Cozi Zuehlsdorff can pretty much do it all! The twenty-year-old actress, singer/ songwriter and dancer is also the star of the newest movie musical, Freaky Friday, which debuts August 10th on Disney Channel. Cozi plays teenage daughter Ellie, who switches bodies with her mother played by Heidi Blickenstaff. We got to chat with Cozi and hear about her writing her own song for the movie, behind the scenes and how she overcame her fears to play her most difficult role yet!   ///by Katherine Leslie

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS NEWEST FREAKY FRIDAY…..
“Our version of Freaky Friday is definitely different from the other versions, and not just the fact that it’s a musical. In previous versions, they switch through different objects. In the Lindsay Lohan version it’s a fortune cookie, and for ours we kind of switch it up. The main thing that’s the same is that we are mother and daughter who don’t get along and we switch bodies. But there are a lot of fun surprises you can expect when you see the movie. The fact that it’s a musical is so fun and I feel like the story of Freaky Friday lends itself really well to be a musical. It’s so vibrant and fun. Adding music and choreography just really highlights the comedy and the fun of this story.”

HOW SHE LEARNED TO “SWITCH BODIES”…
“What you don’t really think about when you watch the movie, is that for the majority of the movie I play my mom Katherine and Heidi Blickenstaff plays Ellie. So we only have a strong sense of each other’s characters, you know? The choreographer had us do mannerism meetings with each other, where we literally film ourselves sitting down, walking around and using our hands for Ellie and Katherine. If you look in the movie, there are certain things I do naturally, like rub my eyes when I’m stressed or sit and slouch when I play Ellie. You can see Heidi master my mannerisms and likewise I almost massage my temples as she does. When I found out we were testing together towards the end of the audition process, I actually stalked her on YouTube because she’s a very famous Broadway actress and there’s a lot of tape of her acting, so I really just analyzed them. When I came in to our audition I had a sense of her mannerisms and how she moved around. So it was really really fun!”

HER FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THE MOVIE…
“I actually lived alone when I went to film in Vancouver. So going into it, I got way closer with everybody because I had to really lean on them.They became my second family and so that was extra special. So if I had to pick one, it was really fun shooting Biology, which is a really big dance number that includes a lot of the young cast. We loved rehearsing that and performing together finally, that was such a cool moment and we got really close. Whenever i think about filming, that memory definitely makes me smile the most.”

WHY WRITING HER OWN SONG FOR THE MOVIE MEANS SO MUCH…
“Disney had a lot of specific standards on what they wanted the style to be and what they wanted the song’s message to be. They felt like Ellie only had about ten to fifteen minutes in my body to establish her attitude and what she’s going through. So, they wanted a song from her perspective that shows how of angsty, sassy, fun and crazy she is. They wanted us to really go for that and so we did. I’m so grateful that everyone at Disney loved and approved it! It’s kind of amazing to me since I lived there alone, working long hours everyday so I feel like my DNA is in this movie now. It was a real blessing for me to be able to do everything that I have ever wanted to do in the movie (singing, dancing, acting and writing). It makes me feel so grateful and it’s my favorite project I have ever done!”

WHY SHE ALMOST DIDN’T AUDITION AND HOW SHE FACED HER FEARS…
“When I got the audition for Freaky Friday, the music was already out because it was originally developed for Broadway. So this whole musical was switched off the stage onto the screen and  had a different tone because of that. I listened to the soundtrack on Spotify and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I am not qualified to do this. I am going to make a fool out of myself.’ I honestly felt that way! So I called my agent and told her ‘I really don’t think I should go after this because I am going to embarrass myself; this is going to be straight up embarrassing,’ And she said, ‘You know what Cozi just go into the audition, just for me, you never know what they’re looking for so just try.’ I went to audition and my knees were shaking, I was so nervous. I tried out and then I got callback after callback. Pretty soon my confidence started building and I thought, ‘Wait, maybe I can do this’. By the end I realized, ‘Wow, I can belt this music out like I never thought I could.’ Also, I feel like the biggest limitation is sometimes yourself. Don’t let your nerves decide what you are capable of, don’t even let yourself decide! You really never know and I am living proof that you never know what you’re capable of until you just try it. One of my favorite quotes ever is ‘If you’re afraid to dive, just dive afraid.’ Don’t let your fears decide what you are going to do!”

 

Photos: © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Top photo: Disney Channel/Ed Herrera