Kelsey Grammer is probably best known as the tightly-wound psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, a part he played for the better part of two decades in both Cheers and the spinoff Frasier. But audiences will get to see a new side of Grammer in the new Netflix movie, Like Father. So who does Kelsey Grammer play in Like Father, and is the character anything like Frasier?
In the movie, Grammer plays Harry, who unexpectedly shows up at his daughter Rachel's (Kristen Bell) wedding after years of estrangement. After Rachel’s fiancé dumps her at the altar, the newly reunited father and daughter go out drinking, and Rachel decides it’s a good idea to take him along on her honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean. Once they’re stuck together on the cruise ship, the two try to work things out and repair their strained relationship.
While both Bell and Grammer, along with co-star Seth Rogen, are well-known as comedic actors, their roles in Like Father also require more serious emotional performances. In an interview with Popcorn Talk, Grammer explained that his character abandoned his daughter but has always hoped to make amends. “In this situation, he left, and it has haunted him ever since,” said Grammer, “And he has always intended to get back with her in some way — and when he is finally free to do so, it is the first thing he does. But he knows it’s going to be a rough ride.”
The movie was written, directed, and produced by filmmaker Lauren Miller Rogen, who drew some of her own life’s experiences when creating the film. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she revealed that it was her mom’s struggle with Alzheimer’s that inspired the emotional arc of the story. “I’ve experienced emotional periods in my life that are full of needing to take a step back and deal with some really dark, hard sh*t,” said Miller Rogen. “And immediately, I sort of sparked to the idea of creating a female character who is put in this situation, which seemed so rich for emotion, and goes through this journey.”
But Miller Rogen wasn’t the only one to take from real life in the making of this film. Bell and Grammer talked about their characters' relationship in an interview with Shemaroo Holly Bytes. Grammer admitted that he wasn’t able to use his own father as a frame of reference for his character, because he was never a huge part of his life. Instead he used his own role as a father as inspiration for his character, Harry. “I didn’t really know my father,” he told the outlet. “So, being a father has been very important to me, and figuring out what I think the best way to go about it is. By way of having no example, I became my own.”
But Like Father is not all serious meditations on love and family. The film is truly a comedy at heart. Seeing Bell and Grammer as a father-daughter team trying to get through a honeymoon cruise is truly hilarious.
Like Father premieres on Friday, August 3 on Netflix.