'Freaky Friday' stars on the reboot's message about social media, body image

August 10, 2018 - 4:39 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The Disney Channel’s latest “Freaky Friday” reboot, airing Friday at 8 p.m., is more music-driven than its predecessors, but don’t expect the soundtrack to be merely catchy, childlike tracks.

"Not only is it incredibly tuneful -- and I think kids are really going to bop to it -- but it goes very deep," Heidi Blickenstaff, who plays mom Katherine, told 1010 WINS' Kyle McMorrow. "When I first heard it, it made me burst into tears. The emotional journey that these characters go on is kind of a deep one and the music beautifully reflects that."

Cozi Zuehlsdorff, who plays Katherine’s daughter Ellie, wrote one of the film’s tracks – but she nearly didn't.

"When I booked Freaky Friday, I immediately … pitched [Disney> a lot of songs, and went 'hi, here I am being brave,' and they were like, 'thanks and no thanks -- there was nothing they needed and I totally knew that," recalls Zuehlsdorff, who is also a songwriter.

But that rejection didn't last long. “Then [Disney> remembered me a few months later after we had shot the movie, because they were looking for a song that would open the movie that was a Go-Go's-Bangles-meets-Paramore kind of vibe," Zuehlsdorff recalled. "It was from the perspective of Ellie. It's so amazing to have that be part of the movie."

What's different in this reboot of "Freak Friday" – the 2003 version starred Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, and the 1976 original starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris – is the presence of social media in the film.

"It’s one of the things I love about this property, because I feel for every generation we have a ‘Freaky Friday’ and I think kids today are going to look at our movie and say, 'this is what my life looks like,'" Blickenstaff said. "There is so much social media involved … Ellie and her friends communicate via text like everyone does now."

Zuehlsdorff chimed in of the presence of social media, "It contributes to the cool body positivity message we have in the movie … With social media, and growing up as millennial, has come so much judgment and self-awareness as far as self-consciousness, and as far as our bodies, and unrealistic goals.  It opened us up to a really cool conversation."

The 20-year-old added, "It's harder than ever to be a teenager and to accept yourself who you are and really internalize that every shape is beautiful."

And in the movie, Ellie goes through a sort of transformation. "Because [Ellie’s> clothes are completely shapeless and huge -- it was on purpose -- at the end when you see Ellie in her wedding celebration dress, you can see she’s accepted herself."