An Old Face for a Young Character

Often times, an older actors can be cast in the role of a younger character, and this could cause more problems than previously thought.



When age appropriate are cast, they seem to appear younger than they are suppose to.


large amount of popular, modern TV shows and movies are based in a high school environment, but the entertainment industry is causing major problems among the youth. Many teenagers are heavily influenced by shows set in this environment because of how much they can relate to it, but often times these characters are actually much older and experienced than they are in the show. The truth is, older actors have been playing teenagers on TV for years. Strict child labor laws are sometimes at fault, but having older actors playing younger characters can have detrimental effects on the minds of young children and teenagers.

Barry Pearl was 27 when he played 16-year-old Sonny in “Grease,” Stacey Dash was 28 when she played 16-year-old Dionne in “Clueless” and most recently 30-year-old Ashleigh Murray plays 16-year-old Josie on “Riverdale.” These are only a few examples. The main problem with the age difference stems from the perfect complexion and already developed appearances that come with an aged actor can cause body dysmorphia in teenagers. These “teenage” characters create the illusion of more mature bodies and behaviors that are to be expected of young viewers. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) can be defined as a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance. BDD affects about one in 50 people and can be diagnosed in children as young as twelve years old. This is detrimental to their development and easily preventable by casting the correct actors for roles.

“There are so many young and passionate actors who fit certain roles better than more experienced actors but are simply not given opportunities,” freshman Claire Myers said.

The most recent example of controversy comes from Disney Channel. In early December 2018, Disney released the trailer for the live-action “Kim Possible” movie. This trailer sparked controversy amongst older teens and young adults who grew up with the cartoon, many stating the actors portraying Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable look too young to portray the high school aged characters. However in the animated series, the characters were high school freshman in the first season and Sadie Stanley, who plays Possible, is sixteen. The problem is that this controversy is justified because viewers have grown up devouring media that has portrayed teenagers much older than they actually are. This creates problems when actors who are younger take roles intended for their actual age. The controversy that occurs from this can lead to cyber-bullying of young actors. By placing appropriately aged actors in roles, we are helping eliminate the stigma that revolves around growing up as a teenager and giving a voice to younger actors.