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About The Production
This new adaptation of "Freaky Friday” got started in 2000, when Andrew Gunn entered into a production deal with The Walt Disney Studios and began brainstorming ideas with studio executives about film projects he'd like to pursue. "There were two classic Disney movies that I wanted to remake,” remembers Gunn. "One was ‘Escape to Witch Mountain,' and the other was ‘Freaky Friday.' 

"I think the mother/daughter relationship is universal,” he continues. "The way mothers and daughters relate to each other, is, I think, different than the way fathers and sons relate to each other.” 

Executive producer Mario Iscovich agrees. "I have a girl who's eleven, and sometimes she and my wife don't seem to be quite in sync. That familiar vein is what appealed to me about working on the project. It's an age-old problem. Mothers have always said, ‘The kids don't understand me,' and kids have always said, ‘Mom doesn't understand me.'” 

Gunn, along with Disney executive Kristin Burr, had just finished formally mentoring a young writer from the Disney/ABC Fellowship Program when it was time to hire someone to work on the screenplay. Having become a fan of Heather Hach's writing, Gunn and Burr encouraged Disney Studios head Nina Jacobson to give Hach her first paid job. 

"Heather was in the middle of the second draft when ‘Princess Diaries' came out, was a huge hit, and proved again that girls go to movies. That success encouraged us to get Heather to write quickly,” laughs Gunn. 

Hach preserved the conceit of a mother and daughter switching places to learn about each other's experiences from the 1976 film, which starred Barbara Harris and a teenage Jodie Foster. "The switch is a great arena to create physical comedy, but it needed to be given a new sensibility. 

"There was a real opportunity to modernize it. Women's roles have changed so much. I'm very fond of the original, but one of the big comedy set pieces was how crazy it is to do the laundry,” laughs Hach. "This really provided an opportunity to dig a little bit deeper, to really explore what it is to be a teenager today and what it is to start a new family.” 

"The material was quirky and funny to begin with, so it suited itself to become quirky and funny again in the current day. I think the material is very contemporary,” agrees Iscovich. "This is not your mom's old ‘Freaky Friday.' 

"I think in today's world, the story is even more relevant than it was in the '70s,” adds Iscovich, "because today, everybody's so busy. You have two-parent working families. You have people who are always on the go. It seems harder and harder to communicate with each other, even though we have so many new methods of communicating.” 

"The updating that has been done really does reflect what's happening today,” adds Gunn. "It's a much more complicated world for both people. It's not until you're an adult that you realize everything that your parents have done for you. So we really wanted to get into that more. Also, I think being a teenager now is a lot different than even 10 years ago. We really tried to explore that by making the mother a widow and a single parent. Then we asked the question, ‘What's the worst thing that could happen if you're the 15-year-old daughter?' The answer is that your mom's getting remarried.” 

Once the script was well on its way, the search for a director began. Producers considered approximately twenty directors to find someone who could achieve the balance between big humor and big heart. A young filmmaker named Mark Waters got the job. 

"When I heard they were doing a remake of ‘Freaky Friday,' I had a vague memory that I really loved the original. But I thought there was no way they could do it,” says Waters. "Then I watched the original film again and realized that it was actually just dated enough that I

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