It's not unheard of that actors play characters who are a different age than they are in real life. Just look at any teen horror movie. It doesn't take the most perceptive audience member to pick up on the fact that half the actors playing high schoolers are well into their mid 20s. However, full grown adults playing teens aren't just the only movie roles where an actor's age is definitely showing.
Many performers take roles where their older age is undeniably noticeable, and that's rarely a good thing. These are the aging action heroes who are clearly out of breath after a brisk jog down the street, the former sex-icons who are still taking the seductive role well into their 40s and 50s, and the romantic leads with such drastic age differences that it's just plain creepy.
For this list, we're counting down 15 big Hollywood stars who took roles that they were way too old for. These are the parts that we watched on screen and left us thinking, "boy, has this person gotten old."
To be fair, most of the names on this list are still power-house performers, but were miscast in movies where it was more distracting then it was immersing.
Here are the 15 Actors Who Were WAY Too Old For Their Roles.
15 Colin Farrell in Alexander
Born in 1976, Colin Farrell has had one of the more diverse resumes in Hollywood, from dark comedies like In Bruges to sci-fi thrillers like the Total Recall remake. In 2004, he got the chance to play one of the greatest conquerors in the world in Oliver Stone's Alexander, though it wasn't exactly a role he would become known for.
Alexander was torn apart by critics on release for being dull, and while Farrell does his best in the titular role, the film is massively disjointed. Even more distracting is the fact that Angelina Jolie was cast as Farrell's mother in the movie, who in reality is only one year older than Farrell.
That narrow age difference showed on screen. Farrell and Jolie are less convincing as mother and son in the movie as they would be as siblings. Ultimately, someone much younger should have been cast as Farrell's part, or at least someone much older in Jolie's.
14 Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous works of literature in history. The tale of young love that blossoms between two feuding families is as old as time. Everyone knows the story of the two star-crossed lovers, but what happens when those lovers aren’t as young as they’re supposed to be?
The result is the 1936 adaptation, which starred two leads so old that they could have been Romeo and Juliet’s parents. Leslie Howard, who played Romeo, was a whopping 43 years old at the time, while Norma Shearer, who played Juliet, was 34. Needless to say, their ages didn’t do them any favors while they tried to play romantic teens.
In the end, the age of the cast completely undercuts the film’s messages and themes, proving that Shakespeare’s famous lovers should probably be cast in their right age group in movies.
13 Halle Berry in Frankie & Alice
As a Hollywood starlet since her breakout role in 2000's X-Men, Halle Berry has captivated audiences with her talent and beauty for some time now. After winning her Oscar for Monster's Ball in 2001, the actress took a few less critically regarded roles, one of which as the lead in 2010's thriller Frankie & Alice.
The movie tells the true story of a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder fighting among two distinct alter egos. Despite some lukewarm reviews from critics, Berry was convincing enough in the role to score an Emmy Award nomination for her acting, although we can't help feeling that she was slightly miscast in the part.
Berry was 44 years old when Frankie & Alice was released, and although she's fantastic in the role, the movie's material called for an actress slightly younger rather than a go-go dancer in her mid 40s.
12 Kevin Spacey in Beyond the Sea
As one of the most consistent players in Hollywood, actor Kevin Spacey got his big break in movies with 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Since then, he’s starred in a number of huge films, sometimes as the protagonist and sometimes as the villain. In 2004, he took on his biggest challenge yet: writing, directing, and starring in a big screen biographical drama of “Mack the Knife” singer Bobby Darin.
The film proved to be more than the actor could handle. It received less than favorable reviews on its release, despite an all-star cast. One of the biggest glaring problems in the movie was that Spacey was 45 years old when he filmed it, when Darin was supposed to be in his 20s and 30s during the time period in the movie.
Kevin Spacey might be a magnetic performer, but even he isn’t good enough to convince audiences that a 40-year-old man can play a 20-something-year-old singer.
11 Barbra Streisand in Yentl
Singer, songwriter, actor, and director Barbra Streisand is a performer of many talents. She’s one of the youngest Oscar winners for Best Actress, starring in a string of hit films throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. However, even an actress as capable as Streisand can’t convince audiences of the massive age gap with her character in Yentl.
A massive success on release, Streisand directed and starred in 1983’s dramatic musical that captivated audiences. The only problem: Streisand was supposed to be playing a teenage girl of 17, when in reality Streisand was 40 at the time.
Although the film went on to be a monumental success, with a Best Director Golden Globe going to Streisand, we can’t help think that maybe someone closer in age should have played the lead. After all, Streisand was older than her character by more than 20 years, and it's not exactly the most unibvious thing in the world.
10 Mel Gibson in Hamlet
Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark, and it’s definitely the main casting choice in 1990’s Hamlet.
During the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was no bigger star on the planet than Mel Gibson. Before his fall from Hollywood stardom, the Lethal Weapon actor was nabbing roles in just about everything, including famous Shakespeare adaptations like Hamlet.
Although it’s not the worst Shakespeare movie out there, the 1990 version of Hamlet isn’t exactly a masterpiece either. While Hamlet is originally written to be in his late 20s (depending on who you ask), Mel Gibson was 37 years old when he played the classic character.
Even weirder, Glenn Close, who plays Hamlet's mother Gertrude, is only 9 years older than Gibson, a casting choice that makes less sense than Hamlet's confusing plan for revenge.
9 Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man: Homecoming was released last month to rave reviews, most of them praising the energetic performance of actor Tom Holland. While Homecoming might have finally got the casting of Peter Parker right, it’s taken a while for the films to do so.
Despite being 27 years old, Tobey Maguire landed the role of teenage Peter Parker in 2002. Though he was boyish-looking enough for the part, viewers never really bought the age difference between the character and actor.
Even more glaring is the age difference in Spider-Man 3, a film which is supposed to take place just a few years after the events of the first movie, yet Maguire is 32 years old at this point.
Maguire might have been great in the role of Parker, but every time we see him on screen trying to play a young Peter, our spidey-senses know that something isn’t just quite right.
8 Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra
In 2013, director Steven Soderbergh set out to craft a movie based on the true-to-life story of Scott Thorson, the secret young lover of famous pianist and singer Liberace. Set in the titular role of the musician was Michael Douglas, who was actually older during filming than Liberace was when he finally passed.
Even bigger of a casting difference was Matt Damon in the role of Thorson. While Thorson was only a spry teenage kid when he first met Liberace, Matt Damon was 42 years old at the time of filming. Although Damon is a pro, and quite good in the role, even the most gullible viewer can’t help but notice the striking age difference between actor and character.
Despite the distracting casting choice, Behind the Candelabra was met with critical acclaim. The HBO original film racked up a number of Golden Globe wins and nominations, even including a nod to the slightly miscast Matt Damon.
7 Steve Carell In Get Smart
Although he’s recently been stepping into the arena of high-stakes dramas, like Foxcatcher and The Big Short, actor Steve Carrell made his claim to fame in broad comedies, like the U.S. version of The Office and Judd Apatow’s 40-Year-Old Virgin.
In 2008, Carrell starred alongside Anne Hathaway in a big screen revival of the comedy series Get Smart. Although the actor was the right age for the part at 45 (original actor Don Adams was 42 in the role), the age difference between the romantic leads is a little creepy at best, considering that Carrell is just about two decades older than Hathaway.
The fact that he’s old enough to be her father is a little jarring to see when Carrell and Hathaway eventually hook up in the movie. Needless to say, some casting should have been changed so either Carell would have been a little younger, or Hathaway’s character a little older. Thank goodness there was no eventual sequel to check in on this creepy relationship.
6 Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses
Although the '90s Friends craze is well over, it's clear that Jennifer Aniston is just as sexy as ever. The actress continues to get work, whether it's in broad comedies like Office Christmas Party or dramatic features like Cake.
However, at her age, playing the hot seductress can be a little jarring to see onscreen, and that’s never been more obvious than with 2011’s Horrible Bosses. As one of the titular bosses, Aniston makes Charlie Day's life a living hell by constantly trying to convince him to cheat on his wife with her.
Though her character is written to be the age Aniston is in real life, and we'd be lying if we said the actresses didn't look phenomenal in those skimpy outfits, it’s a little weird to see Rachel from Friends play the naughty dentist who is trying to shack up with her assistant in her middle-age.
5 Woody Allen in Husbands and Wives
As one of the most iconic directors of all time, Woody Allen has brought audiences some of the most influential films of the last few decades, many of which the director has also starred in. Although Allen plays the neurotic funnyman better than almost anyone else, he's a bit of a creeper when it comes to age differences on and off screen.
One of Allen's later hits was Husbands and Wives, the story of a married man who starts up a fling with a teenager. At the time of filming, Allen was 56 years old, while Juliette Lewis, who played the teenage love interest, was only 19. That's a whopping 37-year-age gap that audiences just can't ignore.
Worse yet, after filming had wrapped, Allen left his then girlfriend Mia Farrow to marry her adoptive daughter Soon-Yi Previn, who was 34 years younger than Allen.
4 Liam Neeson in Taken 3
While most action stars hit their peak in their 20s or 30s, Liam Neeson didn’t start his action career until he hit middle-age. Starting off in powerful dramas like Schindler’s List, the actor has since become a household name in the realm of revenge thrillers with hits like Taken, The Grey, and Non-Stop.
However, we can’t deny that the actor is getting up there in age, as evident in 2014’s Taken 3. Though Neeson was more than convincing as the bodyguard with a special set of skills in the first Taken, it’s apparent in the franchise’s second sequel that the actor is running out of steam.
There are several scenes of the actor fighting bad guys that are less believable than a Steven Segal karate sequence. You know it’s bad when you have to have ten different cuts in the film just to show Neeson hopping a fence.
While the actor still has a fruitful career ahead of him, his days of being an action star kicking butt on screen might be numbered.
3 Sandra Bullock in The Proposal
As one of the biggest actresses working today, Sandra Bullock hit her stride in the ‘90s with movies like Speed, Demolition Man, and Miss Congeniality. She rose from pulpy action star to serious dramatic actor with her Oscar win in 2009’s The Blind Side, and has since wowed audiences by taking such disparate roles as sci-fi films like Gravity to the upcoming Ocean’s 11 reboot.
Though she’s proven to be a reckonable force in comedy, she hit a bit of a snag in 2009 with the release of The Proposal, a by-the-numbers rom-com that was desperate for a few laughs.
Besides the generic material, the movie was criticized for its two stars, Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, who didn't seem to have much chemistry together. Part of that lack of on-screen fireworks might be due to their age difference; Bullock was 12 years older at the time of filming than Reynolds.
Although their age difference makes sense for the narrative of the film, it was a little jarring on screen, leaving audiences ultimately underwhelmed.
2 Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again
As we’ve recently seen with Daniel Craig, playing James Bond over and over can cause some serious wear-and-tear on the actor. Take Sean Connery, the very first Bond, who repeatedly publicly stated how much he hated coming back as the famous MI6 spy.
However, that distaste didn’t stop the actor from coming back to the role in the 1983 unofficial Bond flick Never Say Never Again, a whole 21 years after Connery initially brought 007 to life on the big screen in Dr. No.
Needless to say, Connery’s age showed, with grey hair, added pounds onto his physique, and his seductive moves on the ladies coming off as more creepy than debonair.
The mere fact that Kim Basinger, who played the film's main Bond girl, was 23 years older younger than the Scottish actor didn't help much either. We like to see Bond get the girl in the end as much as anybody, but not when he's old enough to be her father.
1 Roger Moore in A View to a Kill
Speaking of older Bond actors, while Sean Connery might have been too old at 53 to play 007, that’s nothing compared to a 58-year-old Roger Moore in 1985’s A View to a Kill.
While there have been plenty of older 007s, none of them are up there in age as much as Moore's final outing, and it shows. It's clear that most of the actor's action scenes are performed by stunt doubles, his double entendres are more embarrassing than clever, and worst of all are his creepy sexual advances towards younger women.
There’s nothing more awkward than seeing senior citizen James Bond go to bed with women less than half his age. Tanya Roberts, who plays Bond’s romantic interest in the movie, was only 30 years old at the time of filming. That's 28 years younger than Moore, with enough gross-out factor to warrant his retirement.
It was reported that Moore decided to retire as Bond after this movie when he realized that Tanya Robert’s mother was younger than he was; if that’s not too old for a role, then we don’t know what is.
What do you think? Were these actors too old? Can you think of any other actors who were way to old for their roles? Sound off in the comment section!