BELLO Watch: Freaky Friday’s Cozi Zuehlsdorff

Cozi Zuehlsdorff stars as Ellie Blake, a teenager struggling with the loss of her father, whose messy room, sloppy wardrobe and seemingly negative attitude lead her to clash with her super-organized mom, in “Freaky Friday.” The film premieres Friday, August 10 on Disney Channel. We had a pleasure to catch up with Cozi:

Q: What are 3 things you want fans to know ahead of the Freaky Friday premiere on Disney Channel?
CZ: First, you should know it’s a departure from the Disney Channel movies you’ve seen in the past. This iteration of Freaky Friday explores the realness of the family dynamics we all navigate and goes deep into my character Ellie’s processing of the loss of her Dad and her conflicted feelings about her new stepdad. A lot of the executives at Disney Channel cried when they screened it! It’s a powerful and touching version of the franchise we all know and love. Second, the songs are super fun and amazing because this musical was originally developed for Broadway by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Pulitzer Prize winning composers of the Broadway musical Next to Normal. And third, we got to improv a LOT in this movie, so the comedy feels really fresh and organic and we made each other laugh constantly on set!
Q: If you could swap bodies with someone who would it be and why?
CZ: I would swap bodies with Lin-Manuel Miranda because he is my career role model, in that he does it all—writes, acts, sings… I mean, who wouldn’t want to swap with him and get inside his brain?! Plus, I’ve heard he smells really good LOL.
Q: Freaky Friday has had several different iterations, if you were to resurrect or reboot a film what would it be?
CZ: Ooh, that’s a tough one. Maybe Sleepless in Seattle, with me as Meg Ryan’s character and Miles Teller as Tom Hanks’ character. Ok now I’m excited. Let’s make this happen.
Q: The mother/daughter dynamic is so important in this movie, what do you hope fans take away from it?
CZ: I hope this movie makes you want to hug your mom. I feel like sometimes we resent our moms for their “nagging” and “rules”, without appreciating that all of their attention comes from their fierce maternal love. When I imagine having a kid someday, I know I would move heaven and earth to keep them safe, even if that meant sacrificing my reputation with them.
Q: Tells us about writing the lead in song for the movie?
CZ: One of my biggest passions is songwriting, so I love incorporating that into the movies I’m a part of. I wrote the end credit song to Dolphin Tale 2 with Eric Berdon, and now have had the privilege of writing the main title song in Freaky Friday with Matthew Tishler. In this case, Disney had very specific guidelines and ideas for the song, so Matt and I worked within those to create the song. It was surprisingly fun to work that way, and I’m really proud of the final product. What It’s Like To Be Me is definitely a “belt it out in your car” bop.
Q: If you could score or write a song for another movie what would it be?
CZ: I love this question!! I’m so down to score and write for the Sleepless in Seattle reboot I’m starring in…cuz that’s a thing now…right? Bring on the chill vintage jazz and contemporary singer-songwriter love songs.
Q: You act, you write and perform music, what else in the creative sphere do you want to tackle? And why is creativity so important to you?
CZ: I’m very interested in writing a musical. I’m actually writing one right now! Here’s the amazing thing about what’s happening right now: women’s voices and talents are now, more than ever, rising to the surface of the social consciousness. As I develop my screenplay and stage musical ideas, I have hope that people in positions of power will listen to what I have to give. And I’m very aware of what a privilege it is to grow up in a generation that has that power. To paraphrase a quote by Warren Buffett, “If you’re sitting in the shade right now, it’s because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” I feel like it’s very important for me and other creatively motivated women to push ourselves to create awesome material, because we now have a shot at making our dreams a reality.
Q: What advice do you have for other young creatives?
CZ: Developing your creativity is crucial to expanding the bounds of what you can accomplish. My dear friend and fellow creative Teddy Garces gave me the greatest advice: if you work on something creative every day: writing, taking acting class, taking voice lessons, just pushing the boundaries of your skill and creativity…you’re never out of work! You’re ALWAYS busy doing something you love.
Q: We love the dramatic angles of the black and white top you are wearing in this feature. Is fashion something that is important to you?
CZ: I LOVE fashion! I recently got to wear a runway look from Coach at the RDMAs and was blissfully happy. It had visible stitching, a silk underlay on the skirt, lots of sequins; kind of the perfect mix of edgy and girly to match my style. Playing with fashion is just another way to express myself.
Q: What inspires you?
CZ: Honestly? God, my dad, and my mother. Full stop.

About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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