Freaky Friday (2003 film)

Freaky Friday is a 2003 American fantasy comedy film directed by Mark Waters and written by Heather Hach and Leslie Dixon. Based on Mary Rodgers's 1972 novel of the same name, it is the third adaptation of the same story and fifth installment overall in the Freaky Friday franchise. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan as a mother and daughter, respectively, whose bodies are switched by a mysterious and magical Chinese fortune cookie.

Freaky Friday
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Waters
Screenplay by
Based onFreaky Friday
by Mary Rodgers
Produced byAndrew Gunn
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byBruce Green
Music byRolfe Kent
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • August 4, 2003 (2003-08-04) (Los Angeles)
  • August 6, 2003 (2003-08-06) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$26 million[2]
Box office$160.8 million[3]

The film was released in theaters on August 6, 2003, by Walt Disney Pictures and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. It grossed over $160 million worldwide on a budget of $26 million and received positive reviews from critics. The film earned Curtis a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Plot edit

Aspiring teenage musician Anna Coleman lives with her widowed psychiatrist mother Tess, younger brother Harry, and grandfather Alan. Tess is engaged to Ryan, whom Anna has not accepted as she has not fully reconciled the death of her father three years earlier.

At school, Anna deals with strict teachers, bullying from her former best friend Stacey Hinkhouse, and her crush on Jake, whom her mother disapproves of. Pink Slip, the band Anna plays lead guitar for, is scheduled to audition for a spot in Wango Tango at the House of Blues, but Anna is prohibited from attending as the audition falls on the same night as Tess's wedding rehearsal. While dining at a Chinese restaurant, the two get into a heated argument, which the owner interrupts by giving them fortune cookies. They go into separate bathrooms and read their fortunes aloud simultaneously before feeling an intense earthquake, to which the rest of the restaurant is oblivious.

The next morning, Anna and Tess wake up in each other's bodies. Tess goes to school as Anna and begins to fully understand her daughter's woes, realizing that Anna's English teacher, Mr. Bates, is deliberately targeting her out of spite at Tess's having rejected his prom invitation decades earlier, and intervenes by threatening to report him unless he ends his mistreatment towards Anna. Meanwhile, Anna has difficulty handling her mother's clients and stress of her upcoming wedding. The two return to the restaurant and learn that only showing selfless love towards each other will reverse the switch.

Anna attends Harry's parent-teacher conference, where she reads his composition about how much he actually admires Anna and decides to be nicer to him. Tess attempts to make amends with Stacey, but gets sent to detention when Stacey frames her for cheating on a test, finally demonstrating to Tess how cruel and mean-spirited Anna's former friend has become. When Jake notices her sneaking out of detention, he offers to help her finish the test. Tess realizes that she misjudged him, but ends up putting him off Anna after she vandalizes Stacey's test as revenge for bullying Anna by erasing most of the answers and writing "I'M STUPID!" on it.

Meanwhile, Ryan surprises Tess with a talk show interview to discuss her latest book. As Anna herself has not read the book, she instead goes into an amusing tirade about getting older. Tess and Jake watch the interview and while she is embarrassed, he is impressed. Anna later bumps into Jake at his job, and they bond over music.

At the rehearsal dinner, Anna's bandmates Maddie and Peg try to convince her to sneak off to the audition, but they are caught by security. Ryan gives Anna permission to go in hopes of winning her acceptance, and encourages Tess to support the band, claiming he can hold down the fort for a while. Since Tess cannot play, Anna plays the guitar backstage while Tess mimes along. Finally realizing the full scope of Anna's musical talents, Tess promises to regard her daughter's ambitions and passions with more respect. Jake again becomes enamored with Anna upon seeing her perform.

Back at the rehearsal dinner, Tess tells Anna to ask Ryan to postpone the wedding until the switch is reversed. Anna instead proposes a toast, finally accepting Ryan after understanding how happy he makes her mother. This triggers an earthquake within the venue, during which Anna and Tess return to their original bodies. Tess and Ryan later marry, and Tess finally allows Anna to start dating Jake. Pink Slip performs during the reception. When Harry and Alan start arguing, Pei-Pei's mother gives them fortune cookies, but Pei-Pei tackles the pair before they can open them.

Cast edit

Production edit

Development edit

The origins for a remake of Freaky Friday (1976) came when producer Andrew Gunn was called by Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson, who wanted him to make films for her. Once they met, Gunn told Jacobson that he wanted to either do a new Freaky Friday adaptation or another Witch Mountain film as her options for him. Jacobson was unsure due to the recent Disney Channel remake two or three years ago for instance, but ultimately agreed. Gunn thus sat with The Walt Disney Company executive Kristin Burr and screenwriter Heather Hach at Starbucks to spitball ideas or do notes for the screenplay of either film until The Princess Diaries (2001) released, which demonstrated to the studio that they could make a successful film starring girls with their moms, prompting them to try with Freaky Friday. Director Mark Waters met with Gunn and Burr back when he was in a state that he felt that he wouldn't get any directing jobs anymore, feeling that he should "tank" the meeting because of his feelings that the script at that time wasn't any good, but enjoyed the idea and had fond memories of the original film.[4]

The original script for the Freaky Friday remake was about a psychiatrist mother with a daughter writing for her school newspaper who wished to interview Gwen Stefani at the House of Blues, but Waters felt that having both "a nerd daughter and a nerd mom" basically made them just switch places and age in "nerdom", instead preferring for a rebel daughter and a straight-laced mother due to feeling it to be more interesting. After proposing that idea, Waters felt that Gunn and Burr wouldn't call him back, but they instead called him to meet Jacobson, who approved his idea and greenlighted the film.[4] Lindsay Lohan's character was originally written as goth, but she did not think anyone would relate to that, and decided to dress in a preppy style for her audition. The character ended up being rewritten as a grunge, alt-rock teen.[5]

Amir Derakh was the film's guitar consultant and coached Curtis to play the guitar solo for the concert scene, also working in rehearsals with the other fictional band members and contributing to the soundtrack.[6][7] Lohan trained for one year to learn to play the guitar before production. In the final version of the film, both Curtis and Lohan's guitar parts were overdubbed by professional studio musicians.[8]

Casting edit

Initially, Gunn had hoped that Jodie Foster, who played Annabel in the original 1976 film, would be interested in the role of the mother. Foster declined, citing concerns that her stunt casting would draw attention away from other elements of the film.[9] Annette Bening and Michelle Trachtenberg were cast, but Trachtenberg was forced to drop out because of her television commitments to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which couldn't be worked out, with Bening following shortly afterwards, much to the dismay of Gunn and Waters, with the latter having pictured Bening in the role since the beginning and feeling that she backed out due to being anxious about the quality of the script. Jacobson suggested Gunn to cast Curtis as Tess after seeing her True Lies (1994) performance as Helen Tasker on television.[4] Curtis was offered the role of Tess at the last minute, after Bening dropped out for undisclosed reasons four days before filming began.[10] Madonna was reportedly very interested in playing the role.[6] Lohan's audition for Anna wasn't stellar but the studio was confident of her acting abilities after her role as Annie James and Hallie Parker in The Parent Trap (1998), with Waters feeling that her chemistry with Curtis, along with both of their "aggressive energy", saved the movie.[4] Casting director Marci Liroff said they saw Mischa Barton, Kristen Stewart, Mae Whitman, Evan Rachel Wood, Brie Larson, Emmy Rossum, Kristen Bell, Shiri Appleby and Danielle Panabaker for the role of Anna.[6]

Chad Michael Murray scored the role of Jake thanks to Lohan's reaction to his audition, as he wished to make Lohan feel the uncomfortable nature that his character was supposed to cause within hers due to Anna having a crush on Jake. Murray was excited too at the prospect of working with Curtis, as he had grown up seeing her in True Lies and his father had a big crush on her.[4] Jared Padalecki also auditioned for the role.[11] For Pei-Pei's casting, Rosalind Chao had some reservations about the role, but after trying and flipping the script, realized that much like her character, who reminded her to her father, she grew up in a Chinese restaurant, wishing to embrace that charm her father had with all his clients, even the most racist ones due to their restaurant being located in Orange County, California.[4] Chao later addressed some reactions about it: "I got some heat for that because I did a Chinese accent. But my parents had Chinese accents! Unless you are doing it with buck teeth... The character in Freaky Friday was how my dad would greet customers [...] I was channeling him, so I was a little hurt when people pushed back on that."[12]

Kelly Osbourne was originally set to play Maddie, but withdrew when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.[13] She was replaced by Christina Vidal.[14] Raven-Symoné, Naya Rivera, Ashley Tisdale, Sophia Bush and Kat Dennings auditioned for members of the fictional band Pink Slip.[6] Vidal got the role after a month following her auditions, even singing at some of them despite her knowing that Waters knew about her singing abilities from Taina. Vidal, Lohan and Haley Hudson would have rehearsals at a North Hollywood, Los Angeles studio in preparations for their musician roles.[4][15] Tom Selleck was originally cast as Ryan but dropped out when Bening dropped out from the film.[16] Mark Harmon was also approached for the role of Ryan when Bening was still attached, but opted to leave as he had wished to work with Bening. Ryan Malgarini attended the audition for Harry with his grandparents and received the screenplay unlike the rest of the child actors auditioning for the role, beating out others like Spencer Breslin, Angus T. Jones and Daryl Sabara. Malgarini particularly enjoyed playing a spoiled little brat like Harry due to being a shy and sweet kid, allowing him to "mouth off" a bit.[4]

Marc McClure, who played Annabel's love interest in the 1976 film, makes a brief cameo as Boris the delivery man.[9] The snapshots in the opening credits are photos of Curtis and her daughter.[citation needed] In the final scene, Dina Lohan, Lindsay Lohan's mother and manager, makes a cameo appearance as one of the wedding guests and Waters is also seen holding a baby.[citation needed]

Soundtrack edit

The orchestral score was written by Rolfe Kent and orchestrated by Tony Blondal. Lohan also recorded a song for the soundtrack, titled "Ultimate".

Reception edit

Box office edit

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $22.2 million in 2,954 theaters, finishing second at the box office, behind S.W.A.T. ($37.1 million). The film went on to gross $110.2 million in North America and $50.6 million in other territories for a total of $160.8 million.[3] The film was released in the United Kingdom on December 19, 2003, and opened at number four.[17]

Critical response edit

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 88% of 157 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7/10. The website's consensus reads: "Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan charm in Mark Waters' nicely pitched—and Disney's second—remake of the 1976 hit."[18] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 70 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[19] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of A− on a scale of A to F.[20]

Curtis's performance was singled out for praise by many critics. David Ansen of Newsweek noted that "the most startling metamorphosis is Curtis' transformation from fading horror flick queen to dazzling comedienne". Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly called her performance "glorious",[21] and A. O. Scott from The New York Times contended that she "does some of her best work ever [in Freaky Friday]".[22] Independent reviewer Nick Davis described her as "so frisky and pouty and incandescent in Freaky Friday, she made the whole movie feel like something special".[23] Her performance was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

Lohan's performance was also praised. Roger Ebert, who gave the film three out of four stars, described Lohan as possessing "that Jodie Foster sort of seriousness and intent focus beneath her teenage persona".[24] The film earned her the award for Breakthrough Performance at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards.[25]

The transformation scene, however, was criticized. While Ebert noted that Asian American actors were cast in the film simply to "supply magic potions, exotic elixirs, ancient charms and handy supernatural plot points",[24] Nick Schager of Slant Magazine called it "a strange bit of 'Oriental mysticism' stereotyping that seems at odds with the film's thematic focus on tolerance and understanding".[26] From The Village Voice, Ed Park summarized the premise as "some strange racist bullshit".[27]

In 2023, IndieWire named it the best body swap comedy ever made.[28]

Accolades edit


Home media edit

The film was released on DVD and VHS on December 16, 2003, by Walt Disney Home Entertainment. It was later released on Blu-ray on March 27, 2018, as an exclusive through the Disney Movie Club program. The film is also available on the streaming service Disney+ after its launch on November 12, 2019.

Sequel edit

In October 2022, Curtis expressed enthusiasm about making a Freaky Friday sequel alongside Lohan after disclosing the two were still in touch when a fan asked her if she was open to exploring the film's story further during an event in Mexico.[30] After news of her statement created buzz online, Curtis revealed on The View a few days later that she had already contacted Disney about it and shared a potential pitch.[31][32] In the following month, Lohan also expressed interest in returning for a sequel if Disney proposed a new film,[33][34] stating that she loved Curtis and would love to work with the people from the original movie again.[35][36]

In November 2022, Curtis said they were in talks with the studio and were "both committed to it" but "it's Disney's to make and I think they're interested and we're talking,"[37][38] also commenting that the 2003 film is considered a classic because of its nostalgia among the audience who grew up watching it[39] and she hoped to do it again.[40][41][42] In December 2022, Curtis stated that she and Lohan would be getting back together and suggested they were essentially waiting on the studio's green-light.[43][44][45] In February 2023, Curtis reiterated the project "is going to happen."[46][47] In May 2023, Curtis and Lohan were both interviewed by The New York Times about the original movie turning 20 years and said they "would only make something that people would absolutely adore" when asked about a sequel.[48] Disney then confirmed that the sequel was in development, with Elyse Hollander writing the screenplay, and Curtis and Lohan expected to return.[49][50] In June 2023, Curtis revealed to fans at Disneyland that filming was set to happen in the following year.[51][52]

In August 2023, the cast and crew were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter as the film celebrated its 20th anniversary, with producer Andrew Gunn teasing the sequel: "Trying to find an idea that also serviced Jamie and Lindsay but also worked in all these other characters, was one of the hardest things to do, but I'm telling you [the writer] just came up with this super funny, heartwarming idea," continuing, "I didn't know what a sequel would be 20 years ago, like it would be Harry switching with grandpa or something, but all of a sudden, 20 years later, it's like, 'Oh, actually, [a sequel] could work.' So, I think, time gives it more room to actually become something."[53] Gunn later revealed they got a draft of a script for the sequel right before the writers' strike, which again incorporates music and the fictional band Pink Slip "in a great way."[6] On November 10, Curtis shared a reunion photo on Instagram with Lohan to celebrate the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike and tease the project's development.[54][55][56]

In March 2024, Lohan confirmed the sequel was in the works and that both she and Curtis were "getting into all the details and thoughts on script".[57][58] Later that month, The Hollywood Reporter announced Nisha Ganatra would be directing from a screenplay written by Jordan Weiss, with filming set for mid-2024 in Los Angeles. Gunn was confirmed to produce again, along with Kristin Burr.[59] A few days later, a casting call revealed potential story details including that Tess and Anna would be body swapping with two teenage girls, the latter's daughter and her soon-to-be stepdaughter.[60]

References edit

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  50. ^ "'Freaky Friday' Sequel Moving Ahead, Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis Expected to Return". Variety. May 10, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  51. ^ "'Haunted Mansion' stars surprise Disney visitors, and Jamie Lee Curtis drops a 'Freaky' hint". Los Angeles Times. June 26, 2023. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
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  55. ^ "Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan Reunite, Tease 'Freaky Friday 2'". Rolling Stone. November 11, 2023. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
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  59. ^ "'Freaky Friday 2' Is A Go With 'Welcome to Chippendales' Director (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. March 29, 2024. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  60. ^ "Potential Freaky Friday 2 plot details reveal Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis body-swap with 2 teenage girls". Entertainment Weekly. April 1, 2024. Retrieved April 3, 2024.

External links edit