Jonathan Bennett Talks Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Music Video & Reprising His Role as Aaron Samuels
Ariana Grande's highly-anticipated "thank u, next" video finally hit the Internet on Friday (Nov. 30), complete with the re-imagined Mean Girls scene millennials dreamed of. Jonathan Bennett even stepped back into his role as the film's heartthrob, Aaron Samuels, who still looks sexy with his hair pushed back.
Bennett recently released his best-selling “Mean Girls” Burn (Cook)book (which he's seen holding in the music video), and is set to star alongside Alexa PenaVega in Hallmark’s original telefilm, “Christmas Made to Order,” out Dec. 23.
Billboard caught up with the star to chat about his experience on the set of Grande's video, as well as his wishes for a Mean Girls reboot.
How were you approached about participating in the video?
Her team slid into my DMs and I thought it was a joke because why would Ariana Grande want me in a music video? I responded, “Shouldn’t you have a 21-year-old with abs?” Isn’t that what you normally have as a guy in a music video? Then they called back and they said it was to be Aaron Samuels and I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.” I thought, how cool would it be to join two major things in pop culture and bring them together to make a lot of people happy? So, I wanted to do it.
Were you a fan of Ariana before?
Everyone’s a fan of Ariana. She’s the queen.
What was it like working with her?
I’ve worked with a lot of these girls in my time, and Ariana is one of the best. She has such an amazing light and energy and a genuine care for other people. She genuinely wants people to do well, and feel love all over them and wants people to shine. Being around her and being in her presence, you definitely feel that. She’s one of the most selfless people I ever met. She let me use my Burn (Cook)Book in the video. I was joking around and was like “Can I carry this in the scene?” And she was like, “Absolutely. Go get it. Promote your book.” That just proves how amazing and selfless this woman is.
I heard she’s so funny.
She’s hysterical. She’s like a 16-year-old girl with really silly jokes. She’s just pure joy.
Were there any fun moments on set?
One of my favorite moments was watching her and her girlfriends be together, dressed as the Plastics and watching them giggle and taking them back to when they were 16 again. She was all of a sudden transferred back to being a 16-year-old with her girlfriends just giggling and having a good time, acting like teenagers. That was really fun to see them be apart of that and watching from afar, because you can see with all the stuff going on in her life, she had such a joy to be there doing that. She was having a great time and shining like a star all day.
Do you have a favorite scene from the video?
Definitely when Jennifer Coolidge says that he had a big front tooth. That’s my favorite part.
Would you be down for a Mean Girls reboot?
That’s the question on everyone’s list. I think it should be a TV show. I don’t think you can change the characters, it has to be the same ones. Kind of like how they did with Will & Grace. You bring it back but older and more grown up 10 years later.