McG On Working With Jennifer Garner & The 6-Way Body Swap


  • Family Switch is a holiday film directed by McG, featuring a star-studded cast including Jennifer Garner and Rita Moreno.
  • The movie revolves around a family that swaps bodies due to a strange occurrence, forcing them to experience each other’s lives.
  • The film aims to capture the spirit of Christmas classics and offers funny and memorable scenes, particularly between Jennifer Garner and Emma Myers.

Family Switch follows the Walkers, an average American nuclear family with two teenage children who have been butting heads with their parents. When a strange occurrence at the Griffith Park Planetarium causes the family to swap bodies with one another, they are all forced to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. While the kids learn about their parents’ responsibilities and the parents see the challenges of being teenagers, they will need to work together to not only switch back but, in the meantime, land a promotion, a college interview, a record deal, and a soccer tryout.

Family Switch includes a star-studded cast including Rita Moreno, Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, and Brady Noon. The movie was directed by McG and co-written by Adam Sztykiel and Victoria Strouse. Family Switch is based on Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book Bedtime for Mommy.


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Screen Rant interviewed McG, the director of Netflix’s new family Christmas movie, Family Switch. He explained that working with Garner and the six-way body swap initially drew him to the movie. McG also discussed how Garner cultivated a bonding experience with the cast as well as how she and Myers worked together to create the nuances in their performances.

McG Talks Family Switch

Screen Rant: You’ve done feature films, TV, shorts, music videos. But correct me if I’m wrong, you haven’t done a Christmas or a holiday film until now. Why was the right time to make a holiday film and what attracted you to The Family Switch?

McG: The prospect of working with Jennifer Garner, and I thought it was original that the switch was six ways. I thought that was cool and new and I always liked Pixar movies and I thought, “There’s a way I can make this kind of feel like a live action Pixar movie. That would be really cool.” And who doesn’t like the challenge of trying to reach that Elf, Die Hard, Love Actually kind of Christmas standard and hopefully we contributed to those lofty titles.

Absolutely, you did. Now, I love the ensemble that you chose for the Walker family. They’re absolutely fantastic. Ed, Emma, Jennifer and Brady have fantastic chemistry. Did that extend off set as well?

McG: 100%. And that’s accredited to Jennifer Garner and the way she gets down. She had us all come to her house to eat dinner and do literal body work with a coach where you’d roll around on the floor and you’d move like a giant amoeba. And it sounds crazy, but it really worked and everybody bonded. Then we’d eat together and joke together and laugh together and just talk and spend quality time and there’s no substitute for it. And then I think that resulted in the chemistry you see up there on the screen.

Speaking of which, I actually think some of the funniest, most memorable scenes come from Jennifer and Emma’s characters. They are brilliant together. I’m talking about the office presentation scene, her belching outside, and even the electric slide that she does. Which one of those scenes stands out the most? Can you talk about those moments in the film?

McG: Well, I mean, it’s funny because the belch is authentic. I was looking over here from my Topo Chico, that’s just the key to that one. She would pound Topo Chico on the side and she’d be ready to rip. There was no CG, no AI, that came from the guts. She’s just fearless. I mean, here’s this beautiful woman that’s known for being so elegant and she’s out there just willing to go for like a Will Ferrell-esque belly belch, and it’s just awesome.

And seeing Emma in Wednesday just blowing up and then I got a feeling in a two-shot they’re going to be magical. And then you see them when Jen’s the mom and when Emma’s the daughter, and then when they switch, it really comes alive. And it’s a testament to their talent and just their charisma because it’s very, very difficult to stand up in a two-shot next to Jennifer Garner.

She’s great for a reason and she would just swallow up so many young actors. But Emma just has that interior light and that magic. She’s just got that magic. It’s unquantifiable. It’s why some people are movie stars and other people aren’t. And she just is. And the two-shot was dynamite.

Now you have so many tremendous comedians with cameos in this film, but I want to talk about Matthias Schweighöfer as Ralph. He is incredible. What did he bring to the role that wasn’t on the page?

McG: He’s just like, “My dream is to be in an American comedy.” I’m like, “You’re the most credible German. You’re an Oppenheimer. Who are you?” And he just wanted to be in a movie, a family comedy movie of this type. And he was such a ray of light. That guy’s awesome.

And my dear friend, Carl McDowell, who’s up there in the observatory doing his thing. And yeah, I like to populate in batches in there and I just like to populate the film. Dan Finnerty is the guy that she does the shoot thing with at the top. And yeah, I like to populate the film with talented people.

About Family Switch

Family Switch movie cast appearing worried

When a chance encounter with an astrological reader causes the family to wake up to a full body switch –– on the morning of the most important day of each of their lives –– can the Walkers unite to land a promotion, college interview, record deal, and soccer tryout?

Check out our other Family Switch interviews here:

Family Switch premieres on Netflix on November 30.

  • Family Switch Netflix Movie Poster

    Family Switch

    Release Date:


    Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, Brady Noon, Rita Moreno


    101 Minutes

    Comedy, Family, Holiday

    Adam Sztykiel, Victoria Strouse

    Story By:
    Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Victoria Strouse

    Grey Matter Productions, Wonderland Sound and Vision, Linden Entertainment



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