17 Actors Who Played Parts That Were Wildly Different Ages Back To Back


Age really is but a number.

Now, we all know actors tend to play characters a *bit* out of their age range.

This can look a little odd, but I always find it especially funny when an actor plays a character of one age, then turns around and plays a character way younger or older.

Here are some of my favorite examples!


Bianca Lawson played a high schooler in Pretty Little Liars the same year she played a high school guidance counselor in Teen Wolf.

Freeform / MTV

Bianca’s character Maya died in 2012 on Pretty Little Liars, while her fully adult character on Teen Wolf was introduced that same year.


Jennifer Lawrence played 17-year-old Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II the same year she played thirtysomething mother Joy in Joy.

Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection, Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

A classic case that shows how Hollywood loves to cast adults as teenagers and also twentysomethings as middle-aged moms.


Andrew Garfield played the single dad of what looked to be at least an 8-year-old in 99 Homes the same year he played teenage Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Broad Green Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing / courtesy Everett Collection

Let’s be real, did anyone buy Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as recent high school grads in that movie?


Shirley Henderson played the 12-year-old Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films while playing Bridget Jones’ thritysomething best friend in the Bridget Jones’ Diary series.

Warner Bros. / Miramax / courtesy Everett Collection

^Same woman, same time period.


Anne Hathaway played the teenage Ella in Ella Enchanted, then the next year played Lureen in Brokeback Mountain for the duration of the decades-long story.

Miramax / Focus Films / courtesy Everett Collection

Lureen was already probably almost a decade older than Ella, and then she became even older throughout the film.


Samuel L. Jackson played 40-year-old Ken Carter in Coach Carter just a year before playing aging musician Lazarus Redd in Black Snake Moan.

Paramount / Paramount Classics / courtesy Everett Collection

I don’t believe they say Ken’s age in the film, but the real Ken Carter was 40 during the events of the film.


Gwyneth Paltrow played a kid in Hook, a college student two years later in Malice, and then the same-aged wife as 31-year-old Brad Pitt two years after that in Se7en.

TriStar Pictures / New Line Cinema / courtesy Everett Collection

I guess you can go from a kid to 31 in just four years! Who knew?


Amy Poehler played a college-aged RA in Undeclared just two years before playing the mother of a teenager in Mean Girls.

Fox / Paramount Pictures

A real busy 2 years, I see.


Paul Rudd played a teenage camp counselor in Wet Hot American Summer, then the thirtysomething Mike on Friends a year later.


According to the show’s wiki, Mike was born in 1966, meaning he was 36 when he met Phoebe.


Gabrielle Union played teenage Isis in Bring It On the same year she played a doctor on City of Angels.

Steven Bochco Productions / Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

Unless I’m mistaken, to go through med school and a residency and become an actual doctor, you’re probably at least 30, right?


Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a teenager in Havoc and Brick the same year he played a crime kingpin’s private doctor in Shadowboxer.

Focus Features/ Teton Films / courtesy Everett Collection

Lots of teenagers-turned-doctors here.


Emma Roberts played a high schooler in Nerve just one year before playing a public defense lawyer in Who We Are Now.

FilmRise / Niko Tavernise / Summit Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection

Again, I feel like you’ve got to be in your late 20s to be a lawyer. I also want to point out that Emma played a teenager for 12 years — from 2004, when she starred in Unfabulous, to 2016, when she starred in Nerve.


Sally Fields played the young housewife/love interest of Tom Hanks’ character in Punchline, then 6 years later played Tom Hanks’ mother in Forrest Gump into old age.

Columbia Pictures / Paramount Pictures

I still find this one so weird.


Speaking of Forrest Gump — Tom Hanks played a widowed father in Sleepless in Seattle, a veteran baseball player/manager in A League of Their Own, and a senior law associate in Philadelphia, all about a year before playing Forrest as a high school student.

TriStar Pictures, Paramount Pictures

Ah, another example of a single-dad-of-an-8-year-old-turned-high-schooler. It wasn’t so weird when Forrest got older, but I still think they should’ve used another actor for high school/college Forrest.


Stacey Dash played Luther’s wife on St. Elsewhere seven years before playing a teenager in Clueless.

NBC / Paramount Television / courtesy Everett Collection

If you count the Clueless TV show, Stacey continued playing a teenager a good 11 years after St. Elsewhere, in which she played an adult.


Harry Shum Jr. played a 30-year-old in Single by 30 just one year after finishing playing the teenage Mike on Glee.

YouTube Red / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

To be fair, Harry’s character Mike was probably closer to 20 when Glee ended, but still.


And finally, Stockard Channing played teenager Rizzo in Grease just one year before playing stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil in her twenties and early thirties in the TV film Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story.

Paramount Pictures / CBS

Funnily enough, Stockard was actually still playing younger than her age in The Kitty O’Neil Story — she was 35 at the time.

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