Top 5 Grown actors in Teenage roles
Theatre enthusiasts and hipster acolytes are anxiously awaiting the opening of the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth. This year’s production is showcasing the stellar talents of Kieran Culkin, Michael Cera, and Rookie Mag’s very own Tavi Gevinson. The play tells the story of three teenagers fresh out of high school, which must prove an interesting challenge for the now 31 year old Culkin. Culkin is by no means the first actor to be cast in a role far outside his own age demographic, it is a struggle that has been undertaken many times in films that we have all come to know and love. To help pass the time before the production’s September opening, we’ve selected our top 5 favorite performances from actors playing absurdly against their age.
5: When it comes to relationship advice, fashion advice, or plain old life advice, Clueless gave us everything and more in it’s two oh so popular heroines, Cher and Dionne. The film depicts both girls as 16 year old Juniors, made evident during their memorable driving lesson on the freeway. An age appropriate Alicia Silverstone was 18 while portraying Cher, yet Stacey Dash as the inexorably fabulous Dionne was unbelievably nearing 30 once filming wrapped. As if!
4: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may be all about the title character, but faithful, and occasionally catatonic, sidekick Cameron Frye steals quite a few scenes in addition to our hearts. Actor Alan Ruck was just shy of 30 at the time of the film’s release in 1986, which is a bit far off from his 18 year old character. Maybe that’s why he was so high strung.
3: Both Spider Man and recent reboot The Amazing Spider Man make a point of showing everyone’s favorite webslinger as being a fresh faced 17 year old still adrift in the daze of high school. This makes the casting of a then 26 year old Tobey Maguire and 29 year old Andrew Garfield all the more mystifying. Instead of perky high school senior we get creepily overgrown man-children. Who doesn’t want that in a superhero?
2: Grease is one of the most beloved musicals of all time, but it’s apparent to anyone with eyeballs that none of these cast members are even close to the ages of their high school characters. John Travolta was 24, not too far from 17 year old Danny Zuko, but Olivia Newton-John as sweet 16 year old Sandy was shockingly a full 30 during filming. Oh and Stockard Channing? As Rizzo, Sandy’s sassy and spiteful 17 year old mentor, she was an inexplicable 34 years old, twice the age of her character.
1: Perhaps the most surprising entry on this list, oft loved and oft slandered Professor Snape is portrayed far beyond his intended years in each one of the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling specifies Snape as a man in his early 30’s in the first book, and by the last book he had reached age 38. Alan Rickman of course delivered a performance seen by many as the heart of the films, but was a solid three decades older than the literary Snape. By the final film Rickman was 66. We don’t think it makes much of a difference, Snape is still the sexiest.