Monday, April 21, 2014

Acting Their Age

I've ranted before about book adaptations where teen characters are played actors in their twenties. After seeing the trailer for The Giver, staring twenty four year old Brenton Thwaites, I'm tempted to go at it again. But you've heard me already. Instead, I've decided to highlight some young people who act their age. This list consists entirely of movie adaptations, retelling, and remakes. If you want to know some other teen stars, go here.
1. Zachary Gordon

The Wimpy Kid movies aren't phenomenal by any means. They aren't meant to be. They're goofy and lighthearted. Best of all, they stare Zachary Gordon. Now sixteen, the first one was released when he was twelve, exactly the same age as Greg Heffley in the books. He's just as shrimpy and wimpy as the character he portrays.
Middle schoolers aren't featured in as many books as high schoolers. Probably because middle school is the armpit of life and no one wants to remember it.

2. Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort is nineteen, not currently a teenager, but he made this list because he's close in age to the characters he portrays. A lot closer than his costars. In Divergent, Ansel has a relatively small role as 16 year old Caleb, brother of 16 year old Tris. Shailene Woodley, who plays Tris, is 22. Theo James, age 28, plays her 18 year old love interest.
In The Fault in Our Stars, which will be released this June, Ansel and Shailene will once again costar as 16 year old lovers Augustus and Hazel.
Don't get me wrong, I love Shailene. To play Hazel she cut off her long hair and donated it. She could've simply worn a wig but she wanted to make a difference in the world. Now some lucky girl out there will get Shailene Woodley hair. Not to mention she stars in adaptations of books I love. I just wish she were a little younger.

3. Hailee Steinfeld

I was so happy to see Hailee Steinfeld-currently seventeen-portray Juliet in the 2013 adaptation of Shakespeare's most famous love story. Romeo and Juliet is about young love but Juliet often gets aged up. She's also Petra in Ender's Game. Petra's exact age isn't stated in the book, though she's implied to below twelve. All the characters are young children. Finding young actors who could portray Petra and the rest kept the book in Development Purgatory for several decades.
At fourteen, she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Mattie Ross in True Grit. Mattie's age? Fourteen. Perfect.

4. Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning is sixteen. Princess Aurora is sixteen in every folk version, movie, and ballet that I know of, along with most novelizations. Yeah, I have a slight Sleeping Beauty obsession. Brenton Thwaites is here again, this time as Prince Phillip. His age is never defined except that he's older than Aurora. I'll let this one slide.

5. Callan McAullife

You know him from Flipped and I Am Number Four. Like Ansel, he's nineteen, but his birthday was very recent. At fifteen he played eighth grader Bryce in Flipped. A year later he played Sam, a high school aged conspiracy theorist, in I Am Number Four

5 & 6. Willow Shields and Amandla Stenberg

Willow's a decade younger than Jennifer Lawerence, who plays her sixteen year old sister Katniss in the Hunger Games movies. Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, Gale and Peeta respectively, are also in their twenties. I couldn't have picked a more perfect Primrose. Now thirteen (Prim's age in the final book) she took on the role at eleven, giving her plenty of room to grow without losing the sweet, innocent look.
And while we're at it, who can forget Amandla Stenberg, who played twelve year old Rue at thirteen?

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