Jean-Patrick Benes: “We wanted to see our film become the ultimate switch film”

Por Jean-Patrick Benes, the body swap movie no longer holds any secrets. Co-screenwriter and director of the film “Le Sens de la famille”, he tells the birth of this jumbled story, in which members of the same family find themselves in turn blocked in the body of another.

Hello Jean-Patrick Benes! Where did you get this idea for a movie, in which a kid becomes the mother of a family and a teenage girl gets stuck in her father’s body, and so on?
We often tend to think that we find the stories, but in reality, it is the stories that find us. At the base, our producers came to see us [Allan Mauduit, Martin Douaire, Thibault Valetoux et lui-même] to write a family comedy. To think outside the box, the four of us opted for the fantastic genre. On the one hand, the idea of ​​using the switch (transl. Change) came to us quite quickly. We found it nice to “lose” our characters and our spectators, and to have fun. But since there are already a lot of switch films, we didn’t want “Le Sens de la famille” to become the umpteenth. With several switches and re-switches in the same story, we wanted to make the ultimate switch film. There are also six remakes, Chinese and Spanish in particular, which are in preparation. And on the other hand, certain subjects interested us, like the course of this father [interprété par Franck Dubosc] who gives up on his family, his marriage and his job. We liked the idea that this fantastic adventure made him evolve and understand things about himself.

With these switches and re-switches, can we leave room for improvisation, or is it, on the contrary, imperative to follow exactly what has been written, so as not to get lost when filming?
Alexandra [Lamy] and Franck [Dubosc], for example, made great proposals upstream, which we were able to integrate into the scenario. On the other hand, on the set, since the scenes had to be cut out, so that it is easy to understand and that the laughter comes spontaneously, we did not avoid improvisations at that time.

“We often tend to think that we find the stories, but in reality, it is the stories that find us …”

It was a wish on your part to find the Dubosc-Lamy couple after “Everyone standing”?
Personally, I am a fan of this movie [réalisé en 2018 par Franck Dubosc]. I have always liked the fact that in the cinema, some couples do well. And I believe that we should not be afraid to take the same duet if it works well. In this case, both have a certain level of comedy, they already had a bond having already worked together, and it must be said that they fit perfectly into the archetypes of this family. They were at the service of the film.

In an interview, Franck Dubosc confided to us that, on the set, the stake of the actors had been that of not falling into caricature …
For this comedy to work, the characters had to be archetypes, as I said, that is to say that everyone is in them. It was therefore a question of accentuating the flaws a little, however without this becoming caricature.

To interpret a mother of a family, did the young actress Rose de Kervenoaël benefit from the help of a coach to adopt the manners of a 40-year-old woman?
It must be said that Rose already has this maturity and intelligence within her. She did indeed have a coach with her and on the set, Alexandra was also there to help her. The latter taught him to smoke… It’s ugly, I know! (laughs) No, she actually taught him how to hold a cigarette. Even if it wasn’t a real one, it had to be believable. But oddly, for Rose, it was harder to be the archetype of a seven-year-old girl than to be the archetype of the 40-year-old mother. When I asked her to suck her thumb, she thought it was ridiculous. Of course, she was closer to the adult than to the child.

Franck Dubosc also confided that the moments of confusion were numerous on the set. On several occasions, the actors no longer knew who was who, and in whose body. Did you get lost in writing at times?
Yes quite. We didn’t know if we were talking about the soul or the body. When it came to choosing the costumes, it was the real mess. And on the set, when we said “Chacha, it’s going to be yours!” ” [surnom de la cadette dans le film], the actors did not know if it was Rose to disembark or Franck to suck his thumb.

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