UnderAgeCasting Under-Age Casting YKTTW Discussion

Under-Age Casting
When the actor/actress who is cast to play a character is actually too young to be that character
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(permanent link) added: 2012-05-30 20:48:36 sponsor: normal (last reply: 2012-07-09 15:55:00)

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You know how sometimes you're watching a show and you think, "Hey, isn't that person too young to be a doctor?" This is an example of under-aged casting, and it happens when an actor or actress is not actually old enough to be their character, for instance, when a twenty-three-year-old actor plays a character with a PHD.

This happens most frequently to characters who are doctors, lawyers, or some other profession that requires a lot of schooling, and actresses tend to be cast in older roles more often than actors.

This can cause Playing Gertrude if the character has a teenage or adult child. However, it can also result from Playing Gertrude if the actor or actress portraying the parent is physically too young to have bore the child in question (i.e. a character played by a forty-year-old actress having a thirty-year-old daughter).

This trope is subverted when the character has actually skipped grades in Canon. It is not simply the opposite of Dawson Casting, because it doesn't only require that the actor is younger than the character. The actor must be too young to be the character.



  • Olivia Wilde was twenty-three when she started as Thirteen on House, M.D.. Doctors typically graduate from medical school at twenty-six. Similarly, Jesse Spencer and Charlyne Yi were both cast at twenty-five and Odette Annable was twenty-six (her character had previously worked in a prison and thus, was clearly not right out of medical school).
    • Interestingly, Amber Tamblyn, who was cast as Teen Genius, Martha Masters, at twenty-seven, is an example of Dawson Casting.
  • When she was cast on Law & Order, Jill Hennessy was twenty-four. The minimum age at which a normal person can graduate from law school is twenty-five.
  • Gillian Anderson was cast as Dana Scully on The X-Files at twenty-four. The character in question had not only graduated from medical school, but worked a year at the FBI afterward. However, this trope is still possibly subverted due to the fact that she lied about her age to get the part.
  • On Miami Vice, Helena Bonham-Carter was twenty when she played a doctor who was supposed to be about thirty. At the time, she looked like she was twelve.
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