In a recent interview with Australian Women’s Weekly magazine, 50 year old Russell Crowe shared his feelings about women in Hollywood. He says that “the woman who, at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingenue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21 year old,” but the standards in the past seem to show a different point of view. For some reason, teenagers in many movies and television shows have actors in their twenties playing the part, and has been this way for decades. It has been hard to tell whether or not an actor is the age that Hollywood makes us believe; so we just assume that they are being truthful for the sake of enjoying the movie or show that we are watching.
This explains why most teenagers in this day and age have a hard time accepting the fact that they look so much younger than those that are in the movies. It’s probably because they are.
10. Tobey Maguire – 9 Years Older Than Peter Parker
Tobey Maguire was 26 when he filmed the movie Spider-man, in 2002. He portrayed 17-year-old Peter Parker, who was bitten by a spider and turned into Spider-man (for anyone who is unaware of the backdrop to the story). Apparently, a teenager playing the muscle-bound spider human is very rare; since all three men who have played him in movies have been way older than seventeen. Andrew Garfield plays in the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, and is 29 in the film. Nicholas Hammond, played in the television series, The Amazing Spider-Man for two years; starting in 1977. He was born in 1950, which would have made him 27 when he was on television; playing the teenager. Nicholas Hammond played Friedrich von Trapp in The Sound of Music in 1965, in which he was the oldest of the children in the group. He was fifteen at this time, which would have been a lot closer to the real age of Peter Parker than when Nicholas had actually played Spider-Man, 12 years later.
9. Tom Welling – 10 Years Older Than Clark Kent
There seems to be something about actors in their twenties having to play the teenage superhero. Tom Welling was 24 when he initially played the teenage Clark Kent, in Smallville. This would make him ten years older than the 14-year old that he was supposed to be portraying. He also played the big brother in the movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, when he was 26. He depicted the 18-year old son of Steve Martin’s character, which made an eight year difference for that movie, as well. That one made a bit more sense; as a man in his twenties would look a little more like an 18 year old than someone who is only 14.
8. Scott Wolf – 10 Years Older Than Bailey On Party of Five
Scott Wolf has been in a few television shows, but will probably be known best for his role of Bailey Salinger in the series, Party of Five, back in the 1990s. From 1994–2000, Bailey Salinger was left alone to help raise his sisters in brothers, after their parents died in a horrible car accident involving a drunk driver. He was supposed to be 16 in the show, but in reality, Scott Wolf was 26 years old. The kids portrayed in the series had to grow up quickly, so hiring a man in his 20s probably seemed logical at the time.
7. David Boreanaz – 12 Years Older than Angel (or 200 Years Younger, Depending on How You Look At It)
If you are going to have a show about vampires, everyone knows that they live forever and look incredibly young. So who would hire someone who is 28 years old to play a 16 year-old immortal? The creators of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; that’s who. They must have known what they were doing, because Buffy was one of the most popular television shows of the early 1990s that created the spinoff, Angel, in which David Boreanaz had played the eternal vampire with a soul. Angel was considered a teenager, which they had everyone believe (in the series, of course), that his age was sixteen. If we were going by his vampire age, it would have been even farther off, since he was born in 1727, and that would technically make Angel over 200 years old.
6. Henry Winkler – 12 Years Older Than The Fonz
Back when Happy Days was a popular series, Henry Winkler played the lovable Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, otherwise known as Fonzie or The Fonz. He was the coolest teenager on the planet, but always appeared to be a little more mature than the rest of the teenagers on set; and with good reason. Henry Winkler was 29 years old when the show first premiered. Fonzie was supposed to be 17, but in actuality, was 12 years older than his character. According to sources, Henry Winkler was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, but graduated from Yale in 1970 with a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree, before pursuing his acting career.
5. Michael J. Fox – 12 Years Older Than Marty McFly
Have you ever wondered how someone can stay seventeen during three movies, all of which were made in different years? In Hollywood, anything is possible! In Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a teenager who travels back in time in a DeLorean, along with Dr. Emmett Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd). The original was made back in 1985, when Michael was 24 but in 1990, part three was released when he was 29 and the producers expected us to believe that Marty was still only seventeen. Most of us probably did, seeing that Michael J. Fox has one of those faces that does not appear to age much, if at all.
4. Jason Earles – 13 Years Older Than Hannah Montana’s Brother, Jackson Stewart
Remember the Hannah Montana craze; where every time you turned around, Miley Cyrus was in her blonde wig and flaunting her music in the public eye? The Disney television show was created in 2006, and had the base of what almost every young girl in America dreams of; becoming a famous rock star while still being a normal teenager. Okay, maybe that isn’t every girl’s dream, but it made a lot of money and was quite popular for several years that it was publicized. Jason Earles played Miley’s brother on the show, and was supposed to be around sixteen at the time. He was actually 30. That is a 13 year age difference from his character.
3. Gabriella Carteris – 13 Years Older Than Andrea Zuckerman
The original show, Beverly Hills, 90210 was filled with teenagers that belonged to the high school, West Beverly. Or so they would have us believe. Almost every “teenager” in the original series was a lot older than the character that they played. This included Gabriella Carteris, who was born in 1961, which made her 13 years older than 16 year old Andrea Zuckerman (her character), and 12 years older than Jennie Garth’s character, Kelly. Gabriella had (sort of) lied about her age to get the part on the series. After speaking with a lawyer, he told her to say that she was “over 21,” and that would be completely legal. They eventually found out, though. Even the remake of the television show, 90210 had characters that were in their 20s claiming to be young teens.
2. Stockard Channing – 16 Years Older Than Rizzo
Did you ever watch the movie, Grease and wondered why Rizzo seemed so much older than the rest of the crew? If she appeared to be a bit more “mature” than the rest of her friends, it’s because she was. Stockard Channing was 34 when she played Rizzo in the musical. Her character was an 18 year-old teenager who was very comfortable with her sexuality, and the teenage boys in the movie knew that. Michelle Pfieffer was 30 when playing Stephanie in Grease 2, but that movie was not as accepted as abundantly as the first one.
1. Estelle Getty – 17 Years Younger Than Sophia Petrillo
The Golden Girls was a funny, well-loved comedy, featuring women living out their “golden years,” that debuted in 1985. Estelle Getty played the 79 year-old mother of Bea Arthur’s character, Dorothy, who was 63 years old. The irony is this (and perhaps a bit confusing), the fact that Estelle Getty, in reality, was a year younger than the person who played her daughter on the show. It seemed to work out pretty well though; she was nominated seven years in a row for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.” Even though she had never won a Grammy, Estelle won a Golden Globe Award in 1985, for “Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Series,” for her work on Golden Girls.