One of the more demanding aspects of the film for actors Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron was having to learn to play two separate roles. Each had to play a wild zany young teenager and an obsessive middle-aged medical genius. Director Rod Daniel said: "It was very, very difficult. We spent rehearsal time working on those moments when they had to deal with each other in each other's bodies and less on the physical stuff which tends to take care of itself. It really is difficult because it's like retraining".
The film's two stars, Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron, commented on the physical aspects of making the movie. The parts were could be very physical, which, at one point, took its toll on Cameron, who spent his every free moment at the gym. Cameron said: "We spent three days on this track scene, and I was home for two days after we did that, just sitting because I couldn't walk. My legs were so tight". Moore, a master of physical comedy, never takes a role for that aspect. In fact, he tends to take the physical comedy for granted. Moore said: "It's the little unseen things that are real physical for me."
Director Rod Daniel had more than a professional interest in the screenplay. Daniel said: "The opportunity to flesh out the relationship between a father and a son was very appealing to me because I saw a lot of similarities to my life. My father was a successful surgeon and, like Chris Hammond, I didn't want to become a doctor either. The script just struck a personal note with me".
Star Dudley Moore was immediately smitten with Like Father Like Son (1987). Moore said: "The idea of swapping bodies appealed to me, and it was a good excuse to be a kid again . . . although I don't need an excuse. It was just a fun story. I had been sixteen years old once, and I don't pretend to be a professional adult. I really didn't play a sixteen year old. I think that would have been mildly boring. So, instead of going for accuracy, we went for the fun of the situation. I was playing an attitude, not an age".
Director Rod Daniel and producers David Valdes and Brian Grazer pointed to the benefits of teamwork in accomplishing the feat of turning around the production of a movie from conception to release within a year. In fact, Like Father Like Son (1987) started as a movie high concept late 1986 and wrapped principal photography on 20th May 1987 with some additional photography required for filming some additional scenes in late June 1987. The picture premiered on 2nd October 1987 less than a year after it was first discussed in studio meetings during November 1986.
Initially, it was the story that attracted the principal actors to the project, but It was the creative collaboration that took place during pre-production and filming that made Like Father Like Son (1987) an unusual film experience for them. Producer David Valdes said: "When you're given a talent like Dudley Moore, you want to include his input. Two months before shooting, Dudley was involved in story meetings". Director Rod Daniel said: "I kept Dudley informed and involved in where I was going with the script because I felt his creativity could help shape the film from its infancy. And he did do that. He was very involved".
Producer David Valdes said of the movie's screenplay: "It was one of those scripts that was constantly changing. The script went through a continuing metamorphosis up until the last day of shooting". Producer Brian Grazer added: "Even from the very beginning, [director] Rod Daniel had a central vision that excited him about the movie. He always wanted you to laugh and have a good time or cry and be moved". "As a filmmaker, he was able to inject a lot of visual style and scope into the movie which I feel is very progressive".
To prepare for his role in the film, actor Kirk Cameron, who at the time portrayed Mike Seaver on the hit television series Growing Pains (1985), became a people watcher. Cameron explained: "I spent a good deal of time watching older people. I was looking for any differences between a middle-aged guy and a kid . . . in the ways they move or how they walk or how they talk. And what I found was that older people are much more controlled, not as flippant as kids".
Comparing his Chris Hammond character in this movie with his television character Mike Seaver from his hit television series Growing Pains (1985), actor Kirk Cameron explained: "Chris is not like Mike Seaver. He is a bit shy, and although he does a little better in school, he's not as confident or as aggressive."
Producer David Valdes said of this movie: "Primarily, we used only three sets for filming: a high school, a hospital and a house. I think the fact that we didn't move around a lot enabled Dudley [Moore] and Kirk [Cameron] to spend more time concentrating on their characters".
Reaffirming his casting choices of Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron, producer Brian Grazer said: "I absolutely envisioned Dudley as Dr. Jack Hammond. He's a unique personality in that he's an adult and a child at the same time. And that's what is great about Dudley as an actor, he has so much youth, mischievousness, and boyishness about him, that he was simply the perfect guy for this part". Grzaer added: "As far as Kirk's role, we were looking for a really good young actor that could do comedy. There aren't many of them and Kirk was both a natural and an Ideal choice".
According to producer Brian Grazer, the picture worked because it is a "character comedy that examines how tough it is to be a dad and how tough it is to be a kid. Everybody relates to those things, but everyone also takes them for granted". Like Splash (1984) and Night Shift (1982), Grazer pointed out that there is a moral theme within the "fun" of the movie: "In Night Shift (1982), it was about friendship, in Splash (1984), it was about love, and in Like Father Like Son (1987), it's about compassion and understanding".
Producer David Valdes paralleled the role switching premise of two of the film's lead personnel: Valdes explained: "Rod has produced television and I have directed, so we have both worn each other's hats. Having our respective past experiences was conducive to a good working relationship. I like to surround a good director and a good script with good technicians".
Fitting to the title of the film; Sean Astin (who played Kirk Cameron's friend) is the son of John Astin, who played Jodie Foster's father in the original Freaky Friday, a previous parent-child mind-swap comedy.
Both Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore play dual roles in this picture. Their principal characters are son Chris Hammond and father Jack Hammond respectively but, vice versa, they also portray each other's character, as per the age swap / body switch nature of the movie's storyline.