Abe plays the role of Ryota, an unpopular writer who won a literature award 15 years ago but has not be able to capitalise on this all this while. Since then, he has been working in a detective agency with the excuse of finding inspiration for his novels so as to fend off concerns from the people around him and lie to himself for the sake of holding on to his dream. In addition, he is very obsessed with gambling and cannot pay the maintenance fees for his son. Maki will play his ex-wife while Kiki Kirin will play his mother who still loves her son whole-heartedly despite him being unable to live as what a man of his age should do. His 11-year-old Shingo will be played by child actor Yoshizawa Taiyo.
Abe commented that he could identify with the problems faced by his character because he had the same experience in his teens when he could not achieve his dream and was unsure of what to do every day after that. As such, he was particularly impressed by how the script managed to describe Ryota's situation so aptly. Kiki also commented that Abe had a hard time in the early days of his career as he was too tall. Nonetheless, she joked that through this film, he could finally have another signature role other than in the Rome bathroom (referring to the hit Thermae Romae movies) and that they were able to become mother and son in the movie naturally by chatting about various things during the filming breaks.
Maki who worked in another Koreeda film previously i.e. "Soshite Chichi ni naru", said that she was able to be at ease on set and that her character Kyoko is a woman who has a clear view of her and her child's future but finds herself drawn naturally to an "useless" man like Ryota who keeps chasing his dream.
The filming was largely done at the Asahigaoka housing estate in Kiyose City, Tokyo, which was where Kiki's character Yoshiko lives at and also happens to be where Koreeda lived from the age of 9 to 28. Kiki commented that it was tough for her to film at a place like this where there are no elevators given that she is already over 70 years old but the warm atmosphere and reception from the residents who know Koreeda since he was young, left a deep impression on the cast.
Co-stars also include Ikematsu Sosuke, Ryota's partner at the detective agency, Lily Frankie, the president of the detective agency, Kobayashi Satomi who plays Ryota's elder sister and Hashizume Isao who plays the guy which Yoshiko admires.