So I was watching Pump Up the Volume the other night with The Chap (it’s a classic movie – shuttup) and ruminating on how in the hell Christian Slater ever, ever passed for a high school teenager (he clearly didn’t) and thoughts turned to the many, many actors who have been called upon to shave decades off their actual lives for parts in films.
Here’s my pick.
Christian Slater in Pump up the Volume (1990)
As Happy Harry Hard-on (Mark Hunter), Slater was 21, playing a 17-year-old. Although his evident chest hair betrays his age, he is, surprisingly enough, the youngest of our teenage impersonators.
Luke Perry, Jason Priestly et al in Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000)
Luke Perry was 24 when he was playing a barely legal teenager. Sure he was supposed to be a bit darker and moodier and older than the rest of them (Jason Priestly, 21, playing a 17yo) I loved them both nonetheless until I saw a movie Perry was in where he played a crazy rapist and my childhood dreams were shattered, even though I loved Priestly more.
Taylor Kitsch in Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
Boy did this TV series not push al my available buttons. Kitsch, playing an 18 year old Tim “hell yeah” Riggins, was actually 28 at the time. Just even knowing this without googling it made me feel less of a pervert when I watched the series and oggled him. Of course he was 28 for god’s sake. I almost forgave him for playing a teenager until I went to see Battleship and I had to file that under “bad decisions I have made”.
We Have A Winner
Rizzo in Grease (1978)
Stockard Channing, who was everyone’s favourite in Grease, was 32 playing an 18 year old. Props lady! Would any Hollywood director employ a 30-something woman to play a teenager these days? Hell no. When they reach 35 they’ve got to play mothers with grown-up sons and shit. SO nice work Channing, even though we did not believe you for a second.
Let’s not even talk about fucking Dawson’s Creek (compounded by the characters’ neverending irritating ruminations on life, the world, everything, Jee-sus), The Fonz (Henry Winkler) in Happy Days (which looking back is kinda creepy) and Michael J Fox in Back to the Future which only worked (ish) because he was short.
I’d google Glee except I can’t be arsed. I reckon they’re a few years past it though, just quietly….