Actor David Reale sneaked onto set for a free lunch and became part of teen movie history
You might not know David Reale's face, but you know Glen Coco from Mean Girls. As the anonymous high schooler who gets four (FOUR!!) candy cane grams from the kid dressed as Santa Claus, Glen Coco represents one of the most iconic lines of the film. It's become a stand-in for positive affirmation; the "you go girl!" one-liner of noughties teen cinema and went on to spawn a million memes. Reale, who's still acting and has appeared in Suits, Queer as Folk and Skins, remembers his time on set as the world celebrates ten years of Mean Girls this week.
I actually auditioned for a different part in the movie. I didn't get it. I wasn't "officially" cast in the film at all - my first day was my only day. I just spent it trying not to look guilty while I ate all the free food.
What happened was, they ended up filming a lot of the school stuff right across the park from my apartment in Toronto. One day I sort of wandered onto set to see if I could watch some scenes being shot and maybe get some free food (I was 19-year-old actor with no money so eating was daily mission).
I sort of hung around with the background performers and ended up getting lunch because everybody just assumed I was actually hired to be there. At one point the director recognised me from my audition and, as a consolation prize, said something like "Hey, I'm going to put you right in the front on this next scene and you'll have a name and everything".
Tina Fey wrote the line, Daniel Franzese spoke the line... I just sat in a chair and tried not to stare at Lindsay Lohan. But I guess it was the first time somebody pointed to me on the street and shouted "YOU GO GLEN COCO!" that I knew I was involved in something with a beauty and power that surpassed the mere proliferation of four candy canes to an accidental movie extra.
So that's how it happened. But I was never "officially" hired. I never signed anything and so I was never paid. But the free lunch was great.
I don't even know how the internet made the connection that it was me. You don't even see my face in the scene! People are really great about it. Glen Coco brings out the best in people. I get all these motivational pep talks all the time. Almost every day in real life or on twitter I get people telling me "You go!" or "Four for you!" or "Live every day like you're Glen Coco!" It's always positive.
If a hungry teenager can wander in off the street, get a free meal, sit in a chair, say nothing, and become part of an internet sensation that has people from all over the world saying nice things to him on a daily basis then anything is possible. Four for you...four for all of you. YOU GO!