Actresses Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid” and “Something Rotten!” on Broadway and the stage production of “Freaky Friday”) and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (“Dolphin Tale,” “Liv and Maddie”) will star in an update of the American classic “Freaky Friday,” a Disney Channel musical comedy set to begin production this fall for a 2018 debut as part of the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise. The movie is based on Disney Theatrical Productions’ stage adaptation of the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and Disney’s popular feature films of the same name.
Steve Carr (“Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Daddy Daycare”) will direct and executive produce the upcoming movie. The teleplay was written by Bridget Carpenter, who also wrote the book for the stage musical “Freaky Friday,” created the series “11.22.63,” and wrote for TV’s “Friday Night Lights.” Also signing on to the “Freaky Friday” movie are Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award®-winning composers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal,” “If/Then”), who penned the music and lyrics for the stage version. Emmy® nominee David Lawrence (“Descendants,” “High School Musical”) will compose the score. Susan Cartsonis (“Deidra & Laney Rob a Train,” “What Women Want”) and Thomas Schumacher, president and producer, Disney Theatrical Productions (“The Lion King”, “Aladdin” and “Frozen” opening on Broadway in spring 2018), are also executive producers. Two-time Tony nominee John Carrafa (“Into the Woods,” “Urinetown”) is the choreographer and Perry Andelin Blake (“Middle School – the Worst Years of My Life,” “The Wedding Singer”) is the production designer. Academy Award® winner Angus Strathie (“Moulin Rouge!,” “Deadpool”) is the costume designer.
“A classic story like ‘Freaky Friday’ has a magical capacity to engage multiple generations – whether it’s in the form of a book, a theatrical film, a stage show – or all of the above!” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. “Working with our partners at Disney Live Theatrical, we’re thrilled to bring this classic story to life in a whole new form – a music-driven movie for television – that will be enjoyed by tens of millions of kids and families around the world.”
Blickenstaff reprises her role of Katherine from the stage show and Zuehlsdorff will play Ellie in the comedic story that follows an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies and begin a musical journey of self-discovery and empathy neither one could have ever imagined.
Also joining the cast is newcomer Ricky He as Ellie’s friend, Adam; and Alex Désert (“Let it Shine”) as Katherine’s fiancé, Mike. Disney Channel star Jason Maybaum (“Raven’s Home”) will play Ellie’s little brother, Fletcher. Kahyun Kim (“Austin & Ally”) has been cast as Torrey, Katherine’s high-strung business associate. Additional cast members include Dara R. Moss as Savannah, Jennifer LaPorte as Monica, Isaiah Lehtinen as Karl and Sarah Willey as Kitty.
“Freaky Friday” was first brought to the screen in 1976 with the popular Disney film starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster. In 1995, Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffman took over the lead roles in a Disney Family Movie for ABC; and in 2003, “Freaky Friday” returned to the big screen for a Walt Disney Pictures feature film headlined by Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.
The stage musical was developed by Disney Theatrical Productions for licensing to professional and amateur theatres.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm