One of the key differences between film acting and theater acting is that typically, a film actor is roughly the age of the character they’re playing. In the theater, there’s more wiggle room — costumes, wigs, and stage makeup can transform a teenager into a young child (take Annie, for instance) or a young adult into an older adult (or older feline, in the case of Cats). Movies and television aren’t usually granted this luxury, since it’s a lot easier to see someone in a camera closeup than it is hundreds of feet away on a theater stage. So while an actor may be a couple of years older or younger than their on-screen counterpart, they tend to fall within a realistic age range for the character.

However, there are certain instances where actors were cast in roles that were a lot older than their role. If an actor is just right for a part, the director may be willing to overlook the age gap. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the actors below played characters with ages drastically different from their own — that’s how good they are at embodying their roles.

A scenario where this happens quite often is movies and television that take place in high school. Oftentimes, casting directors will look for actors who are legal adults — 18 and over. If the show takes place during freshman year, the actor is already going to be three or four years older than their character. However, you might find that your favorite high schooler is actually played by someone in their late 20s — or even their 30s.

Here are 10 talented actors who had drastically different ages than their roles.

10 Actors Who Were Way Older Than Their Characters

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