Movies & tv
30 Times Hollywood Didn't Make A Mistake When Picking An Actor To Play Young Versions Of Older Characters (Interview)
The actors look so similar, some of us are guilty of not even considering that the younger and older versions could be played by different people.
30 Times Hollywood Didn't Make A Mistake When Picking An Actor To Play Young Versions Of Older Characters (Interview)
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It’s no surprise that some celebrities look shockingly alike. Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly. Rupert Grint and Ed Sheeran. Daniel Radcliffe and Elijah Wood. However, it’s uncanny when we see almost perfectly identical younger versions of older actors appear on the screen.

It’s like they’re the same person, just, well, younger. In fact, some of the actors look so similar, some of us are guilty of not even thinking that the younger and older versions could be played by different people. For example, I personally thought that the kid and teenager versions of Sabrina from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina were played by the same actress. Turns out, I was wrong.

Hollywood expert and insider Mike Sington told Bored Panda that it's not at all difficult to find the 'perfect' young actor to play their older counterpart. "The reason? The pool of actors is just so large to cast from, even of child or teen actors. And the talent pool is worldwide now. Hollywood is more than willing to look beyond its own borders to find the perfect candidate," Mike explained. Scroll down for the rest of our interview with the expert who gave us a glance at how Hollywood casting works behind the scenes.

"I know of no instances where a production had any big problem finding a young act to play an older counterpart. It’s all about the 'look' first. Casting directors start there. The look has to be right for the audience to believe that this is the younger version of the character. Once you have that 'buy-in,' you’re mostly there. The young actor’s talent then becomes important for complete believability," Mike explained.

According to the Hollywood insider, Tinseltown almost exclusively focuses on finding people who have acting experience. Even in the case of young actors.

"It’s a rare situation to cast an inexperienced actor, and work with them during production. That would slow down the production, and of course 'time is money' which is especially true in Hollywood."

Mike added, "Most productions are working under tight budget and time constraints, and there is an unwillingness to work with new talent. An exception would be an actor that is so 'special,' the production would be willing to put in the extra time and effort to make it work. That would be a rare exception, however."

There are many possible reasons why younger and older actors look alike. Probably the most important thing is that they have similar facial features. Though that creates a huge challenge: you have to find not only someone who looks like the younger actor but also someone who’s a capable actor in their own right.

Other things that make actors look similar to one another are similar hairstyles and dressing them up in clothes of the same style.

What’s more, if young actors are taught to mimic the movements and speech patterns of their older counterparts, you might genuinely think that they’re one and the same (unless the age gap is really big, of course).

Hadley Freeman writes in The Guardian that there are some other reasons why celebrities tend to look very similar.

According to Freeman, older actresses were very similar because they either had the same plastic surgeon or had the same procedures done. What’s more, stars used to have the same high-profile stylists and makeup artists.

But those aren’t the only reasons. Celebrity publicists are very image-conscious when it comes to their stars. So they’ll ‘allow’ only certain looks that change over time with trends.

That’s not to say that this is necessarily a bad thing; however, that does mean that actors have less of a chance to stand out and be original.

Comments (30)
For 95% of the above, I have no idea who those people are nor the shows - lol
What about Ewan McGregor playing young Obi-Wan and Alec Guinness playing old Obi-Wan, in my opinion that's top tier casting.
McKenna Grace seems to be in a lot of them...I mean, she is really good!!!
Steve Cruz
The key seems to be casting children who look like mini versions of the adults. I've seen pictures of people as kids who look nothing like their adult self -- weight change, blond kids become brunet adults, undersized kids grow into towering adults.
Nia Mendez-Qian
On Criminal Minds when young Gideon was played by Ben Savage!
Yeah, danny devito and arnold schwarzenegger too
Wow! That was so cool! They looked so alike!
Tabitha L
I scrolled all the way through, looking for Lauren Graham/Chelsea Brummet. I thought Chelsea Brummet did a great job embodying the Lorelai character.
What's In Your Head?
What about Lynnie Greene as young Dorothy in Golden Girls? I could swear it was the same person. Not just the looks, but the hand gestures and everything are spot on.
chi-wei shen
I'm really curious to see photos of the older actors when they were the age of the younger ones playing their younger selves.
Viv Hart
I agree with MiniMaus, only knew about 4 of the older characters, none of the movies!
Stephanie Lobaugh
Hello?! Big, with Tom Hanks!!
Celtic Pirate Queen
It's always one of my pet peeves when they show the younger version of a character, and she has blue or light eyes, and suddenly they're chocolate brown as an adult. That's just lazy casting in my opinion.
Stephen Lyford
In Doctor Who, the real life niece of Karen Gillan (character Amy Pond) played her childhood self when the character was introduced.
Lisa Liel
The kids who played a young Kara and Alex in Supergirl were really good, too.
Marek Yanchurak
One that they got wrong that always bothered me was that they had Jessica Chastain instead of Emma Stone as the older Murph, paired with McKenzie Foy's younger version in Interstellar. As a corollary, for #28, It, Chapter II, Jessica Chastain (again) just doesn't look like Sophia Lillis. Idk, maybe I just don't like Jessica Chastain...
Katie Axon
Where's Ducky from NCIS? Adam Campbell, the guy who plays young Ducky, looks just like David McCallum looked when he was young.
Gerry Higgins
Mayim Bialik as the young Bette Midler in "Beaches"
I was looking to find River Phoenix as young Indiana Jones. I thought that that was really great casting!
Chris DiFonso
Gee whiz, in how many shows has Mckenna Grace been?
a bored panda :D
y'know, i think a lot of people could say what was GOOD instead of pointing out the tiny details that dont match up. its just KINDA hard to find people who look like each other AND are good actors, y'know
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Some of these ARE really good, but for another portion of them you're just wondering how they got on this list.
Netflix's Dark has amazing casting when it comes to this!
Mieke Sorée
What about the kid version of Matt Damon's character in Elysium?
Leo H
Sorry panda but natlie portman and kiera knightly dont look the same. Like wow take 2 white girls and drape them in red a star wars doesn't magically make them similar
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