Inspired by Buzzfeed’s list of 25 Celebrities Who Are Older Than You Thought, here are 10 more actors who played much younger characters.
1. Stockard Channing in Grease
Olivia Newton-John was famously 29 when she played Sandy, but John Travolta was 24 – hardly a teenager himself. The now 57 year-old was already 22 when he played a school bully in Carrie – but he was still one of the youngest people to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, for Saturday Night Fever in 1977. If you already knew all that, it might still come as a surprise that their classmate Rizzo – Stockard Channing – was 34, a full decade older than Travolta.
2. Charisma Carpenter in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So you knew that James “Spike” Marsters was 35 when he was cast as everyone’s favourite Billy Idol lookalike, but did you know that Charisma Carpenter was 10 years older than her character, Cordelia Chase?
3. Edward Furlong in Terminator 2
He was 13, right? Everyone knows that. Ah, but did you know that his character, John Connor, was only supposed to be 10 years old? Yup – the motorbike-riding, gun-toting foul mouthed kid whose voice is breaking was born less than 11 years after the events of the previous film. I know kids grow up fast these days, but I found it credibility-stretching, even in a film about time-travelling robots with unexplained Austrian accents.
4. Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie
We’re fairly used to seeing older actors in teen roles, so the typical 21 year-old in American Pie – such as star Jason Biggs – wouldn’t really stand out. At 26, Shannon Elizabeth was much older than the rest of the principal cast.
5. Frankie Muniz in Malcolm in the Middle
Frankie Muniz was 15 years old when the first episode of Malcolm in the Middle aired, and 21 by the final series. He was about the same age as his “older brother”, Justin Berfield as Reese.
6. Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate
As a 30 year-old playing 21 year-old Benjamin, Hoffman was only six years younger than his “MILF” love interest, Anne Bancroft. Benjamin later falls for Mrs Robinson’s daughter, played by 27 year-old Katharine Ross.
7. Leslie Nielsen in Police Squad!
If you guessed Leslie Nielsen’s age as being “about a million and two”, you wouldn’t be far off: he’s 84 right now. He seemed to stop ageing some time in the mid-1970s and was a whopping 56 when he first starred in Police Squad! and 62 when he made the first Naked Gun film. As his girlfriend, glamorous Priscilla Presley was a respectably non-creepy 43.
8. Sidney Poitier in Blackboard Jungle
I have to thank my mother for this one: she’s complained for as long as I can remember about how the “kids” in the film that launched rock ‘n’ roll were practically older than their teachers. Oscar winner Sidney Poitier was 27 when he played high schooler Gregory Miller.
9. Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Alan Ruck was 29 when he played Bueller’s 17 year-old best friend Cameron Frye.
10. Gabrielle Carteris in Beverley Hills 90210
The actress playing Andrea Zuckerman was 30 when she played the teenager in the first season of 90210. Five seasons later, she dropped out to go to Yale.