Exclusive: Dara Renee Talks Disney’s Freaky Friday, Airing August 10thPosted by Wilson Morales
August 10, 2018
Premiering Friday, August 10 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on the Disney Channel and DisneyNOW is the musical TV movie Freaky Friday, the latest take on Mary Rodgers’ classic book. Adapted from Disney Theatrical Production’s stage show, the film is a universal story about forming an understanding by “walking in someone else’s shoes.”
Directed by Steve Carr, the film stars Heidi Blickenstaff, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Jason Maybaum (Disney Channel’s “Raven’s Home”), Alex Desert, Ricky He, Kahyun Kim, Dara Renee’, Isaiah Lehtinen, Jennifer Laporte, Marlowe Percival, Joshua Pak and Rukiya Bernard.
Blickenstaff, who played the mom role in the stage version, and Cozi Zuehlsdorff of the Dolphin Tale films star as the bickering mother and daughter who both wish they could switch places with the other for a day. But be careful what you wish for: they magically wake up one freaky Friday in each other’s body and begin a journey of self-discovery and empathy neither one could have imagined.
One of the breakout stars of the film is Dara Renee, who was discovered via an open casting call. She portrays the arch-nemesis of the lead character, Savannah.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke exclusively with the Baltimore native about being this wonderful musical.
How much fun was it playing this role?
Dara Renee: I was never one of the cool kids in school so this is new to me. It was really amazing to step into a character that’s different from myself. I kept telling myself I need to be good in every take. It was a fun part to play and I’m glad I got to be part of the film.
Can you talk about working with this ensemble?
Dara Renee: Everyone was so sweet and my character was so mean, but we would all hang out together and the chemistry that we have, you can see it on the screen. Everyone is genuinely kind and talented. From the dancers to the background performers to the crew and everyone. We all just bonded and connected during the time we were shooting. Ricky, Jen, Heidi, Alex and Cozi are so nice. This is the first time for everyone to do something big for Disney. We’re all so excited and you can really tell. This is such a great opportunity for all of us.
What does being in a feature to be shown on Disney do for you as an actress?
Dara Renee: It really makes me appreciate opportunities that I was given. I grew up in Baltimore and this time last year i was sweeping floors. Never thought I would be here and Freaky Friday airs this week. Being in this film tells me as an actress that I can do this. No matter what other people say, I know that I’m good enough because I made it this far.
Can you talk about being Savannah, the nemesis in the film who seems to be the bully to others. What was that experience like for you?
Dara Renee: I work against it by when you meet me I’m the opposite to the character I played on Freaky Friday. I want to tell people, who may be a bully, that being mean to someone else isn’t right as a person. For me, being a victim of someone who was bullied as a child, i understand that you need to be kind to everyone, no matter what position they be in. You may not know what battles they may be going through at home. Even if they are not back or dont return the kindness, you need to give out positivity because what goes around comes around. If you give out positivity and greatness and you speak it into the minds and you understand the position that you are in and you understand how lucky you are to be alive and you’re not going to let someone else steal your shine, then you’re rocking and rolling and no one can stop you.
Savannah is a character and pretty darn mean, but I could to understand that Savannah was very hurt. Only hurt people hurt people. Even though Savannah is smart, intelligence, has money, fame and popularity, it’s the hurt people that hurt other people. What she wants most is confirmation on how she great she is and she doesn’t understand really the patterns that she’s doing. She’s just being reckless right now and being mean to everyone because she’s not comfortable with herself. That comes from the inside and she has to work on her positivity.