The 6 Oldest Actors That Played Children

Saturday, June 15 by Stu Moody

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Actors and actresses are revered for their good, youthful looks. Sometimes these thespians do such a great hob of looking young that they play characters much younger than they are. Like, way younger, possibly from different decades. And some actors can just act young, even if they don’t look it. All of these scenarios lead to some crazy casting, even hilarious casting when actors who are way too old to play children are given youthful roles. What are some of the most grievous offenses in the ageless world of acting? Read on to find out.

 

1. Ralph Macchio, “The Karate Kid”

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	It’s a classic 80’s movie about an adolescent boy, an old Japanese <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/man/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>man</a> who uses karate lessons to get kids to clean his house, and kicking Billy <span data-scayt_word=Zabka in the face. All wonderful tasks, all worthwhile pursuits for any kid. The only fly in the ointment? Ralph Macchio was actually 22 years old when he played fifteen year old Daniel La Russo. Even weirder, he still looks like he could probably pull the role off today.

 

2. Stockard Channing, “Grease”

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It’s an iconic 70’s musical set in the 50’s. That sort of time-traveling is pretty acceptable in Hollywood, but when the cast is made of twenty-somethings who are closer to thirty-somethings playing teens, the suspension of disbelief becomes tough. Witness Stockard Channing’s character, Betty Rizzo. Most high school seniors don’t have crow’s feet and early-stage Alzheimer’s, but Rizzo did, since Channing was actually 34 years old in this role. Pretty for outside the role’s boundaries, but in fairness most of the actors in “Grease” were way too old.

 

3. Alan Ruck, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

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The eternally boyish Frye hit his nadir in this flick. In fact, hos young looks may have hurt his career. It’s tough to take seriously a guy who looks like he’s in the Cub Scouts, and not as a leader. At any rate, high school senior Cameron had a day to remember in this movie. A day for the ages. The age of seventeen, precisely. Too bad, though, because in real life he was 30 years old. Maybe Principal Rooney held him back a few times, right?

 

4. The Phelps Twins, “Harry Potter” series

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At first, it wasn’t so bad. George and Fred seemed right in line with their supposed ages. But as the “Potter” films progressed, it became harder to overlook a few things. By the third movie, twins who were supposed to be fifteen had five o’clock shadows and looked to be badly in need of an anti-puberty potion. By the last movie, Fred and George were ready to cash in their Roth IRAs and enjoy their old age together.

 

5. Maisie Williams, “Game of Thrones”

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She’s a fine young actress, maybe the highlight of the series. No doubt she has a bright future. But when it comes to the Stark lineage, there are some age issues. In real life, Arya is as old as her older sister Sansa, meaning Arya could conceivably play her own big sister. On top of that, she’s way older than the Arya in the books, who is nine or ten. Age problems abound for the young she-wolf of House Stark.

 

6. Judd Nelson, “The Breakfast Club”

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John Hughes made gobs of money in the 1980s with teen flicks. But it can be tough to find young actors who can pull off the range of emotions necessary for the Hughes movies. Enter Judd Nelson, the detention-bound youth of “The Breakfast Club” who was a good deal older than his character. You could almost smell the old-man breath wafting from his mouth as he and his fellow “Breakfast Clubbers” come of age. Old age, in his case.