Freaky Friday gets a music-driven modern adaptation for Disney Channel
The Disney Channel is bringing a contemporary body-swap story, Freaky Friday, told for a new generation in a music-driven, comedic movie that is set to premiere on Friday, August 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Dolphin Tale) and Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid, the Freaky Friday stage production) star in the Disney Channel Original Movie Freaky Friday, a body-swap musical comedy about a mother and daughter who, strangely, spend a day in each other’s shoes.
Adam Bonnett, executive vice president of Original Programming at Disney Channel, said, “This movie is a creative collaboration with our Theatrical colleagues who developed an original stage musical from a beloved story. Now we’d added a fresh twist by adapting it again into a movie for kids and families — with Broadway talent on and off camera — that has the potential to be a classic ‘DCOM’ for years to come.”
Tom Kitt wrote the music and Brian Yorkey penned the lyrics for Freaky Friday. The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning pair also collaborated on If, Then and Next to Normal, as well as the stage version of Freaky Friday. Eight songs from the stage production and two new songs, including one co-written by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, are performed in a theatrical pop-rock style by the cast.
The script, written by Bridget Carpenter (11.22.63, Friday Night Lights), is based on her Disney Theatrical Production stage adaptation of the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers. The movie is directed by Steve Carr (Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Daddy Daycare) and executive produced by Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions (The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen on Broadway), Carr and Susan Cartsonis (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, What Women Want).
Blickenstaff is Katherine Blake, a busy mother and a perfectionist who runs her own catering company and struggles to understand her teenage daughter, who has a mind of her own. While refereeing endless bickering between Ellie and her younger brother Fletcher, Katherine is carefully planning every single detail of her impending wedding to her fiancé and calming influence, Mike.
Zuehlsdorff plays Katherine’s 16-year-old daughter Ellie who’s attempting to assert her independence from the mother who she perceives wants her to be perfect, nothing like who Ellie wants to be. She’s also struggling to accept her father’s death five years ago and the fact that her mom is now getting remarried. As a result, Ellie’s school attendance and grades are suffering.
A confrontation rises when Katherine won’t allow Ellie to join “The Hunt,” an epic all-night scavenger quest organized by her crush Adam. Upon wishing the other would change their ways, mother and daughter magically swap bodies through the magical power of an hourglass that Ellie received from her father — a treasured gift which is then accidentally shattered. Now, they must hunt down the matching hourglass that Katherine’s late husband gave her in order to swap bodies back to their true selves. First, the two must spend the day literally in each other’s shoes, because Ellie needs to
get to school or she’ll face suspension and Katherine has an important magazine interview, to promote her catering business, and her engagement party, which can’t be missed.
Also starring in Freaky Friday are Ricky He as Ellie’s friend Adam, Alex Désert (Let it Shine) as Mike and Disney Channel star Jason Maybaum (Raven’s Home) as Fletcher. Kahyun Kim (Austin & Ally) plays Torrey, Katherine’s high-strung business associate; Dara Reneé is Ellie’s mean girl classmate, Savannah; Jennifer Laporte and Isaiah Lehtinen are Ellie’s best friends Monica and Karl, respectively; and Sarah Willey (also known as Marlowe Percival) plays Savannah’s friend Kitty.
The movie’s musical highlights include “Just One Day,” a duet by Katherine and Ellie that reveals the distance they feel between each other; “I Got This,” when Katherine and Ellie start their crazy day in each other’s shoes; “Oh Biology,” a song about the changes experienced by adolescents; “Go!,” a fun and fast-moving ensemble number that unfolds during the exciting competition of “The Hunt”; and “At Last It’s Me,” an original pop song performed by Zuehlsdorff.
Tony nominee John Carrafa’s (Into the Woods, Urinetown) spirited and creative choreography incorporates everyday action and movement, turning ordinary moments into realistic “motion of life” musical sequences.
Emmy nominee David Lawrence (Descendants, High School Musical) composed the score. Perry Andelin Blake (Middle School – the Worst Years of My Life, The Wedding Singer) is the production designer, and Academy Award winner Angus Strathie (Moulin Rouge!, Deadpool) serves as the costume designer.
The Freaky Friday soundtrack, from Walt Disney Records, will be available in physical and digital formats on August 10. The soundtrack is now available for pre-order: http://disneymusic.co/FreakyFridayCD.
Freaky Friday will be available to watch earlier on DisneyNOW to verified users and on Disney Channel VOD starting at 12:01 a.m. PT on August 10.