Anne (netmouse) wrote,
Anne
netmouse

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. :)
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