August 21, 2003 01:00 PM

Lindsay Lohan, the 17-year-old costar of Disney’s sleeper hit remake Freaky Friday, was walking along Sunset Boulevard with a friend recently when it suddenly hit her: She’s a movie star. “I saw the poster for Freaky Friday on Sunset Boulevard. It’s huge! It’s a whole building,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, wow!’ It’s so cool.”

Despite her surprise, Friday actually marks Lohan’s return to the big screen. At 11, she played twins in the 1998 remake Parent Trap, starring Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson.

Lohan recently told PEOPLE about her jump back into acting, her future college plans, teen romance and her bonding experience with costar Jamie Lee Curtis – to the music of Justin Timberlake.

You took a break after Parent Trap, opting to return to school. Why?
After Parent Trap, it was a lot at once for me. I was 12 years old and I wanted to be with my friends. So my parents made the decision to bring me back into school. I appreciate that so much because it really kept me grounded. I think it was really great that I went back to school and stayed with my friends and led a normal life.

What do you hope will come out of your role in Freaky Friday?
I hope people can accept me now as a 17-year-old actress instead of thinking of me as a 12-year-old. I just hope I get some great scripts and choose the right things.

Did Jamie Lee Curtis give you any good advice?
Jamie just always tells me to be comfortable with myself and get more confidence – and be with good people and do what I feel is right most of the time. Coming from Jamie, it means a lot, because I think she is a great person – amazing.

We heard Jamie Lee called your grandma’s house and surprised her.
Yeah, she called to speak to me after seeing the screening. She called and my grandmother picked up the phone and Jamie said, “Hi, is Lindsay there? This is Jamie,” and my grandmother said, “Jamie who?”

Jamie and I talk on the phone a lot though, and her daughter is really cool. We’re pretty good friends.

Did you both have fun on the set?
I think the funniest thing is Jamie every morning coming into the trailer playing Justin Timberlake. She’s just a big Justin fan. We had a lot of fun listening to him every day in the trailer – she would sing to it (laughs).

You sing a song called ‘Ultimate’ on the movie soundtrack for Freaky Friday. Is a music career in your future?
I’ve always loved to sing and dance. I’ve just never really taken the time to pursue it and I wasn’t old enough. I feel like if I want to come out with my music and I want it to have a certain edge to it, then I should be age-appropriate for it and let my fans kind of grow with me instead of just coming out and have people just be like, “What is she doing?”

I’ve been trying to find my style. I co-wrote a lot of demos with Emilio Estefan and I’m meeting with labels, so we’ll see where that takes me. Hopefully everything will go as planned and go really well.

What do you think of being grouped with other teen stars, like Hilary Duff?
I think it’s great. I think it’s cool that all of us are doing what we’ve always wanted to do, and people are recognizing that we really love doing it. I wish the best to everyone.

What’s your response to reports of tension between you and Hilary Duff over having both dated Aaron Carter?
Aaron and I were friends. That’s my past. It was, like, a few months ago, you know. He’s a cool guy. We’re friends. Hilary is a cute girl. I wish her the best.

Are you dating anyone right now?
Not really, I’m keeping myself open. I’m 17, so we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of good-looking boys out there.

What do you look for in a guy?
(I like) a good personality – a fun, kind person.

Do you plan to go to college?
I want to focus on my career because I think it’s important that I do keep up with it now and not just leave again. I want to take a year to do all of that, and then I’ll start looking at colleges at the end of this year. I want to be bicoastal. But if I’m at UCLA or NYU, I’ll have to stay there.

What do you like to splurge on?
Clothing. I’m a huge shopper. You should have seen me in Los Angeles. It was a bad situation. Fred Segal. Madison and Kitson. I could keep going. We didn’t have enough room in my suitcase.

Tell us about your latest project, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
The title says the whole film. It’s basically about a girl who lived in New York City and moves to New Jersey because her mom is not making enough money to keep up in the city. It’s kind of scary, though, because I haven’t really done something where I haven’t had a Jamie (Lee Curtis) or a Dennis Quaid and a Natasha Richardson to be there with me. This is for a crowd my age. It’s just a fun movie. I’ve got great wardrobe in it.

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