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15 Barely Legal Movie Leads You Are Now Allowed To Ogle

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15 Barely Legal Movie Leads You Are Now Allowed To Ogle

In recent years, one of the trends in moviemaking has been to turn successful young adult fiction novels into movies aimed at the same audience. Arguably, the fad started with the Twilight Saga films and took off from there, although there were plenty that came before Twilight (but not as successful). This article seeks to highlight the female leads of those movies who may have been too young to look at then (or played girls too young to look at), but who are now perfectly legit.

Of course, any leading lady chosen for a role, no matter her age, will be good-looking. That’s just the name of the game (and really, would we want them not to be?). The following is a list of 15 young women of Hollywood who were pretty girls but are even hotter women now that they’re all grown up. These beautiful young women have all played leading roles in movies that have been adapted from young-adult fiction, some with insane success and others not so much.

Read on to see which of Hollywood’s young and talented are among those who took part in young-adult books-turned-movies. After all, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other movies like them have been some of the biggest hits in Hollywood, ever. And that’s at least in part due to the actresses who brought their protagonists to life.

15. Odeya Rush

Israeli actress Odeya Rush just turned 20 years old, and while she’s probably more well-known for some of her other projects like Goosebumps, she was in a film adaptation of a young-adult novel and a very famous one at that: The Giver. In The Giver, she played the forbidden love interest of the main character, Jonas, played by Brendan Thwaites. The Giver is a dystopian story (first a novel by Lois Lowry) about a young man who learns about the “real” world from an old man called The Giver (played by Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all of the memories in the supposedly perfect community where they live. Next up for Odeya Rush are several movies this year and next, including The Hunter’s Prayer, When the Devil Comes, and Dumplin’, which stars Jennifer Aniston.

14. Jennifer Lawrence

Just as successful as the Divergent series was The Hunger Games, which were four films based on the books of the same name that came out between 2012 and 2015. The star of them was Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is a teenager who volunteers to take her sister’s place in the annual competition that sees 24 “tributes” compete to the death in a televised event meant to remind the people of Panem (formerly North America) not to take anything for granted. Jennifer Lawrence is thought to be the most successful actress of her generation, as well as the highest paid. Her films have grossed over $5.5 billion worldwide. Her breakout role was playing Ree in 2010’s Winter’s Bone. After that, her career skyrocketed, and some of her most well-known movies in which she had a leading role include the films Silver Linings Playbook, The House at the End of the Street, American Hustle, Serena, Joy, and Passengers.

13. Emma Watson

Emma Watson, now 27, was an integral part of one of the largest and most successful book-turned-movie franchises in history. That, of course, would be the Harry Potter series, in which Emma played the bossy but kind witch, Hermione Granger, in all nine films. During this time, from 2001 until 2011, Emma essentially grew up as Hermione. She was just 11 years old when the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, came out, and she was well into adulthood 10 years later when the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, came out. Emma has been a part of another film that’s been adapted from a young-adult book as well. It’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, about a teenager who’s introverted and dealing with love, his best friend’s suicide, and his own mental illness, all at the same time. Emma played his love interest in the film.

12. Chloe Moretz

Actress Chloe Moretz turned 20 years old this year, and she’s been a part of multiple young-adult books turned into movies. These include The 5th Wave, If I Stay, Hugo, and even Kick Ass, which was not necessarily a novel but based on a comic book. Chloe had a lead role in all of these films, and she has many films coming out this year and next. One of those movies is yet another film adapted from a young-adult novel, Sam Munson’s November Criminals. Chloe plays the lead female role of Phoebe in this story about a teenager who investigates a murder in Washington, D.C. That teenager is played by Ansel Elgort, who himself isn’t unfamiliar with young-adult fiction turned to film, as he played Shailene Woodley‘s brother, Caleb, in the Divergent series. In November Criminals, Chloe Moretz plays his best friend and is the leading female in the movie, as she’s used to being.

11. Vanessa Hudgens

Beastly was a modern-day version of Beauty and the Beast that came out in 2011. In it, Alex Pettyfer played Kyle, aka The Beast, and Vanessa Hudgens, who is now 28, played Lindy, the beauty. Like so many other young actresses, she was already well over 18 years old when she portrayed a teenager. This film was loosely based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Alex Flinn. Set in New York City, this tale starts when the arrogant Kyle makes fun of Mary-Kate Olsen‘s character, but she’s a witch and transforms him into a beast who will permanently be a beast unless he finds love by next spring. He does, of course, with Lindy, whom he becomes the protector of after a threat is made on her life. And naturally, the curse is broken, and they all live happily ever after.

10. Kaya Scodelario

25-year-old Kaya Scodelario is most well-known for her roles in the television series Skins, and The Maze Runner films, the third of which will be released next year. In these movies, Kaya plays the character of Teresa, who was the only girl in the maze. Named after Mother Teresa, in the movies, she’s 17 years old. She’s described in The Maze Runner books as thin, with “burning blue eyes,” skin that was “pale, white as pearls.” and having “tar black hair,” “long legs,” and “pink lips.” It’s a beautiful description, and Kaya fits it well. The actress, who’s also a wife and mother of one, said of acting, “I don’t think I could ever play just a ‘pretty girlfriend’ or just a stereotypical female part that’s just there to get her tits out — that just doesn’t interest me at all, really. I just want to keep pushing myself with every role and keep pushing myself with every film.”

9. Zoey Deutch

At 22 years old, Zoey Deutch has appeared in a few movies that have been adapted from young-adult fiction. Those are Vampire Academy, Beautiful Creatures, and this year’s Before I Fall. She had leading roles in both Vampire Academy and Before I Fall, in which she plays Samantha Kingston, who is forced to relive the last day of her life over and over again until she solves the mystery of her own death. Zoey is often physically compared to actress Rose Byrne for their likeness to one another, and the young actress first became known for her role on The Suite Life on Deck on The Disney Channel. Oh, how her talent has grown, as she now has several bigger and more developed roles in various kinds of movies. Her projects show her versatility as an actress, as she’s played everything from a dhampir (half-vampire, half-human) in Vampire Academy to a spoiled teenager in the TV show Ringer to a young woman who has lost her life in Before I Fall and more.

8. Willa Holland

Nowadays, Willa Holland is more well-known for her roles on the CW superhero shows like Arrow and The Flash, in which she plays Thea Queen, than she is from some of her older roles. One of her first was as Marissa Cooper’s little sister Kaitlin on The O.C., and she was also in a movie adaptation of the book Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (because what would adolescence for girls be without Judy Blume?). Playing the lead role of Davey Wexler in the film, Willa portrayed a girl who has just lost her father, who was killed in a hold-up. She and her mother and brother go to visit relatives in New Mexico, where Davey makes an unexpected new friend that helps her heal. From playing a snooty teenager on Gossip Girl to a superhero on the CW to a sad girl experiencing loss in Tiger Eyes, Willa Holland, now 26, is quite the talented young actress.

7. Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld is a talented 20-year-old singer and actress who combined her talents in the movies Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3. She’s now a successful recording artist and actress who’s appeared in several big movies. Her breakout role was as Mattie Ross in 2010’s True Grit, and she had the leading female role of Petra Arkanian in the 2013 movie Ender’s Game, which is based on the sci-fi novel of the same name about a young military recruit tasked with leading the fight against a genocidal alien race. Petra was the only girl in the Salamander Army as well as the commander of Phoenix Army. She was a friend to Ender (Asa Butterfield) and helped him with training. In real life, Hailee is a former cheerleader, very close friends with Taylor Swift, and has an older brother who’s a NASCAR driver.

6. Alicia Vikander

Seventh Son is a film loosely based on the book The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (it’s called The Spook’s Apprentice outside of the US), and it stars 29-year-old Alicia Vikander as Alice Deane, a witch. The movie was made in 2014 and also starred Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. It was a 3D film about the seventh son of a seventh son but didn’t get good reviews and was a letdown at the box office. Swedish actress Alicia, who is constantly asked about her “dark” complexion, is also a dancer and producer, and she’s now become famous in both Europe and North America. She’s known for movies like A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina, Jason Bourne, and The Light Between Oceans and will play Lara Croft in 2018’s Tomb Raider.

5. Emily Browning

Emily Browning was 16 years old when she played a teenager and one of the protagonists of 2004’s Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now, she’s 28 but still has a baby face that allows her to play characters younger than her real age. Like the other films on this list, A Series of Unfortunate Events was first a book meant for the teenaged audience. Then it turned into a film starring Jim Carrey as the titular character. It’s the story of three orphaned children, and Emily’s character of Violet Baudelaire was the oldest of them. They go to live with their much-older cousin, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who secretly plots to steal their parents’ fortune. Nowadays, Emily can be seen in the television series American Gods as the character Laura Moon.

4. Sarah Bolger

2008’s The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the book series of the same name by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, is a story about Sarah Bolger’s character, Mallory, her twin brother, and their mother, all of whom move into the run-down Spiderwick Estate. Then, strange things begin to happen, and they’re pulled into a mystical world, unlike anything they’ve ever known. Back when The Spiderwick Chronicles was released, Irish actress Sarah Bolger was only 17 years old. Now, she’s 26 and has played Jade on the television series Into the Badlands since 2015. She has also made plenty of movies, like The Moth Diaries and The Lazarus Effect, and has had recurring roles on other television shows like The Tudors, Once Upon a Time, and Agent Carter. Judging by the above photos, time has clearly been good to Sarah and erased any trace of the Spiderwick-era awkwardness from her, and replaced it with hotness.

3. Alice Englert

Australian actress Alice Englert is now 23, but when she was 19 in 2013, she performed in one of her most well-known roles, as Lena Duchannes in Beautiful Creatures, a movie based on the young-adult fiction book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It’s the story of teenager Ethan, who boringly lives in his small Southern town, until the arrival of Lena Duchannes, who has supernatural powers. Of course, throughout the book, the two fall for each other (because obviously). Besides playing Lena, Alice is also known for playing Rosa in the 2012 film Ginger and Rosa but otherwise, has a limited repertoire. Her other films include In Fear, Time Traveler, and The Rehearsal. She’s also been on various television shows including New Worlds, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and 2017’s Top of the Lake, in which she plays the character of Mary.

2. Kristen Stewart

One of the most successful young-adult film franchises ever was the Twilight series, which were four movies based on the books by Stephenie Meyer. Starring Kristen Stewart as protagonist Bella Swan, these books and movies told the story of the human Bella’s love for and marriage to vampire Edward Cullen. Arguably, Twilight was the start of the young-adult craze, and there have been countless book-to-film projects after that attempting to emulate its success. Now 27, from the ages of 18-22 (2008-2012), the unassuming and quiet Bella Swan has been Kristen’s most famous role. She’s known a lot of success in between and after the Twilight Saga films. She’s had several starring roles, including in the movies The Runaways, Adventureland, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Into the Wild.

1. Shailene Woodley

The girl that got her start as the main character on five seasons of The Secret Life of the American Teenager later branched out and became the star of three major teen book-to-movie adaptations, the Divergent series. Shailene Woodley played Tris Prior, the protagonist and heroine in all three Divergent films from 2014-2016, when she was 23-25 years old. Now almost 26, Shailene has been known for more than just her movie repertoire (which, by the way, includes The Descendants, The Fault In Our Stars, and Snowden). She was actually arrested while peacefully fighting the Dakota Pipeline and, of course, made headlines for it. Of this, she said, “I am not scared. I am not afraid. I am grateful, and I am amazed to be standing by the side of so many peaceful warriors.”

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