Movies

14 Actors Who Were Clearly Too Old to Play High Schoolers

14 Actors Who Were Clearly Too Old to Play High Schoolers
Image credit: Legion-Media, globallookpress.com, Warner Bros.

This bunch of 'teenagers' probably should have been attending their high school reunions rather than prom.

1. Stockard Channing as Rizzo in "Grease" (1978)

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Although she was phenomenal as the sassiest Pink Lady, Stockard Channing was a little over a decade too old for her high school part in "Grease". The actress was 33 years old while playing 17-year-old Rizzo, causing quite a mismatch between character and actress age. But who can argue? Her portrayal of the character was indeed unforgettable. With that smirk, that wit, and that infectious "I-don't-care" attitude, it's safe to say she pretty much ruled Rydell High with an iron fist, even if it was, ahem, a bit wrinkly.

2. Bianca Lawson as Maya St. Germain in "Pretty Little Liars" (2010-2012)

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Bianca Lawson is Hollywood's perpetual teenager, having played high school roles into her mid-30s. When she started on "Pretty Little Liars", she was 31, playing a 16-year-old character. With her youthful looks and acting skills, she nearly convinced us she was a teen. So, next time you feel like you're aging too quickly, remember Bianca – the woman who seemingly discovered the fountain of youth.

3. Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in "Spider-Man" (2002)

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A radioactive spider can apparently do a lot to a man, but making a 27-year-old Tobey Maguire pass for a high schooler wasn't one of them. Peter Parker is a high school nerd in the comics, but Maguire was nearly a decade out of high school during filming. Though he did a great job playing the web-slinger, we couldn't help but notice the age discrepancy between him and his character.

4. Rachel McAdams as Regina George in "Mean Girls" (2004)

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Rachel McAdams was 26 when she donned the pink shirt and became the ultimate mean girl, Regina George. To be fair, Regina did seem more worldly and cunning than your average high schooler. Perhaps being a few years older than the typical high school age helped McAdams convey that sense of seasoned viciousness with so much aplomb.

5. Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in "The Vampire Diaries " (2009-2017)

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Ok, technically Ian Somerhalder's character, Damon Salvatore, was hundreds of years old, but he still pretended to be a high schooler. Somerhalder was 30 when he first donned his leather jacket, throwing smoldering looks left and right in Mystic Falls High School. His vampire charm worked on the young folks around him, and honestly, on us too.

6. Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman in "Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990-2000)

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Playing the brainy Andrea Zuckerman, Gabrielle Carteris was already 29 when she first stepped into the halls of West Beverly High. With her character's wisdom beyond her years and a pair of oversized glasses, Carteris' age discrepancy somehow worked in her favor, if only to make us believe Andrea was the wisest of them all.

7. Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle in "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets" (2002)

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Now for the quirkiest entry on our list. Moaning Myrtle might have been a ghostly schoolgirl in the Harry Potter series, but in real life, Shirley Henderson was a 37-year-old woman while portraying the character. It seems being a ghost stops your biological clock, and we just have to suspend disbelief. Not that it bothered us much – Henderson's performance was hauntingly perfect.

8. Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale in "Catch Me If You Can" (2002)

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While the real Frank Abagnale started his incredible escapade of cons as a teenager, 28-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio was hired to portray him. Don't get me wrong, Leo gave us a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase to remember, but playing a high schooler? Not so believable. The charisma? Off the charts. The high school boyishness? A smidge harder to swallow.

9. Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer " (1997-1999)

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Cordelia Chase was the quintessential high school queen bee in Sunnydale High School, played by none other than Charisma Carpenter. Despite the character's youthful demeanor, Carpenter was 27 years old when she first graced the hellmouth. She gave us a riveting performance, even if she was a decade older than her character. But hey, in a world of vampires and demons, who's counting years?

10. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future" (1985)

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Michael J. Fox was 24 when he took on the role of high-schooler Marty McFly, time-traveling in a Delorean to save his parents' relationship. Fox's boyish charm and energetic performance helped to sell him as a teenager, but once you know his actual age, it's a little harder to look past it. Still, his portrayal was "heavy", in a good, 80s sort of way.

11. Paul Rudd as Josh in "Clueless" (1995)

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Before he was the forever young-looking Ant-Man, Paul Rudd was 26 playing 18-year-old Josh in "Clueless". Cher might've fallen for her ex-stepbrother's charm, but we couldn't overlook the fact that Rudd looked more like a young professional than a high school student. But then again, who could resist that age-defying charisma? Not Cher, and certainly not us.

12. Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite in "Napoleon Dynamite" (2004)

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Jon Heder was 26 when he brought the quirky, llama-loving Napoleon Dynamite to life. Playing a socially awkward 16-year-old, Heder was indeed "older, wiser" than his character. We'll always remember him for the legendary "Vote for Pedro" dance. Maybe that's how he was able to throw off those dance moves with such gusto.

13. Stacey Dash as Dionne in "Clueless" (1995)

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Another Clueless alum, Stacey Dash, was 28 while playing Dionne, the 16-year-old high school bestie of Cher. Dash seamlessly slipped into the role of a Beverly Hills teen, making us forget that she was well past her high school years. It's no easy task to be part of the fashionable, quick-witted duo at nearly 30, but Dash did it with aplomb.

14. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012)

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And lastly, another Spider-Man! Andrew Garfield was 28 when he played Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man". Garfield's older appearance, compared to the traditionally teen-aged Peter Parker, made the high school scenes a bit harder to buy into. But we can't deny he gave a compelling performance as the web-slinging superhero.