On casting Jamie Lee Curtis as the mother who swaps places with her teenaged daughter, screenwriter Heather Hach states, "Shes perfect for the role. Shes so adorable and talented. Jamie Lee Curtis is such a great comedienne, and thats just what the role needed. Shes also incredibly smart she just is Tess."
Is it true you came on three days before the shoot?
I did. I found out on a Wednesday night at midnight that they had been asking for me to join the [movie]. I was in New York City on a book tour and I laughed at my agent when he called and said that someone had pulled out. I said to him, "Oh, and they're offering it to me, arent they Rick?" And he said, "As a matter of fact, they are." And I said, "Oh, please." I was really very dismissive and I think I swore, saying, Don't mess with me. I'm tired. I'm going on a book tour tomorrow morning to Washington D.C. And it turned out to be true and I arrived [and] read the script on a Thursday. I flew home on a Friday. I met Mark [Waters] on Saturday and I had my hair dyed red Sunday. I was working Monday.
Did you know it was right for you?
Oh, in a heartbeat. The best thing that happened with Freaky Friday was that Mark Waters came to my house and we had an hour's visit with each other. I read the script. I had some notes, a lot of notes. I wanted to see if he was receptive to my take on this, and we had a nice visit. When he left, he actually said to me, "You know, when I came here, I was obviously always interested and curious as to whether or not you could play a teacher. The only problem I'm having is wondering whether or not you can play the adult." That actually was really the question. Could I play an adult? Could I actually pretend to be an adult for more than the requisite two minutes that I have to a day? Could I actually pull off being a serious scholar?
What is the biggest fight you ever had with your mom?
I never said no to my mother. I was the ultimate good girl with a toe in the water of bad girl-ness.
What about in college?
Did I, at that point, join a sorority and become a sister and go to beer parties? Sure. I was not a prude nor was I straight, but I was a good girl. The issue for me was that I was a good girl and I became an actress [after] three months of college. I continued, by the way, to be a good girl. I am a good girl and I have always been. By the way, I am drawn to good girls. I have a teenage daughter. I've met a couple bad girls. I can see them coming. The day my daughter started seventh grade, I sat looking at that class and I went like this, "Bad, bad, bad. Trouble, trouble, trouble. Nice girl gonna turn bad in about a year. She'll be good until junior year."
Isn't that against what the movie says, that you can't tell what people are really like?
Sure. And the truth is, every bad girl I know is actually an incredibly loyal, loving friend who happened to break rules. Being a bad girl is [being] a rule breaker. That's what I'm talking about. Somebody who sees a line and crosses it. That doesn't mean that their character is a bad girl. I'm saying as a mother, you sit there going, "Hope my daughter doesn't know her." It's simply because you know then that they're going to open a door to your child that says, Cross the line with me. And you've hoped that you've instilled in your child not to cross that line. That's what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about judging them harshly as people.