15 Actors Who Played Characters Much Younger Than Themselves • MetDaan

15 Actors Who Played Characters Much Younger Than Themselves


Casting the role of a teenager can be a quite daunting challenge. Especially if the success of the show hinges on the young person’s acting skills. Which is why movie and television directors often go for the seemingly safer option and choose someone slightly older to play the part. And by slightly older I mean anyone who’s been a teenager at any point during the last, say twenty-something years. Sounds about right.

But it’s good! Most of the time you can’t honestly say that the age difference between the actor and the character is noticeable. That’s the magic of television: the combination of the person’s naturally youthful looks, careful application of makeup, and the mannerisms of a teenager (almost) always works. Sometimes it’s better, others worse: you be the judge of that in this list, courtesy of Ranker, of 15 older actors who played high schoolers with varying degrees of success.

1. Henry Winkler


Photo:  ABC

Henry Winkler played Arthur Fonzarelli on the ’70s sitcom Happy Days. He was 28 years old when he got cast in the role of a teen rebel. Did we really believe he was that age? Well, no. But he was damn cool, and we couldn’t care less about anything else.

2. Stockard Channing


Photo:  Paramount Pictures/Amazon

Well, this was quite the age difference! Thirty-four-year old Stockard Channing played teenage Rizzo in Grease. If you are looking for it, you will see it, but if you sit back, enjoy the film and allow yourself to be distracted by her world-weary and street-wise character (not to mention John Travolta), you are bound to let her off the hook.

3. Gabrielle Carteris


Photo:  FOX

Everyone on Beverly Hills 90210 is forever young. So is Gabrielle Carteris. The 29-year-old actress played a character 13 years younger on the teen drama series, and she pulled it off magnificently. If she was considered to be the “mum” of the group by the audience it was solely because of the unfortunate wardrobe choices.

4. Tobey Maguire


Photo:  Columbia Pictures/Amazon

While Peter Parker’s age is never explicitly mentioned, it’s reasonable to assume that he is either 17 or 18, seeing as in the first movie he is still in high school. Tobey Maguire’s baby face isn’t quite enough, sadly, as he makes Peter appear to be 12 and 45 at the same time! Sorry, Tobey, you’re a great actor, but not really a great teenager.

5. Charisma Carpenter


Photo: The WB

Charisma Carpenter’s character on Buffy The Vampire Slayer is your typical mean girl. And what do mean girls look like? Very attractive. So, on that basis it’s understandable why they would cast Charisma, but when she’s in the same shot as some of the much younger cast, it was quite obvious that the 27-year-old actress was no teenager.

6. Tom Welling


Photo: The CW

Tom Welling played a young Superman on Smallville. In the opening season, Tom is 24, and Clark is 14, and it shows. As Clark grew up, Tom got older, and, honestly, at no point in the show did he really look like a teenager. But he was Superman, so that could be attributed to his superhuman abilities.

7. Shirley Henderson


Photo: Warner Bros./Amazon

Moaning Myrtle’s first appearance was in Harry Potter and the Chamber of the Secrets in 2002. The actress who played the character was Shirley Henderson and she was 37. She reprised the role again when she was 40 in The Goblet of Fire, and amazingly she had us all fooled. The fact that she was a translucent ghost and her high pitched girly voice did a lot to complete the effect.

8. Cory Monteith


Photo: Fox

It is said that Ryan Murphy, one of the show’s creators, made sure that Glee‘s characters would graduate in a realistic time frame because Cory Monteith was aging too fast. Who knows if that’s true, but it doesn’t really matter. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old actor passed away before the start of the fifth season, making the question of his age obsolete.

9. Andrew Garfield


Photo: Columbia Pictures/Amazon

Andrew Garfield, at 29 years, was closer in age to Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire, but still not close enough. Perhaps the fact that he wasn’t a very convincing Spider-Man had more to do with the script writing than with Andrew’s acting chops, but still. Even if he could pull off portraying a teenager, he didn’t quite make it playing a nerdy superhero teen.

10. Stacey Dash


Photo: Paramount Pictures/Amazon

Stacey Dash played Cher’s best friend in Clueless when she was nearly 30-years-old. Considering that her teen years were in the ’80s and no-one noticed anything odd as she starred in the very ’90s teen comedy, it goes without saying that she did a tremendous job.

11. Alan Ruck


Photo: Paramount Pictures/Amazon

Alan Ruck was cast to play Cameron, Ferris’s best friend in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when he was 30. He not only looked like a teenager, he perfectly managed to act like one. Looking at angsty and whiny Cameron, you’d never even think he was 12 years too old to be a high schooler.

12. Rachel McAdams


Photo: Paramount Pictures/Amazon

Can you even imagine someone else as mean teen Regina George instead of Rachel McAdams? Didn’t think so. Which just means that who ever cast the 26-year-old actress to play a teenager did a bang up job.

13. Jason Earles


Photo: Disney Channel

Jason Earles played Miley Cyrus’s high-school-going brother in Disney’s Hannah Montana. The actor was 29 when the show started in 2006. But Jason was so convincing as a teenager, he could easily have continued playing the character for five more seasons without looking out of place.

14. Michael J. Fox


Photo: Universal Pictures/Amazon

Michael J. Fox does have a youthful air about him, but no-one can manage to keep looking 17 for years and years. Yes, for the first Back to the Future, the 24-year-old actor could easily pass for a teen. But as time went by much faster in the real world than in the movies, when it came to the third installment five years later, he started to stretch believability.

15. Keiko Agena


Photo: The CW

Keiko Agena was cast as Lane, Rory’s best friend, in Gilmore Girls when she was 27 years-old. In the first season her character was 16, but at no point in all the seven seasons of the show, did the actress look too old for the part. This is one of the truly rare occasions when an older actor was cast perfectly in a much younger role.

Source: ranker

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