Things You Might Not Know About ’13 Going On 30′Published on October 3, 2017. Updated April 14, 2020
The cute and quirky rom com 13 Going on 30 won the hearts of everyone back in 2004 when sweetheart Jennifer Garner took on the endearing lead role of Jenna Rink. The film follows the life of a 13-year old preteen in the awkward phases of growing up and who wishes to become “thirty, flirty and thriving.” Luckily, with the help of some magic fairy dust, her wish is granted! The story follows Jenna as she becomes everything she ever wanted and comes to face the harsh reality that the future she was chasing may not be the life she truly wants. Although you’ve likely seen this film many times since it’s release, there are still many details and behind-the-scenes secrets that you may not know! Follow along for 10 things you likely didn’t know about 13 Going On 30:
10. The Poise article that 13-year old Jenna reads is significant
At the age of 13, young Jenna is pictured reading an article that uses the cover headline, “Thirty, Flirty & Thriving: Why the 30s are the best years of your life,” in Poise magazine. The article shows a mature woman living in a polished apartment. A fact viewers may have overlooked is that the apartment pictured in the article is actually the exact same apartment that Jenna would go on to live in when the film jumps to her life at age 30!
9. Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer are good friends in real life
Although on screen Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer’s characters are enemies, their relationship is actually quite different in real life! The duo are real-life friends and were friendly costars while they worked on the film together. Greer was even recorded gushing over Garner in a red carpet interview. “She’s so sweet and open and she never complains,” Greer dished on Garner’s work habits. The two have also been spotted on various lunch dates and causal outings together and even went on to work alongside each other for a second time on the film Men, Women & Children.
8. Ashley Benson and Brie Larsen were members of the “six chicks”
It wouldn’t be a classic teen movie without the inclusion of a “mean girl” clique and 13 Going On 30 is no different. Surprisingly, a few of Hollywood’s familiar faces played a role in the elite group called the”six chicks” before the actresses made their way into leading roles! Ashley Benson, who played Hanna on Pretty Little Liars and Brie Larsen who played in Sort Term 12, were members of the exclusive group that Jenna desperately wanted to be apart of in the film.
7. Christa B. Allen played the young Jennifer Garner in a second film
Originally the directors of 13 Going on 30 intended for Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo to play the younger versions of themselves, but after seeing Christa B. Allen, there was no doubt that she would play the role! Allen was only 12-years old during filming and looked identical to a younger version of Garner, so much so that she actually played the younger version of her in a second film — the 2009 rom com Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
6. It wasn’t a huge hit when it was first released
Although it may seem surprising now, the classic rom com film wasn’t an instant success back when it was released in 2004! The film earned $57 million domestically at the box office and had only a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Oddly enough, over the years the film gained more credibility and has now become a favorite film among moviegoers and critics alike. Many have chocked up the gradual success to its repeat showings on mainstream cable networks.
5. The costume designers strategically planned Jenna and Lucy’s contrasting wardrobes
The costume designers working on the set of 13 Going on 30 were very deliberate with the way they dressed and presented Garner and Greer’s frenemy characters Jenna and Tom-Tom. While Garner’s attire as a 30-year old began as quite mature and harsh, she slowly transitioned into softer colors and warmer shades alongside her characters transition. Similarly, as Lucy becomes increasingly ruthless, her wardrobe becomes more dark and sharp.
4. 13-year old Jenna’s picture of Madonna is significant
In Jenna’s room on her 13th birthday the camera flashes by a framed image of Madonna sitting on her vanity table and leaning against the mirror. This photo is of significance because when Jenna’s wish is granted and she becomes 30, she comes across the same photograph, but it is now signed by Madonna. The transition was meant to parallel Jenna’s own life and show how far she came from the 13-year old girl who was a raving Madonna fan to the 30-year old successful women who knew Madonna personally.
3. Other popular actresses were considered for the role of Jenna
Although after watching the film we can’t imagine any other leading lady other than Jennifer Garner, the directors actually had a few other actresses in mind! Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank and Renée Zellweger were all considered for the role of Jenna Rink, according to IMDB. Despite this, the directors were quite happy when Garner accepted the part because she was definitely the studio’s first choice for this particular role. “The producers realized how funny Jennifer Garner was during her acceptance speech for winning an award in The 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards as Sydney Bristow in Alias,” IMDB explained.
2. Ben Affleck’s ex Jennifer Lopez is the cover model of Poise magazine
In a strange act of coincidence, Ben Affleck’s ex Jennifer Lopez actually made a brief cameo in the film! 2004 marked the year that the famous Hollywood duo Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez announced they were calling it quits. Jennifer Garner would later go on to marry Affleck in 2005. Although these ladies didn’t technically have any air time together, it was definitely an odd coincidence that J.Lo graced the front of the magazine that Jennifer Garner’s character was the editor of.
1. The Thriller routine almost stopped Mark Ruffalo from accepting the role
The most swoon-worthy scene in the entire film is the sequence where Jenna starts a dance party in the middle of an uncomfortable party to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Although the impromptu dance party seemed like a blast to perform, not all cast members were thrilled to take part in the scene, including Mark Ruffalo! “The dancing was horrible! I almost didn’t want to do this movie. I literally read it and I’m like, ‘I can’t do this movie. I can’t get up and do those scenes,'” Ruffalo admitted. “When [Jennifer] dragged me out [onto the dance floor], she was literally dragging me out. I had hours of rehearsal with a dance coach who taught me how to do all the moves and stuff and still, when we got into actually shooting it and there were 300 extras around, I did not want to do that scene.”