Watching high-school dramas as an impressionable adolescent wasn’t about entertainment for me, they were a guidebook into the fascinating world of teenage drama. I blame Hollywood for tricking me into believing that when I reach the sweet age of sixteen, I’d be romancing the very hot captain of the basketball team, dealing with mean girls and singing in the hallways. If you must know, none of this came true. Years later, I now know why my classmates and I didn’t look like the ripped, breakout-free students of Riverdale High. It probably has something to do with the fact that the actors playing these teens are well into their 20s. Here are 10 other instances of actors playing characters way younger than their real age:
1. Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie, Bridgerton
Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie who play Penelope Featherington/ Lady Whistledown and Eloise Bridgerton in the hit Netflix show are 35 and 32 while their characters are supposed to be 17.
2. Darren Barnet, Never Have I Ever
The very hot Darren Barnet plays the high school junior Paxton Hall-Yoshida in the Netflix series Never Have I Ever, but IRL he’s actually 30 which makes him 10 years older than his co-star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
3. Shirley Henderson, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Remember 14-year-old Moaning Myrtle? She was played by Shirley Henderson who was 37 at the time of filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and 40 when she reprised the role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yup, you read that right.
4. Jason Earles, Hannah Montana
If you thought that Rico owning a booming business in middle school was unrealistic, wait till you hear this. Jason Earles who plays Miley Cyrus’ 16-year-old brother Jackson was 29 at the time and reached his mid-thirties when the show ended.
5. Stacey Dash, Clueless
Stacey Dash played Cher’s 16-year-old high school best friend Dionne Davenport in Clueless although she was 28 at the time, making her the oldest member of the main cast.
6. Rachel McAdams, Mean Girls
Another 16-year-old character played by a much older actor is none other than the OG mean girl Regina George with Rachel McAdams being 26 while filming the movie. Now that’s so fetch!
7. Ncuti Gatwa, Sex Education
Actor Ncuti Gatwa who plays the fabulous 17 years old Eric in Sex Education is 29 years old IRL.
8. Monique Coleman, High School Musical
Monique Coleman was 27 when she played 16-year-old Taylor McKessie in High School Musical while her co-stars Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron were both 18 when filming.
9. Keiko Agena, Gilmore Girls
16-year-old Lane from Gilmore Girls was played by Keiko Agena who was 27 at the time. Tbh, she looked younger than her co-actors Alexis Bledel who was 19 when the show premiered.
13. Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility
With her natural youthful glow, Emma Thompson convincingly played a 19-year-old in Sense and Sensibility when she was actually 36.