In movies and television shows, it is not out of the ordinary for actors to portray roles that do not reflect their age. Studios can transform any actor into an older or younger version of themselves using amazing make-up and clothing departments.
However, this doesn't always mean that it is believable on screen. For example, Sally Field is noticeably not old enough to be Tom Hanks' mother in Forrest Gump. On the other hand, sometimes it totally works. An example of this would be Jennifer Lawrence in Joy, in which Lawrence, in her mid-twenties, played a woman in her thirties.
More importantly, even if the actors are placed in roles in which they have to participate, or rather pretend to participate in, experiences that are not age appropriate. For example, Chloe Grace Moretz in her role as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass, was extremely inappropriate. She murdered other characters and had the mouth of a sailor.
Another example of this would be Nikki Reed and Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen, in which their characters experimented with drugs, alcohol, and theft. Although many stars may not have been the right age for their characters, most of them still tend to pull off the role well.
Here are the 9 Stars Who Were Too Young For Their Roles And 9 Who Were WAY Too Old.
18 Too Young: Elle Fanning In The Beguiled
Whether or not you enjoyed The Beguiled, you have to admit that it was definitely eccentric. The film focuses on Cpl. John McBurney an injured Union soldier, played by Colin Farrell, who is on the run during the Civil War.
He seeks refuge at an all-female boarding school in Virginia. While hiding at the school, the tension between the handsome soldier and the many women leads to chaos and jealousy.
Elle Fanning, who is 19 years old, plays one of the women who lives in the boarding school. While her character Alicia is the same age, one scene in particular proves that they should have cast someone who was older.
This particular scene involved Alicia in bed with John McBurney, a man who could easily be her father. Colin Farrell is 41 years old, more than twice Fanning’s age.
17 Too Old: Crystal Reed & Holland Roden In Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf was probably one of MTV’s most popular scripted television shows of all time. A creative, supernatural drama that balanced coming-of-age comedy with old supernatural legends, Teen Wolf was very well-received.
However, most of the characters were supposed to be in high school, but the majority of them were college-aged or older. Although it’s not out of the ordinary for actors to be older than their high school counterparts, the actors were way too old.
Crystal Reed, who played Allison Argent from seasons one to three, was 26 when the show began. Similarly, Holland Roden played Lydia Martin for all six seasons of the series and was already 25 when the show began.
Both Lydia and Allison were supposed to be high school student when the show began. Simple math shows us that both of these characters were about 10 years older than their characters' supposed ages.
16 Too Young: Kirsten Dunst In Interview With A Vampire
The 1994 vampire flick, Interview With A Vampire, is known for many reasons. One being the fact that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise both star as mysterious and dashing members of the undead, Louis and Lestat respectively. Another is Kirsten Dunst’s character Claudia, who was bit by Lestat as a child and is now a vampire herself.
At only 10 years old while filming the movie, Kirsten Dunst had to play a character who went through adult experiences. Since she is a child vampire, Claudia doesn't age, but she continues to mature psychologically.
Although she continues to look like a little girl, Claudia slays countless people, feeds off of them, and shares a kiss with Louis, who is much older than her. With that being said, it makes for a great break-out role for Dunst as she was very young, but at times was asked to act like an adult.
15 Too Old: Rachel McAdams In Mean Girls
Yes, butter is a carb, but Regina George did not look like a high school student in Mean Girls. Although Rachel McAdams is absolutely stunning and made Regina George one of the most iconic movie villains of all time, she was not the appropriate age to be playing a high school student.
McAdams was 25 when she played the character that jump-started her career, putting her quite a ways past an appropriate age. Even if you’ve never seen Mean Girls, you are probably familiar with popular quotes and catchphrases that have become a part of many millennials’ vocabulary.
The 2004 flick, which contained breakout roles for Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Seyfried, also featured hilarious characters played by comedy queens Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
14 Too Young: Dafne Keen In Logan
At only 12 years old, Dafne Keen is a complete and utter legend beyond her years. The feisty pint-sized actress is best known for her breakout role as Laura in this past years X-Men universe flick, Logan. Although she is a young child who doesn't speak until the third act, Laura possesses almost identical powers to Wolverine-- including his disregard for the rules.
The film, which is set in the future, follows Wolverine as he navigates a bleak world where the mutant population has been almost wiped out. Wolverine is stuck taking care of a dying Professor X, while trying to save up enough money to leave the country.
In the comics Laura is supposed to be in her late twenties. Regardless, the savage violence that takes place in the film would be intense for anyone. The film is insanely violent and extremely bloody.
While she is definitely way too young for the role, Keen absolutely nailed it. The pre-adolescent fighter was unfazed by the brutality around her, especially since she’s the one sinking her claws into the baddies most of the time.
13 Too Old: Jason Earles In Hannah Montana
Sweet niblets-- he’s old! There is no denying that Disney’s hit Hannah Montana was popular or that it launched Miley Cyrus’ career. If you didn’t already know, Hannah Montana follows Miley Cyrus as Miley Stewart, a tween who lives a double life: one as a regular girl, another as a pop superstar. The show ran for four seasons, beginning in 2006 and ending in 2011.
However like many things in the world of Disney, some things just don’t add up. An example of these irregularities was Miley’s brother in the show, Jackson. Played by Jason Earles, Jackson was supposed to be a 16-year-old boy.
Unfortunately, Earles was 29 at the time. This is probably one of the of the most noticeable on-screen age differences, but it didn't affect the popularity of the show.
12 Too Young: Drew Barrymore In Poison Ivy
At age 17, Drew Barrymore played the role of Ivy in Poison Ivy. The thriller, which did absolutely awful in the box office, is about Ivy, a seductive teen who befriends a young introvert, Sylvie, played by Sara Gilbert.
Fascinated by her wealthy family, Ivy gets closer to Sylvie, specifically to meet her father. She successfully seduces Sylvie's father, Darryl, and then plots to kill Sylvie's mother.
The reason that Barrymore is way too young for the role is common sense. Her fascination and infatuation with Darryl is wildly inappropriate. She’s 17 and he’s her friend's father.
This role was definitely a new direction for Barrymore, who was known at the time as a child star for E.T. Regardless, involving her in such explicit scenes at a young age was not the best idea.
11 Too Old: Tobey Maguire In Spider-Man 3
In the final entry of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy, the actor was 32 years old while playing a character that is supposed to be in his late teens to early twenties.
Spider-Man 3, the worst film of the trilogy, concentrates on the web-head being combined with a symbiote from another world. This creates turmoil within Peter Parker as he struggles with his inner demons.
Although Maguire was way too old for the role, his fellow stars weren’t age appropriate either. For example, James Franco was around 29 at the time while playing a character in his late teens as well. Maguire is the oldest, yet it managed to work for him. The movie was financially successful, but it stands with the ranks of X-Men: The Last Stand as one of the worst comic book movies ever.
10 Too Young: Dakota Fanning In The Runaways
At the age of 23, Dakota Fanning has played many mature roles that were beyond her years. She might have a cherubic face and an air of innocence about her, but many of Fanning’s performances aren’t innocent in the slightest.
A good example of this can be found in the 2010 film The Runaways. The biopic, which tells the true story of the band of the same name, follows Fanning as aspiring rockstar Cherie Currie, opposite Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett. The rebellious women formed the female band that would change rock and roll forever.
Although Cherie Currie was a rebellious teenager, Fanning was only 16 while playing the character. During this portrayal, Fanning’s character experimented with drugs, alcohol, and other risque activity. Although she pulled it off, this was definitely not appropriate for an actress at the age of 16.
9 Too Old: Ian Somerhalder In The Vampire Diaries
When The Vampire Diaries began in 2009, Ian Somerhalder was already 31 years old. His character was Damon Salvatore, a teenage vampire. Therefore, Somerhalder was playing a character that was almost half his age from the pilot.
As time progressed and the show continued, Damon didn’t age obviously because he was a vampire. However, when the show ended in 2017 after eight seasons, Somerhalder was 38 years old and still playing a teenage vampire.
Fortunately, Ian Somerhalder is extremely easy on the eyes and a great actor, so he definitely does not look like a man who is pushing forty. On the other hand, he obviously does not look like he should be in high school. If you look closely, there are wrinkles on his forehead and neck that a teenager wouldn't have.
8 Too Young: Chloe Grace Moretz In Kick-Ass
There is no denying that Chloe Grace Moretz has amazing acting talent, and her breakout role was no exception. At age 13, Moretz starred in the comic book flick Kick-Ass, in which she plays Hit-Girl.
The 2010 film, which concentrates on a group of unlikely vigilantes fighting crime, was definitely not your average superhero movie. In her first big role, Moretz as Hit-Girl was feisty, violent, and most of all cursed like a sailor.
Hit-Girl became the topic of controversy in that she was way too young to be using the foul language. Although she was obviously acting, the extreme violence included dismemberment and witnessing her father getting burned alive. When added with the extensive use of profane language, Moretz was without doubt too young for this role.
7 Too Old: Olivia Newton-John In Grease
Look at her, she's Sandra Dee! In one of the most iconic roles of all time, Olivia Newton-John plays good-girl Sandy in Grease. In the role that she is still best known for, Newton-John embodies an innocent girl who falls for the resident bad boy Danny, played by John Travolta.
The film, of course, focuses on their unlikely relationship in high school, along with their friends, as they sing and dance their way through senior year. However, Olivia Newton-John was 28 years old while playing a 17 or 18-year-old high school senior.
It would have worked better if her opposite, John Travolta, was closer in age to her. In fact, Travolta was only 23 years old at the time of filming. Of course, the ages didn’t make a significant difference in the quality of the movie as it is still a classic.
6 Too Young: Sally Field In Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump loves his mama, we know this to be true. Actress Sally Field may have played the mother to Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump in the 1994 flick, but it didn’t make much sense.
Sally Field is only ten years older than Hanks, making it impossible for her to be his mother. The movie definitely did the best it could with Field's hair and makeup, but it’s still incredibly obvious that Field wasn’t Hanks’ mother.
However, it goes without saying that the film is still one of the greatest movies ever made. If you don’t already know, the Oscar-winning movie is about a man with an IQ of 75, and his adventures growing up in Alabama. Gump lives an extraordinary life; experiencing love and heartbreak, fighting in the Vietnam War, and living through huge scandals like Watergate.
5 Too Old: Sarah Hyland In Modern Family
She might look much younger than her real age, but in this case the odds might have been in Sarah Hyland’s favor. If you didn’t know, Hyland plays Haley Dunphy in Modern Family-- the TV comedy that is still going strong in its 10th season.
Modern Family follows the story of three households that all belong to one family. Each of the family’s are unique in their own way and their daily life is not your typical family to say the least. They are dysfunctional, awkward, and absolutely hilarious.
In the Emmy-winning hit, Haley Dunphy was said to be born in December of 1993. Hyland, on the other hand, was born in 1990. Therefore, she is obviously older than her character.
However, it works for Hyland as her youth and unique wit are what make her stand out. You would never know that the actress is not the same age as her character .
4 Too Young: Jennifer Lawrence In Joy
There is no doubting Jennifer Lawrence was absolutely incredible in Joy. The biographical comedy-drama, which tells the rags to riches story of Joy Mangano. the woman who would go to create a massive, business dynasty.
The film, which boasts an incredible cast that includes Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, proved to be a success. Especially for Lawrence as she was nominated for both an Oscar and Golden Globe that year, winning the latter.
Lawrence, then around age 25, was playing a woman in her mid-thirties. Although Lawrence has been often cast in roles that don’t exactly fit her age-- playing a younger character in Hunger Games and an older one in Mother!, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle-- her ability to transform herself into roles proves that she can truly play any age.
3 Too Old: Winona Ryder In Girl, Interrupted
Girl, Interrupted contained an all-star cast, to say the least, boasting the likes of Winona Ryder, Elisabeth Moss, and Angelina Jolie before they were even well known. The 1999 psychological thriller concentrates on the true story of the young woman Susanna Kaysen, played by Ryder, who is sent to a mental institution after she is caught swallowing an entire bottle of pills .
Although she says she didn’t try to commit suicide, her actions prove differently and she ends up being admitted as a patient. The story follows Susanna in her treatment as well as the lives of the asylum's other interesting inhabitants.
Although her acting skills are always magnificent, Winona Ryder was 28 years old in her role as an 18-year-old girl. Ryder was pushing 30 while playing a girl who had yet to attend college.
2 Too Young: Evan Rachel Wood & Nikki Reed In Thirteen
Actors Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed were both 14 years old while filming the movie, Thirteen. The movie, which is loosely based on Nikki Reed’s life and co-written by her, concentrates on the friendship between a good girl gone bad and a full-on bad girl.
The main characters are Tracy, played by Wood, and Evie, played by Reed. The film also featured Holly Hunter as Tracy’s mother.
Although Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed were technically a year older than the roles they were playing, both were definitely too young to be playing the roles. The characters delve into drugs, alcohol, shoplifting, and all-around shenanigans.
Even though it is loosely based on a true story, the experiences the teenagers go through are not appropriate for a 13 or 14-year-old girl.
1 Too Old: Jennifer Grey In Dirty Dancing
To say that Jennifer Grey pulled off playing an adolescent teen in Dirty Dancing at the age of 27 is an understatement. In one of the most iconic films of all time, Jennifer Grey was way older than her character, Baby.
Baby was supposed to be around the age of 17, making Grey ten years older than her character. You would never have guessed that Grey wasn’t a teenager herself during the time of filming.
Her small stature and her innocent face make her role extremely believable. Grey was able to balance youth with her desperation to be accepted as an adult. Maybe already being grown up helped with her performance, but no matter how believable Grey is, it doesn't change the fact that she was too old for the role.
Did we miss any actors who were miscast for their age? Let us know in the comments!