Interview With Jimmy Kustes: Writer and Actor Body Swap

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to chat to Jimmy Kustes the writer actor star of Body Swap, a film about two very different people who swap bodies and have to experience things from the other’s point of view. We talked about the art of writing good dialogue, fixing up houses and Napoleon Dynamite  

Q: If you were to describe body swap in a word what would it be?


Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

JK: My two biggest are John Hughes and Billy Wilder. But I like the Andersons, PT Anderson and Wes Anderson. With a limited budget the one thing you need to focus on is the dialogue. I envy filmmakers that can make a film with just visuals. Ghost Story has very little talking but I’m not sure if I have that skill. 

Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?

JK: I had the script lying around and had already done a small movie with the director Tim Morton called New Cops. My parents and brothers have been fixing up houses since I was a kid so making something that gets everyone involved and proud of their work that you can give to someone else is a great feeling. Unlike houses, making money off films is something not many people have figured out. There’s a reason New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice have HGTV shows. 

Q: What is your favourite Body Swap film, other than this one of course?

JK: 17 Again is good. It has a 90s style trailer even though it came out in 2009. We actually released 1990s, 1980s, and 1970s style trailers for Body Swap in addition to the modern one. It just so happened that Wandavision was released with a similar concept where each episode was based off of a different era. 

Q:  How important was the balance between romance and comedy here, and how did you manage it?

JK: Well it’s not a sappy romance but you can’t free base comedy, it gets exhausting. Step Brothers and Napoleon Dynamite might be the only movies to pull that off. You have to dilute it with a genre like Ghostbusters or Black Dynamite does. The go-to genre to mix it with is romance. And I’m a big fan of how Billy Wilder does that so hopefully we pulled off something close.

Q: Why did you choose to structure the film as a body swap?

JK: There aren’t that many entries in the genre even though there were three in 2020 with Body Swap, Possessor, and Freaky. I thought the romantic comedy where the slob meets the career woman had been done quite a bit so maybe adding two worn genres would be original if they body swap as well. Just so happen, Freaky made a horror movie where the final girl and killer swap bodies so we have a bit of a twin movies situation. I’m not complaining because it’s free advertising.

Q: Do you have any funny on set stories?

JK: The scenes in the cafe were fun to shoot because we had a lot of extras and they bring their own dynamic and make it fun.

Q: Sequel ideas?

JK: One of the characters is watching a Christmas movie on TV in Body Swap so maybe a sequel where the Christmas movie is the whole thing, and they watch pieces of Body Swap 2 from the other side. 

Q: What is your personal favourite moment from the film?

JK:  I enjoy the ending; it ties the whole movie together. It took awhile to find a satisfying ending.

Q: If you won an award for this film who would you thank in your acceptance speech.

JK: That actually did happen! It won best feature awards at Louisville International Festival of Film and Peachtree International Film Festival. One is headed by an Academy member Conrad Bachmann and one is Academy Award-qualifying so that’s basically like winning an Oscar. Isn’t it? I like to thank Tim the director, my friends Worth, Brent, Sean, Laura, and Tracy who worked on it. Matt, Evan, Allie, and Ella and the rest of the cast and crew. I mean our lead actress filmed and cut together a “behind the scenes” video so everyone pitched in more than they had to, to get it done.  

If you want to check out Body Swap it is on Amazon,  the Google Play Store and Youtube, and as always I have a review of it up on the site now!

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