Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number In Hollywood: Older Actors Who’ve Portrayed Significantly Younger Characters

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Since the beginning of film-making, directors have cast actors and actresses into roles based significantly on talent, often letting factors like age fall by the wayside. Age ain’t nothing but a number in Hollywood, and that’s evident when a 41-year-old Barber Streisand was cast to play a 17-year-old in Yentl, or a 34-year-old Stockard Channing was cast to play an 18-year-old girl in Grease. Let’s see what other actresses and actors are old enough to father or give birth to some of the characters they’ve played–or at least be a young aunt or uncle to them.


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Donald Glover, who currently stars as 24-year-old college student Troy Barnes on Community, is just marginally older than his character by 5 years, making Glover 29 years old.


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Amber Riley, who played the role of Mercedes Jones on the hit television show Glee, is nine years older than her character, at the age of 27. So despite what you might have thought, she’s no high school student, and not near a high schools student’s age.


Gabourey Sidibe was 26 years old when she filmed Precious, and her character, Claireece “Precious” Jones, was just 16 years old, making Sidibe 10 years older than Precious.


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Gabrielle Union was 27 years old when she starred as feisty 17-year-old, Isis, in the film Bring it On. This made her 10 years older than her character.


Monique Coleman, who performed the role of Taylor McKessie in the Disney channel classic, High School Musical, was 27 years old, while her character was old 16 –making her 11 years older.


Sean Patrick Thomas was 30 years old, yes 30, when he starred in the film Save the Last Dance, performing the role of 18-year-old Derek –making him 12 years older than his character.


Stacey Dash was 29 years old while filming Clueless in the year 1995. Her 17-year-old character, Dionne, was 12 years younger than her.


Wood Harris was 31 years old when filming Remember The Titans, and his character, Julius Campbell was 18 –making him 13 years older than his character.



Bianca Lawson, who played Maya St. Germain on Pretty Little Liars, is 33. Her character, however, was only 17 year old, which made her 16 years older than her character.


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Halle Berry was 39 when she took on the role of Janie Crawford in the film, Their Eyes Were Watching God. At the beginning of the film, Janie’s character is 16 years old –making Berry 23 years older than Crawford.

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