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Body part swap stories

Bodyswap is a plot device or story trope involving two or more characters switching their physical bodies by magical, scientific, mystical or unspecified means.


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We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. As a closeted gay teenager in the early s, director Christopher Landon often struggled with his identity.

There’s a reason why hollywood loves a good body swap

Some days, he wished he could blend into his high school surroundings and disappear. Other times, he wanted to be a different person altogether. Leaning on a specific suspension of disbelief—the body-swapping is triggered when Millie gets stabbed by a magical dagger— Freaky amps up the laughs and scares of its premise and, like other body-swap movies, injects its bizarro tale with real moments of pathos.

More than just highlighting differences in age, gender, and circumstance, the trope functions most profoundly as a morality tale, preaching the importance of empathy and understanding. Making a good body-swap movie has its challenges—it requires perceptive casting, detailed preparation, and intuitive direction.

But the best entries have continued to find creative ways to interrogate the petrifying experience—and valuable lessons—of temporarily inhabiting another body. The earliest body-swapping stories were birthed out of the genre of wish fulfillment.

Body part swap stories

When a magic stone transforms him into his younger self, his son morphs into a grown man, swapping places with his father and awkwardly living in a new, adult world. Mary Rodgers put a modern twist on the body-swapping fable when she wrote Freaky Friday in Both the novels and their respective cinematic adaptations found easy comedy in the polarity of their protagonists. By the late s, Hollywood went all-in on this accessible concept.

Within the span of a year, three body-swap movies hit theaters with nearly identical plots. That surge extended into the next decade, as body-swap stories expanded outside paternal transformations. In his own mainstream variation, starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, a workaholic attorney swaps bodies with an unemployed rake.

Indirector Jake Kasdan began the most ambitious body-swapping expedition to date with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Adding another wrinkle to the subgenre, he adapted the movie by turning four teenagers into video game avatars—embodied by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan—who must cooperate inside a virtual jungle. Two years later, he doubled down on the premise in a loaded sequel that added and swapped even more bodies. Between these popular titles, independent films and numerous television episodes have also played in the body-swap sandbox everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the animated Japanese drama Your Name.

But no matter the variation, each of the movies share safe and satisfying resolutions—characters confide in friends, iron out mistakes, and revert back to their original selves having gained priceless wisdom. Effectively selling these mystifying odysseys, though, is where the real challenge lies.

Executing an effective body-swap performance, one that includes realistic energy and improvisation, requires a commitment to collaboration. To prepare Vince Vaughn for his teenage girl transformation in FreakyLandon pulled out his personal video camera.

There’s a reason why hollywood loves a good body swap

At one point, Landon took Newton to a Sweetgreen in Los Angeles and filmed his young star—still in character—ordering a salad. Vaughn helped Newton, too. Waters used a similar video diary approach before shooting Freaky Friday. Instead of recording character traits, however, he used rehearsal time to shoot the script backward with a small camcorder.

Worried Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan might fall into generic depictions of adolescence and middle age, Waters filmed them reenacting the post-swap versions of themselves. That meant Curtis, despite playing a teenager in the movie, acted as the mother, giving Lohan a performative study guide and line-reading template to follow.

Still, he made sure they spent time with the teenagers they were embodying. Before shooting the first movie, Kasdan remembers sitting down with Johnson and Alex Wolff for lunch to discuss how they would share their character, Spencer, and keep his tics and tendencies in agreement. The director requested the same process with his other pairings, hoping they could bring something fun to the script.

Freaky friday and other body switching stories

On set, in the midst of shooting his first large-scale movie, the director relied on teamwork. During one sequence in The Next LevelBlack and Gillan each spend a few minutes exchanging characters back and forth, turning their identities into fluid puzzles. And Karen can do anything. Schlatter agrees. And since his grandfather resembled Burns, Schlatter leaned on those personal characteristics too, gleaning small details to match his then year-old screen partner.

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The comedy starred Will Arnett as a misogynist sports agent who becomes hexed after a one-night stand. The following morning, he wakes up as a woman played by Rhea Seehorn and spends the majority of the episode trying to comprehend and live inside his new female body. Men or women? When depicting all the realities that body-swap stories entail, filmmakers often find themselves in similar kinds of tricky situations.

Tg body part swap story

How far can you take the disguise before things get too creepy? In Freaky FridayWaters made sure that Curtis, embodying her teenage daughter, only briefly kisses her fiance on the cheek, avoiding any murky territory. Nowadays, studios mostly punt on any kind of incestuous or underage insinuations.

Halfway through Freakyfor example, Vaughn, as Millie, sits in the backseat of a car with her crush, Booker Uriah Shelton. Though normally too shy to admit her feelings, Millie has a strange confidence in her new skin, and despite her middle-aged male appearance, Booker admits his attraction to her. Landon shoots the scene thoughtfully and romantically, and though he acknowledges the subversive nature of the set-up—outwardly, two men locking lips—he was glad test audiences responded to the honesty of the moment.

When Kasdan considered taking on a Jumanji remake, the superficial comedy never appealed to him. The swap shrinks his strength and dominant presence, but forces more introspection and cooperation. Landon also engages with that therapeutic throughline in Freaky during a scene that plays more like a confessional.

These kinds of inward, reflective journeys make up the heart of body-swap movies.

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It lets Judge Reinhold slide down stairwell banisters, Jamie Lee Curtis shred on electric guitar, and Jack Black access, well, even more of himself. Even if that means being a serial killer for a day. Jake Kring-Schreifels is a sports and entertainment writer based in New York.

His work has also appeared in Esquire. Cookie banner We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from.

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Body-swap stories

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