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If Michael J. Fox Can Do It, Maybe Kirk Cameron Can

October 20, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ If Michael J. Fox can do it, maybe young Kirk Cameron can make the leap from sitcom to the big screen. At least that’s the hope of Tri-Star Pictures, which has co-starred Cameron with Dudley Moore in ″Like Father, Like Son.″

Cameron plays the shallow, irresponsible oldest son, Mike Seaver, in ABC’s hit series, ″Growing Pains.″ In ″Like Father, Like Son,″ he faced a heavier challenge.

″I play Dudley, in a sense, because we switch brains in this film,″ he said. ″I got to play Dudley’s character, so I watched and learned little mannerisms and techniques that he would use.

″What helped a lot was the 2 1/2 weeks’ rehearsal before we ever started shooting the film. It was basically me, Dudley and the director (Rod Daniel). We sat around a table and for 2 1/2 weeks just went through the script page by page, line by line. There was a lot of rewriting, and we worked on mannerisms and how we were going to deal with the metamorphosis.

″It took a lot of time. Also I went out and watched adults, studying how they walked and talked. It’s all very subtle. Adults are very controlled, much more reserved; everything they say is very deliberate, every move they make is deliberate.″

At 16 Kirk Cameron has spent almost half his life in show business. He was born in the San Fernando Valley and still lives there with his parents and three younger sisters (Candace appears on the series ″Full House″). None of his family was involved in show business until Cameron was 9 years old and tried out for commercials at the suggestion of the mother of a friend, child actor Adam Rich.

Although the money was good, Cameron admits that commercials don’t provide much training for actors: ″As far as applying it to a television series, it’s really different. On a commercial you spend a day, sometimes two, on a 30- second spot. Make sure you eat five or six Hershey bars beforehand so you’ve got enough energy, because you need a lot of it.″

Cameron moved up to TV movies in 1981. He played in series such as ″Lou Grant″ and ″Code Red,″ as well as ABC Afterschool specials and one feature, ″Best of Times″ with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. He also appeared in the short-lived series, ″Two Marriages,″ before landing in ″Growing Pains.″

The show’s success has made Cameron a favorite with the younger set, but he still enjoys a degree of freedom.

″I don’t have a major problem, like whenever I walk out of my house people yell and scream,″ he said. ″When I go out to a mall or Disneyland, it’s tough because it causes a problem with autographs and pictures and stuff like that. It’s hard to relax and just have a good time. But I don’t mind signing autographs or taking pictures. It hasn’t gotten to the point where it’s a major mob scene.

″I go to school on the set, not to a regular school. On the weekends, that’s my time to just relax and go out with my friends and try to be just a normal 16-year-old kid.″

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