Exclusive: Cozi Zuehlsdorff Opens Up About the Inspiring Message Behind Disney Channel’s ‘Freaky Friday’

Exclusive: Cozi Zuehlsdorff Opens Up About the Inspiring Message Behind Disney Channel’s ‘Freaky Friday’
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Meet Cozi Zuehlsdorff!

You may recognize the 19-year-old actress and singer from previous appearances on throwback favorites like “Liv and Maddie” and “K.C. Undercover,” but you’ve never seen her like this before! Cozi stars as Ellie in Disney Channel’s brand-new “Freaky Friday,” the latest take on a classic storyline of a mom and daughter who magically (and hilariously!) switch bodies for a day.

The laugh-out-loud flick premieres Friday, August 10th at 8pm! To celebrate the upcoming comedy, we caught up with the talented teen for the inside scoop on everything from what it was like playing not one, but two characters to behind-the-scenes set secrets and more. Keep scrolling for the inside scoop on all things “Freaky Friday” and all things Cozi!

Introducing ELLIE 💗💛#disneyfreakyfriday

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What was your reaction when you found out there would be a new “Freaky Friday” remake?
Cozi: When I got the audition and I heard the music, I thought, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m not qualified.” So I called my agent and told her we should pass, because I think I’m gonna make a fool out of myself. And she said, “You should just try it.” And I went in and my knees were shaking in the first audition, and then I got a call back, and then I got another call back, and another call back, and with every one my confidence in myself kind of grew.

What did you learn from that?
Cozi: It taught me that your biggest limitation can sometimes be yourself, and if you don’t let yourself and your own fear stop you then you can do great things. Your fear doesn’t have to stop you. Sometimes it feels like it can, but you have power over your fear. And so sometimes you’re capable of a lot more than you think you are!

Do you have a favorite song from the movie?
Cozi: Probably the ones with the memories that were so fun like, “Go,” that’ll always get me just shouting it in my car, and when I’m around the kids that we shot it with, we all just … That’s our favorite song. But also, I think the song that in a different way means the most to me is the main title song, because I was actually blessed with the opportunity to write it…The song that came out of it was really fun, because it was such a punk rock, fun girls anthem!

Is there anything that fans would be surprised to know about your character, Ellie?
Cozi: I actually wore an extension in the front of my hair, because my hair was so short, but they wanted stylistically to have Ellie have hair that covered her eyes because she’s moody like Violet from “The Incredibles.” Then when she pins back her hair you can really tell that she’s the mom. So I had an extension that we worked out!

You play both Ellie and Katherine in the movie. How did you prepare for that?
Cozi: We had mannerisms meetings, which meant that Heidi [who plays Ellie’s mom, Katherine] and I would sit in a room with our choreographer and figure out how Ellie stands and sits, how she moves her hands, and her body when she’s frustrated and when she’s really happy. And then we do the same for Katherine. We really had to make sure we were making choices that were so specific that people could really suspend their belief and go, “Now she’s the daughter. Now she’s the mom.” There was high-stakes there because I really wanted to make it feel like magic had happened and suddenly I was not myself. This was such an amazing role because I was playing a child and an adult and really got to invest a lot of myself into it, which is also why it’s the most meaningful movie to me that I’ve ever done, because I feel like my fingerprints are all over it!

Is there a message behind the movie? What do you want viewers to take away from it?
Cozi: I think my favorite thing is that it’s okay to be yourself. That’s something that both characters understand by the end, is that both of the things that they almost feel annoyed at with each other, like Ellie’s messiness, her sloppiness, her say it like it is attitude. And Katherine, her need to keep the family together and to be safe and to care so much that she’s over-bearing. Both of those things are beautiful in their own way. Especially for Ellie, there’s a lot of stuff she feels self-conscious about…She wants to be brave and wants to be strong, but sometimes she feels like she doesn’t have the opportunity to do that. But, all of those things are beautiful about her. Her strength, her bravery, her sarcasticness, her messiness. Some of the qualities she feels least confident about are some of her best. Everybody sometimes feels like they need to be something for someone else, and something about them is not enough. But, you are enough, and what makes you unique is what makes you special!

Any other behind-the-scenes secrets you want to share?
Cozi: The movie is set in the summer and in the fall, but in “Go,” if you watch, there’s a part of the movie where there are pictures that we have to take for the hunt and we’re jumping up in the air. And if you look really closely, it’s snowing in that picture, because we shot more in the winter time!

In case you missed it, everyone from Sofia Wylie to Ruby Rose Turner walked the pink carpet at NYC’s “Freaky Friday” premiere earlier this week!