13 Examples Of Hollywood Casting Literal Grown-Ups As Teens And 12 Times When They Actually Nailed It

13 Examples Of Hollywood Casting Literal Grown-Ups As Teens And 12 Times When They Actually Nailed It

Hollywood is notorious for casting older actors in roles that are meant to portray high school-aged students and teenagers. Sometimes it can get so wild that you find yourself watching people play a character that's half their real age.

Woman sitting on a couch looking intently at a TV remote in her hand. She appears focused and confused
Peopleimages / Getty Images

So, here are 13 adult actors who took the fountain of youth to a whole new level and portrayed teenagers on-screen, and 12 then-teenage actors who actually got cast as teens:

1.Adult: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", wearing a black dress, tiara, and gloves, with a cigarette holder

2.Teenager: Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan on the set of "Mean Girls"

3.Adult: Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams on the set of "Mean Girls"

Unlike her costar, Rachel McAdams was 25 when she played 16-year-old Regina George. That same year, she also played 17-year-old Allie Hamilton in The Notebook.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Teenager: Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried on the set of "Mean Girls"

When Amanda Seyfried played 16-year-old Karen Smith in Mean Girls, she was not too far off from her character in age. She was 18 when the film was released.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Adult: Shirley Henderson

Photo of Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle

Shirley, who played the forever 14-year-old ghost of Myrtle Warren (aka Moaning Myrtle) in the Harry Potter series, was actually 37 when she first popped onto our screens in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Warner Bros.

6.Teenager: Anna Cathcart

Girl with braided hair and glasses, wearing a sweater, looking thoughtful

Anna, who played 11-year-old Kitty in To All The Boys I've Loved Before (TATBILB) and its spin-off XO, Kitty was just 15 years old when TATBILB premiered.

©Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

7.Adult: Matt Damon

Matt Damon on the set of "Behind The Candelabra"

As one of the wildest on this list, Matt Damon, who played Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra, was a solid 42 years old when he played 17-year-old Scott.


8.Teenager: Storm Reid

Young woman in a collared shirt, portraying a character in a scene

While all of her other cast mates were 20+ and playing high school students, Storm Reid was actually 15 years old during Season 1 of Euphoria, where she portrayed 13-year-old Gia.


9.Adult: Stockard Channing

Stockard on the set of "Grease"

Stockard, who played the hell out of 18-year-old Rizzo in Grease, was actually the oldest amongst the main cast at 33 years old. Notably, she wasn't the only one; the entire main cast ranged between the ages of 20 and 33, intended to play 17- to 18-year-olds.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Teenager: James Lafferty

Man in a red zip-up top stands with arms crossed, looking at the camera

11.Adult: Monique Coleman

Monique Coleman on the set of 'High School Musical"

12.Teenager: Corbin Bleu

A smiling person sits in a relaxed pose wearing a casual red sports outfit

Contrary to his on-screen love interest and now longtime friend, Monique, Corbin Bleu was the youngest in the HSM cast at just 16 years old when he was playing 16-year-old Chad Danforth.

Disney Channel / ©Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Adult: Francia Raisa

Woman in a red jacket and plaid skirt smiling in an indoor setting

While Francia was portraying first-year college student and 18-year-old Ana Torres on the TV show Grown-ish, she was actually 30 when the show first aired.

Jessica Brooks / ©Freeform, formerly ©ABC Family/courtesy / Everett Collection

14.Teenager: Shailene Woodley

Shailene on the set of "The secret Life of the American Teenager"

While Shailene was taking on the troubles of 15-year-old Amy Juergens in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, she was actually 16 years old when the show first aired.

Abc Family / ©ABC Family / courtesy Everett Collection

15.Adult: Bianca Lawson

Bianca Lawson in a purple tank top with a triangle pendant, looking directly at the camera with a serious expression

Wildly enough, both my 1987-born sister and my 1997-born self watched Bianca Lawson play teenagers while we were growing up. When she took on the role of 16-year-old Maya St. Germain in Pretty Little Liars, she was actually 31.

Randy Holmes / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

16.Teenager: Sasha Pieterse

Actress in floral shirt and pendant, looking off-camera with a thoughtful expression

As the youngest in the entire Pretty Little Liars cast, Sasha was only 14 years old when she first appeared on our TV screens as one of the greatest TV mean girls to ever live, 15-year-old Allison DiLaurentis.

Jaimie Trueblood / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

17.Adult: Alan Ruck

Alan Ruck as Cameron in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"

To my forever surprise, Alan Ruck, who played senior high school student (17 to 18-year-old) Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, was actually 29 years old when the movie was released. The star of the movie, Matthew Broderick, was 24.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Teenager: Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald on the set of "Sixteen Candles"

This one is so correct to me. The icon that is Molly Ringwald, who played Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles and Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club back-to-back, was actually 16 during the premieres of both of these classics.

Mca / ©MCA/Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Adult: Nicola Coughlan

Nicola on the set of "Derry Girls"

20.Teenager: Taylor Momsen

Taylor on the set of "Gossip Girl"

Xoxo, Little J. Taylor Momsen played 14-year-old Jenny Humphrey in one of the greatest teen shows ever made, Gossip Girl. Surprisingly, they hit the nail right on the head this time; Taylor was 14 when the first season was filming.

Cw Network / ©CW Network/Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Adult: Ashleigh Murray

Ashleigh on the set of "Riverdale"

Ashleigh wonderfully played the number one Pussycat, Josie, in Riverdale. Ashleigh was actually 28 when she first appeared as 15-year-old Josie McCoy in Season 1 of the show. Her other cast mates ranged in age from 19–26 when the show first started.

©CW Network/Courtesy Everett Collection

22.Teenager: Taylor Lautner

Jacob Black from Twilight smiles in a close-up shot; he wears a dark crewneck shirt

23.Adult: Barbara Streisand

Barbara Streisand in "Yentl"

Total icon Barbara Streisand played 17-year-old Yentl in the movie she notably wrote, produced, directed, and starred in, Yentl. At the time of filming the movie, Barbara was actually 41.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

24.Teenager: Hillary Duff

Smiling woman with blonde bangs wearing a choker and holding a flip phone

25.Adult: Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield in a Spider-Man costume with a cityscape in the background

Out of all of the Spider-Men, Andrew Garfield was actually the oldest at 27 when he put on the spidey suit and became 17-year-old Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. Andrew was 29 by the time the first movie was finally released.

Columbia Pictures / ©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection