30 Actors Who Were Way Too Old to Play Teenagers on TV and in Movies
The Dear Evan Hansen trailer got a lot of attention for the awkward appearance of star Ben Platt, who, at age 27, is playing high school student Evan, just as he did in the Broadway version. While Platt's appearance is the the one that's making headlines right now, he's far from the first actor to play a teenager while actually being a decade or more older. It's got us wondering: who are some of the oldest actors ever to play teen characters?
We've sifted through tons of teen-focused TV shows and movies to try to find some of the most egregious examples of the gaps between characters and the actors playing them (for TV stars, we've based the ages off of the actors' ages when their characters first debuted on screen). You might be surprised to see which of your favorite actors played teenagers well into their 20s or 30s — or maybe not.
Keiko Agena as Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls: 27 Years Old
Selma Blair as Cecile Caldwell in Cruel Intentions: 27 Years Old
Alison Brie as Annie Edison on Community: 27 Years Old
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 27 Years Old
Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can: 27 Years Old
Darren Barnet as Paxton Hall-Yoshida on Never Have I Ever: 29 Years Old
Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson on Glee: 27 Years Old
Scott Porter as Jason Street on Friday Night Lights: 27 Years Old
Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall on Pretty Little Liars: 27 Years Old
Arden Cho as Kira Yukimura on Teen Wolf: 28 Years Old
Chase Stokes as John B in Outer Banks: 28 Years Old
Stacey Dash as Dionne Davenport in Clueless: 28 Years Old
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man: 28 Years Old
Trina McGee as Angela Moore on Boy Meets World: 28 Years Old
Gabrielle Union as Isis in Bring It On: 28 Years Old
Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman on Beverly Hills 90210: 29 Years Old
Jason Earles as Jackson Stewart on Hannah Montana: 29 Years Old
Meredith Monroe as Andie McPhee on Dawson's Creek: 29 Years Old
(Also of note: Monroe's on-screen brother, Kerr Smith — pictured on the left — was 26 years old when he debuted on the show)
Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy on Riverdale: 29 Years Old
Henry Winkler as Fonzi on Happy Days: 29 Years Old
Trevor Donovan as Teddy Montgomery on 90210: 30 Years Old
Alan Ruck as Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off: 30 Years Old
Nicola Coughlin as Clare Devlin on Derry Girls: 31 Years Old
Coughlan also began playing 18-year-old Penelope Featherington on Bridgerton at age 33!
Laura Dreyfuss as McAfee Westbrook on The Politician: 31 Years Old
Timothy Granaderos as Montgomery de la Cruz on 13 Reasons Why: 32 Years Old
Stockard Channing as Rizzo in Grease: 34 Years Old
Famously, most of the cast of Grease was at least a decade older than their characters. Olivia Newton-John was 29 when she played Sandy, Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) and Barry Pearl (Doodie) were both 28, Michael Tucci (Sonny) was 32, Didi Conn (Frenchie) was 27, and Jamie Donnelly (Jan) was 31.
Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls: 26 Years Old
Rachel McAdams is famously 10 years younger than Amy Poehler, who played her mother.
Sean Patrick Thomas as Derek in Save the Last Dance: 30 Years Old
Bianca Lawson as Maya St. Germain in Pretty Little Liars: 33
Bianca Lawson played teen characters starting in 1993 with Saved by the Bell: The New Class. She continued playing teenagers throughout the '90s and '00s in Sister, Sister, Goode Behavior, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, and Pretty Little Liars.