffed bear Ted's personhood pro bono, finding common ground with Ted (MacFarlane) and John (Mark Wahlberg) over marijuana. While she loses the case for Ted, Samantha and John develop romantic feelings for each other and both try to save Ted from the clutches of a Hasbro janitor at New York Comic Con.

Seyfried finally finds a degree of awards success

Seyfried has turned her eye to more dramatic fare in recent years, and in 2018 she became the second "Mean Girls" cast member, after Lindsay Lohan, to work with Paul Schrader. In Schrader's film "First Reformed," Seyfried plays Mary Mensasa, a woman who asks pastor Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) to help her husband Michael. Michael reveals that Mary is pregnant and that he wants her to get an abortion because he does not want to have a child in a world so devastated by climate change. The film deals with issues such as suicide, intimacy, faith, and loyalty.

In 2020, Seyfried teamed up with acclaimed director David Fincher for "Mank," a biography about Hollywood writer Herman J. Mankiewicz that netted Seyfried her first-ever Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, both in the Best Supporting Actress categories. In the film, Seyfried plays real-life actress Marion Davies, who introduces Herman (Gary Oldman) to William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), with whom she's having an affair, in 1930. Later, Herman causes controversy with his idea for a film attacking Hearst, which eventually becomes "Citizen Kane." 

Seyfried's latest film is the horror movie "Things Heard & Seen," adapted from the Elizabeth Brundage novel "All Things Cease To Appear." With other projects on the horizon, this is far from the last we've seen of Seyfried, and it'll be exciting to watch her transformation continue.