Log in

No account? Create an account
Zer Netmouse
May 25th, 2011
08:25 am


Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
Casting High School Students
I recently watched "Easy A" on Netflix and was concerned about the body image issues teens - especially young men - might have, watching that movie. I looked it up, and Penn Badgley (love interest "Woodchuck Todd") was 24 when the movie came out. This is unsurprising to me, since his physique - frequently displayed in the film - is not one you're going to find in many high school students.

This made me curious: has casting of high school students trended to older actors lately, or is it just my imagination?

I looked up a (completely unscientific) sample of shows and movies on IMDB, and calculated actor's ages at the year of initial release. Here goes:

Easy A - 2010
Emma Stone Nov 1988 - 22
Penn Badgley Nov 1886 - 24
Amanda Bynes April 1985 - 24
Dan Byrd 1985 - 24

Glee - 2009 (-2011)
Dianna Agron Apr, 1986 - 23
Chris Colfer May, 1990 - 19
Lea Michele Aug, 1986 - 23
Cory Monteith May, 1982 - 27
Naya Rivera Jan 1987 - 22
Mark Salling Aug 1982 - 27
Kevin McHale 1988 - 21
Amber Riley 1986 - 23
Jenna Ushkowitz - 1986 - 23

Pump up the Volume - 1990
Christian Slater - Aug 1969 - 21
Samantha Mathis - May, 1970 - 20
Lala Sloatman - Oct, 1970 - 20

Pretty in Pink - 1986
Molly Ringwald Feb 1968 - 18
Jon Cryer Apr 1965 - 21
Andrew McCarthy Nov 1962 - 24

Breakfast Club - 1985
Molly Ringwald Feb 1968 - 17
Emilio Estevez May 1962 - 22
Judd Nelson Nov 1959 - 25
Ally Sheedy Jun 1962 - 22
Anthony Michael Hall Apr 1968 - 17

Fame 1980
Irene Cara 1959 - 21
Lee Curreri 1961 - 19
Laura Dean 1963 - 17
Gene Anthony Ray May, 1962 - 18

I remember even when I was a teenager, watching Pretty in Pink and thinking Andrew McCarthy looked too old for her. Now I know why! So clearly the average age of "high school student" actors between the current productions I looked at and the ones from the 80s has gone up. Especially dramatic is the difference between Glee, where Chris Colfer is the only member of the primary cast near high school age (and two of the actors were 27 when cast, and are almost in their 30s now), and Fame, where the cast was much younger. Even when Fame was turned into a TV show a couple years later, Gene Anthony Ray was still only 20.

Fear not, teen boys - almost nobody has a body like "Woodchuck Todd"'s when they're in high school. It's not just you. And as for the overall casting of Easy A, yeah. Those aren't teenagers, and they don't come across as teenagers. Suddenly I'm really appreciating Molly Ringwald. :)

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
Wasn't the girl on 90210 that got pregnant on the show in her 30's? I seem to remember there was a lot of fuss about how she was way too old to be playing a high school student.
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I didn't watch that show. Let's see their ages in 1990 (those who were in the cast in 1990).

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000)
Jennie Garth 1972 - 18
Ian Ziering - 1964 - 26
Brian Austin Green - 1973 - 17
Tori Spelling - 1973 - 17
Jason Priestley - 1969 - 21
Luke Perry - 1965 - 25
Shannen Doherty - 1971 - 19

Of the original cast, I don't immediately see any actresses who were really old when the show started. I never liked Ian or his character... not that I saw it many times.

This show, like the general trend, has guys who are on average older than the girls. That struck me as well, looking at the rest, with the exception of Glee, where two of the youngest cast members are male, but then also the oldest cast members are male.
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
It was Gabrielle Carteris I had in mind- I just had to look her up. In 1990 she was 29.
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
So funny you posted this. Dylan (who's just almost 17) and I had a Glee marathon the other day while we were trying to rest off his mono, and although he really likes the show, he was stunned by how old the actors looked and made me google them all to find their ages.
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Heh. That is funny. Go Dylan, for being observant!
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
You might consider Grease, and Buffy, in this context.
[User Picture]
Date:May 25th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC)
The cast of the film of Grease never passed for teens in my estimation.

Buffy - started in 1997, when Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977) was 20, and Alyson Hannigan (1974) was 23, but yeah, Nicholas Brendon (1971) was 26...

Putting that show's casting pretty aptly on the observed upward age curve between 1980 and 2009.
[User Picture]
Date:May 29th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
Maybe Xander was held back a couple of years? (But no, Willow and he were in kindergarten together...)

You can probably deduct 12-18 months from the age of any of the above (except Glee), given production schedules, post-production, etc, but most would still be way older than the characters they're playing.
[User Picture]
Date:May 29th, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
There's also the occasional oddity when a younger character is played by an older actress. For instance, in 8 Simple Rules, Kelly Cucao (b. 11-85, making her two months short of 17 when the series launched) played the 'elder' sister of Amy Davidson (b. 9-79, making her 23). Of the two, Cucao was actually about the right age.
[User Picture]
Date:May 29th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
huh. yeah, weird.
Netmouse on the web Powered by LiveJournal.com