Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Unrealistic YA casting in movies and tv shows

My lovely blogger friend Nicole posted a link on facebook to this article asking if every YA action heroine must be petite. After participating in a little facebook discussion, it sent me on a little thinking tangent about how unrealistic most YA casting is.

My current casting pet peeve is Theo James as Four in Divergent.


I have nothing against Theo James. I loved him in Downton Abbey. My issue is that Theo is 29 playing an 18 year old. I'm sorry but there is no way he is passing for a teenager. Even Shailene Woodly is giving Theo the side eye about this.

Tv shows do it too. One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek, Smallville (noticing a WB trend here...) all cast people that do not look like actual teenagers.

Here's the One Tree Hill cast.


"We have so many "teenage" problems!"

Here's my senior year photo.

I would have fit right in One Tree right? Check out those braces.

I understand casting directors want to cast attractive people who have already gone through the awkward teenager phase but it's just glaringly unrealistic. This is why I love My So-Called Life so much.


An interesting tidbit is that Alicia Silverstone was up for the part of Angela but they gave it to Claire Danes because they thought Alicia was too pretty to have all of these teenage insecurities. I would have loved to look like either Alicia or Claire in high school by the way.

Let's take a look at some of the differences between One Tree Hill and My So-Called Life.

Things that happened on One Tree Hill:

Expensive weddings, going on tour, starting a fashion line, hanging out with Pete Wentz, living alone as a teenager in high school while your parents send you money.

Things that happened on My So-Called Life:

Friends growing apart in high school, crushing on the bad boy, crying over everything, rebelling against your parents, teenage alcoholism (done realistically) and general teenage social awkwardness.

Yes some of these things happened on One Tree Hill too but anything realistic was over shadowed by the over the top events that did happen and portrayed by actors who do not look like your typical teen.

I understand that One Tree Hill is a soap and reality is not the top priority here but the problem is there are too many shows like One Tree Hill and not enough like My So-Called Life.

Ok tangent/rant is done! It felt good to get that all out. Theo James I'm sorry you couldn't be on Downton Abbey longer.


  1. Ugh, this drives me INSANE. I mean, I get that they don't want to cast age appropriate people because it means shorter filming days, which means they have to spend more money to keep all the crew around. But casting Theo James as a seventeen year old is just insane. INSANE, I TELLS YOU.

    1. You bring up a good point that I actually forgot to mention. The shorter filming days! That was actually one reason why they were considering Alicia Silverstone for Angela because she was emancipated and could work longer hours while Claire Danes was 13 and so shorter filming days. They made it work though.

  2. One Tree Hill is probably my favorite example of this, but there are sadly countless others. Like you said, My So-Called Life is one of the rarities. I really do have a lot more respect for shows/movies that actually cast age appropriate actors for their roles.

    Degrassi did a pretty decent job of this, even though that show has tons of other issues. At least they got that part right.

    1. Dawson's Creek was pretty bad too. High school kids do not talk like that!

      I used to love Degrassi. I like that they cast actors that are age appropriate. Apparently the show is still going!

  3. My current favorite example is Tammin Sursok playing Jenna on Pretty Little Liars. She's 30 playing 16 and IN NO WORLD EVER does that girl pass off as 16. Not even remotely. And not even because she looks like she can devour your soul with her eyes.

  4. I agree!! I was upset with the casting of Theo James as well. (Although I adore Downton Abbey) There IS a very annoying habit in Hollywood to cast adults as teenagers. It's a bit creepy if you ask me. I have a daughter in middle school. I can tell you straight up, no one there looks anything even remotely like Theo James. They look more like Screech from Saved by the Bell....LOL