Many of us grew up with 13 Going on 30, the Gary Winick-directed movie starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. It was one of the most popular romantic comedies that came out in the 2000s.

Garner played Jenna, a 13-year-old girl who wished to be a "thirty, flirty, thriving" adult. Ruffalo played Matty, Jenna's grade school best friend. After an embarrassing ordeal, Jenna woke up as her 30-year-old self and tried to navigate her seemingly blissful life. Soon, she discovered that being an adult is not all that it's cracked up to be. Here are some behind-the-scenes details and interesting facts you may not have known about the 2004 hit.


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1. Renée Zellweger was considered for the lead role.

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And so were actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank. The producers, however, looked to Garner after realizing how funny she was when she accepted an award at the 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2002 for her role as Sydney Bristow in Alias.

2. The movie was Garner's first starring film role.

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To prepare for the role, she hung out with teenagers to get a feel for her character.

3. Originally, Garner and Ruffalo were supposed to play their young selves.

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The idea was considered until it was decided that it wouldn't look good. Before they cast Christa B. Allen (young Jenna) and Sean Marquette (young Matt), another pair of young actors was tied to the film. They were replaced after they were screened in a test showing and negatively received by the audience.


4. Sean Marquette, who played young Matt, wore a fat suit for the film.

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To really play the character, Winick had to tell him to act more awkward since he came off as cool.

5. Two members of "The Six Chicks" went on to star in a number of films.

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Brie Larson poses with her Best Actress Oscar for Room in 2016.

13 Going on 30 was Ashley Benson's first film role, and it was Brie Larson's second. The two were listed as "Six Chick" on the credits. Benson has since appeared in Pretty Little Liars and Spring Breakers, while Larson has starred in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Kong: Skull Island Room, and Room. She was recently cast as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel as well as an upcoming Avengers film.

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6. The "Thriller" dance scene was Ruffalo's first day on set.

He was nervous about shooting it, but Garner reportedly helped him through it. Garner shared in an interview with Black Film, "Mark was sure that he was gonna die on the spot when we were rehearsing. He took a lot of pep talks but he so got it and so nailed it, so we just had a blast. I mean, we really did. We had so much fun."


7. Garner and Ruffalo improvised a lot of scenes.

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In the same interview, Ruffalo shared, "We did a lot of rehearsals which you don't get to do a lot in this type of movie and we were always talking, finding different ways to modulate it. The drug thing came out of a rehearsal. Some of that was improvised and so that was one way that we found to get into it, to make it kind of plausible." The line Ruffalo is referring to is when Jenna first went to Matt's apartment where he said, "Are you high? You been smoking pot? Doing X? Falling into a K-hole? Are you doing drugs?"

8. Winick initially disliked the idea of a sleepover sequence.

As the director, he felt it didn't fit in with Jenna and Matt's romance. But after watching it on the DVD Director's Commentary, he then considered it one of the best scenes in the movie.


9. The costumes symbolized the progression of Jenna and Lucy's characters.

As the movie progressed, Jenna's and Lucy's outfits changed according to their attitudes. As Jenna began to fix her adult self, her pink and pastel color palette turned into warmer and bolder colors, while Lucy's got harsher as she revealed her ill-mannered ways.

10. The movie added little details to the set and props to help tell the story.

In the beginning, a photo of Madonna was seen in young Jenna's room. The same picture reappeared on Jenna's desk at the Poise office, except this time it's signed. Also, the Poise article Jenna read in the beginning of the movie featured the exact apartment her adult self ended up owning. The color of Jenna's childhood dollhouse also matched her house with Matt in the ending.

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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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