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How using actors/actresses with different ages than their characters affect the audience

Analyze the effects of hiring actors to play roles as much younger characters. Look at different examples of this in shows (like the Vampire Diaries where high school students are played by actors in their 20’s and 30’s) and in film. Explain the success of films and shows that have done this and films and shows that have not. Also explain why films and shows might choose to do this and whether or not it benefits, hurts, or has no effect on the audience.

  • Even though this has nothing to do with either TV or The Vampire Diaries, your topic made me think of a good example of what you're talking about. One of my favorite (if not my favorite) film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet is the 1968 version, which became notable partly because of the age of its leads as you mention. Actual teenagers played the tragic duo for once. Maybe that's because the 60s were the era of the teenager, where the youth were trying to make their voices heard. It was also controversial at the time because it contained nudity, by depicting Romeo and Juliet's wedding night (the idea that minors are having sex at all tends to make people squirm). Romeo and Juliet may be teenagers on paper, but to make their onscreen versions teenagers as well and have them be intimate with each other was a pretty progressive move for the time. – aprosaicpintofpisces 5 years ago
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  • Reading this, one thought that immediately came to mind was A Series of Unfortunate Events. The movie used older children to play Klaus and Violet, whereas the Netflix version uses children more age appropriate. Personally, I find the Netflix one more effective; as awful as it is to see terrible things happen to anyone, it's harder watching it happen to younger children. That also makes me think of The Hunger Games, and how much more chilling it may have been to see the protagonists be played by someone of the appropriate age. I'm not sure if that impacted the popularity of the film - maybe it was purposely meant to make The Hunger Games less disturbing. That will be one difficulty; unless it's something like a Series of Unfortunate Events with two versions that give you the opportunity to compare stats on popularity, it's a bit hard to gauge the impact of age-appropriate actors on audiences. However, this is a very intriguing topic! I would love to see someone pull it off. – Laura Jones 5 years ago
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