Age Lift

In the process of adapting a work many things don't translate very well into a different medium. An Age Lift is when the age of the character in question is changed or glossed over for the sake of the story. The idea is that the discrepancy between character and actor is much smaller, and in some cases the exact age is not that important to the character. In some cases this can simply be a case of the creators avoiding the embarrassing issue of a less than wholesome relationship...

Basically a Pragmatic Adaptation to take into account factors such as child labour laws and how demanding a role may be for a younger actor. The two most common forms of this appear to be aging pre-teen characters to teenagers so twenty-somethings can feasibly play them and aging thirty-something parents by about a decade to counter the potential Values Dissonance relating to young parents.

Compare Dawson Casting, which leaves the age of the character the same but casts an older actor for the part anyway.

Contrast Playing Gertrude, Hollywood Old, Younger Than They Look, and Under Age Casting. Three-Month-Old Newborn is a meta subtrope that results from the logistical issues of using actual newborns to play young babies.


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  • Often, dubbed, Americanized versions of Japanese anime will have characters aged up if said characters engage in violent or sexy behavior that may be considered inappropriate for their original, Japanese-given ages. Also, if a young anime character seems unrealistically precocious in some area or other, they may be aged up as well to make their accomplishments seem more believable.
    • Extremely prevailent in translations of Hentai, where high-school age characters are reset to 18 or 19, due to different age-of-consent laws.
  • The character of Nobue in Strawberry Marshmallow is aged up from sixteen years old in the manga to twenty in the anime. This isn't done to match a particular actor, but because Nobue is a habitual smoker and drinker and they couldn't show her doing that on TV if she was underage.
  • The anime adaptation of Aku no Hana changes the characters from middle school students to high school kids, possibly due to the violent and psychosexual nature of the story, not to mention the animation is rotoscoped.
  • Mamoru Chiba a.k.a. Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon is 17 in the manga and 21 in the 1990s anime. This actually means the romance between he and Usagi - whose age is 14 in both - is toned down perhaps due to the larger age gap. In the anime Usagi and Mamoru's relationship comes across to some viewers like college student allowing a teen girl who has a crush on him to say he's her boyfriend to keep her happy, whereas in the manga there is little doubt in the romance.
  • In the Wonder Momo webcomic, Momoko's love interest Natsuhiko is clearly somewhere between 23 and 25. In the anime, he's changed into a high school contemporary of Momoko's. His personality also changes, going from cocksure adult to insecure teenager.
  • The anime adaptation of Sazae-san lowered the age of most of the family. Sazae was 27 in the manga, now 24 in the anime.
  • Zelda in the original game is the same age as Link, roughly the age of Zelda in OOT. Zelda in one of the manga based off said game is a teenager and an Action Girl. Link is also older than he should be, being Zelda's older half-brother, but looks younger than Zelda due to being part elf.
  • Red from Pokémon Red and Blue is eleven. Most adaptations, for example Ash from Pokémon, pin their Red counterpart at ten when they begin their journey.
    • Serena from Pokémon X and Y has no official age but seems to be around 16 to 19. In the anime she's Ash's age. She's noticeably taller than Clemont in the games but is around the same height as him in the anime.
    • Tate and Liza seem older in the anime than they did in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
  • Variable Geo: In the Advanced V.G. series, Yuka and Satomi's official ages are 18 and 17 years old respectively. But, for reasons unknown, the OVA adaptation makes both of them a year younger.


    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: Shinji, Asuka, Rei, Kaworu, and Mari are 18 or older as opposed to 14. This also affects their characterization too, and is how the story differentiates from its source material. They drink, drive, have sex lives (or develop one), and are generally more worldly and independent than their teen counterparts.
  • Happens frequently in fanfiction, when teenage characters are made old enough to legally consent to have sex with each other (or the writer's Original Character). or do other things that 15/16 year-olds couldn't conceivably do. Sometimes the excuse is that it's five years later.

  • In the 2015 adaptation of Cornelia Funke's Ghosthunter series, the professional ghost hunter Hedwig, a grey-haired Cool Old Lady is played by Anke Engelke, who was born in 1965. The character in the movie seems to be intended to look rather younger than the actor than the other way round.
  • The title character of Hamlet is a role that this often happens with. Laurence Olivier was 41 when he played Hamlet in 1948, Richard Burton was 40 in 1964, Innokenti Smoktunovsky was 39 in the same year, Derek Jacobi was 42 in 1980 (2 years older than his uncle Claudius!), Kevin Kline was 43 in 1990. Mel Gibson (34 in 1990) and Kenneth Branagh (36 in 1996) are almost in the right age group, considering that there are a couple of lines in the play itself that place Hamlet's age near 30. Nicol Williamson was the youngest notable actor to play the role in a film of the production (at 33, in the 1969 film); Iain Glen is the youngest person to play Hamlet in a major motion picture, essaying the role in the film version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at age 28, making him one of the few professional actors to be younger than the character.
    • This gets even better when one considers a curious theory that Hamlet is really 16 years old.
  • Patrick Stewart has famously played Hamlet's evil uncle Claudius twice on film: First in 1980 at age 40 and then again in 2008 at age 68. Hell, his Hamlet from 1980 went on to play Claudius himself in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet in 1996, over a decade before Stewart reprised the role with no mentions of his age.
  • The age of one of Shakespeare's other great tragic leading men, Macbeth, varies wildly depending on the aim of the production. In the 2006 Australian film version, he is a young man (30-year-old Sam Worthington), because he is portrayed to be a hotshot young drug lord; this age is not unusual in most film (and some stage) productions, which cast Macbeth in his early-mid thirties. However, in the recent stage production that moved from London to Broadway in 2008, he is an older man (68-year-old Patrick Stewart), because the point of the production was to star Patrick Stewart he is portrayed to be an aging general with a much younger trophy wife; Macbeth is rarely ever played by an actor of Stewart's age because it means the "old" King Duncan needs to be aged up even further. note 
  • Richard III is another example. In various productions, he's been played by 47-year-old Basil Rathbone, 48-year-old Laurence Olivier, 51-year-old Vincent Price, 46-year-old Peter Cooknote , 56-year-old Ian McKellen, and also 56-year-old Al Pacino. It should be noted that Richard was only 33 when he died at the battle of Bosworth Field, and only five years older than his usurper, Henry VII, who, unlike Richard, is usually played by a reasonably young actor.
  • Ang Lee's 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is full of this trope. Colonel Brandon, who was supposed to be 35 or 36, was played by 49 year old Alan Rickman. The 19-year old-Elinor Dashwood was played by 35-year-old Emma Thompson, and 17-year-old Marianne Dashwood was played by 20-year-old Kate Winslet. However, the movie implies that the Dashwood sisters are in their late and early 20s, respectively and that Colonel Brandon is an older world-weary gent that we would associate with someone nearing 50. Lee and (scriptwriter) Emma Thompson made a conscious decision to age Elinor up to at least her mid-twenties, because they didn't think the audience would accept a 19-year-old worrying about being left on the shelf.
  • In the film adaptation of the James Patterson novel Along Came a Spider, Alex Cross is played by Morgan Freeman. Cross is implied by the text to be in his forties or early fifties, and Freeman was sixty at the time. It's even more jarring that his love interest is played by the then thirty year old Monica Potter.
  • Roberto Benigni playing the title role in his film version of Pinocchio, at the age of 50.
  • In the BBC film versions of The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, actor Matt Smith plays street kid Jim, who is 11 in the first book and 16 in the second, as a man in his late teens/early twenties. Which could cause problems if they ever get around to filming the fourth book, The Tin Princess.
  • In Forbidden Zone, all the children are played by adults. The most egregious example being Flash Hercules, who is played by a 70 years old man!!
  • In The Adventures of Robin Hood, the 48-year-old Claude Rains is cast as Prince John — who was historically 26 at the time of his brother Richard's imprisonment. Most fictionalizations of Robin Hood's story push John up to middle age.
  • This probably has to do more with legal compliance than artistic reason, but no matter what actress is playing her, the character of Lolita always starts the movie at age 14 or 15 rather than 12, which she is at the beginning of the book.
  • In the film version of Logan's Run, the mandatory death age was increased to 30 (compared to the book's 21) for this reason. The book's notion that sexual activity becomes legal— and practically encouraged— at the age of 14 probably doesn't help.
    • 14? The book makes clear that there's no age of sexual consent: as soon as a citizen leaves the creche, anything goes. Logan is approached by a girl of twelve who assures him that she's sexually "skilled beyond all others", and later meets a woman who complains that her last lover, a boy of eleven, couldn't satisfy her: "I'm fifteen, and a woman needs a man."
  • In the book of Interview with the Vampire, Claudia has the physical appearance of a five-year-old. In the movie, Claudia is played by Kirsten Dunst, who was twelve upon the movie's release. Aside from narrowing down the Squick factor, this avoids the practical impossibility of a five-year-old actress playing a believable adult character.
    • In the same film, Armand, a cherubic seventeen-year-old in the book, is aged up to his mid thirties and played by Antonio Banderas, apparently to avoid the Squick inherent in having two of the main character's three pseudo-love-interests be underage.
  • Dune: None of the actors who've played Paul, Leto II and Ghanima Atreides, or Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen have been under 20. Of course, since Paul and Feyd-Rautha were 15 during Dune itself and Leto II and Ghanima were 8 this is understandable. Generally, Paul and Feyd's ages are not mentioned in the adaptations, which makes this arguably a case of All There in the Manual and Dawson Casting, but for the SyFy version of Children of Dune, Leto and Ghanima's ages were upped to around 18. The 1984 adaptation of Dune also has the 4 year old Alia played by the 9 year old (at time of release) Alicia Witt.
  • In Picnic William Holden considered himself too old (he was 37) to play Hal Carter, supposedly of the same generation as The Chick played by Kim Novak (22).
  • One of the biggest criticisms of the James Bond movie A View to a Kill was that Roger Moore was still playing Bond at age 57 (he was 45 he was first cast as Bond in Live and Let Die). Sean Connery himself said "Bond should be played by an actor 35, 33 years old. I'm too old. Roger's too old, too!". Even when he was first cast, Moore violated the canon of Ian Fleming's novels, which established that Bond faced mandatory retirement at age 45 (meaning Pierce Brosnan was technically too old for the role for most of his time as Bond, too).
  • Turned on its head in Skyfall where one of the main themes of the movie is how Bond (played by the 44 year old Daniel Craig) is getting too old to keep working in the field.
  • Most of the main cast of Percy Jackson and the Olympians was aged up from their preteens. Most notorious in Annabeth's case - sure, they aged her up from twelve to sixteen, but that didn't stop Alexandria Daddario from being in her early twenties.
  • Inverted in The Godfather. Marlon Brando (age 47) played the title character Vito Corleone (who ages from 55 to 65 over the course of the film). All his children except Talia Shire also fit him under Playing Gertrude too.
  • Inverted in The Godfather, Part III, Al Pacino (50) played Michael Corleone (59) — this may seem like a small jump, but Pacino was made up to look like he'd aged a lot, with greyed hair and so on.
  • Inverted in Superman Returns: 22 year old Kate Bosworth played Lois Lane in a movie that was supposed to take place five years after Superman II in which Lois was already years into her career and was played by the then 30 year old Margot Kidder.
  • In the 1995 film of Richard III, Maggie Smith plays the Duchess of York, mother to Richard III, Edward IV and the Duke of Clarence. Smith was 61 at the time the film was made. Ian McKellen, who played Richard, was 56; John Wood, who played Edward, was four years older than her at 65; and Nigel Hawthorne, who played Clarence, was sixty-six. To be fair, Maggie Smith has been playing older women for most of her career.
  • The grandpa of all slasher flicks Blood Feast, the character of Fuad Ramses is referred to several times as an "old man" even though the actor playing him was all of 30 years old. Thus, Fuad had some rather unconvincing gray streaks spray-painted into his hair.
  • The musical 9 is about a filmmaker experiencing a mid-life crisis as he turns forty. For the film version, his age was upped to fifty to match Daniel Day-Lewis (52 in 2009, when the film was released).
  • In every film and television version of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff and Cathy are played by the adult actors during the scene where they eavesdrop on the Lintons, making giggling comments. In the novel they are children at this time, explaining their childish behavior. Catherine is only 19 when she dies. Heathcliff was 20, and he was 16 when he ran away. No adaptation has even gotten close to the correct ages.
  • Watchmen has multiple examples, which are justified as the characters also appear in flashbacks set at least 20 years prior, and it's easier to add age with makeup than it is to subtract it: Carla Gugino as Sally/Silk Spectre I and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian (she was 37, he was 42, both play characters that ranges from the 20s in flashbacks to the late 60s in 1985), Malin Akerman as Laurie/Silk Spectre II (29 during filming, ranges from 17 to 37 - and the two actors mentioned prior are her on-screen parents), and Matthew Goode as Ozymandias (29 at the time of filming, playing a 46-year-old - in flashbacks, 27). Also, canonically Jon Osterman was 30 when he "died" (and became Dr. Manhattan, who essentially doesn't age), but his actor, Billy Crudup, was 39. In the original comic, the Comedian was 16 at the time of WWII while Silk Spectre was 19. In the film, they were aged up to their 20s since neither of the actors could pass for teens.
  • The Star Wars prequels end up causing this to Darth Vader, who died at the age of 46 - but his unmasked and (original) Force Ghost actor in Return of the Jedi, Sebastian Shaw, was 78.
  • In the book of A Clockwork Orange, the band of droogies were adolescents of 15. When Kubrick chose Malcolm Macdowell for the role of Alex, all were aged up accordingly. Echoes of the book occur when Alex is depicted as school age and when (years later) Dim describes himself and his partner as "of job age" in the scene where they torture Alex.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In the original 1940s Captain America comics, Bucky Barnes was Cap's Kid Sidekick. While modern retcons eventually established that the "Kid Sidekick" thing was a cover, to hide the fact that Bucky was a very young-looking teenager (15 in the beginning and a legal adult at 18 by the time of his "death," something the army would often look the other way about in those days) who doubled as a wetworks operative, the filmmakers behind Captain America: The First Avenger decided to give him an additional bump up to his mid-to-late 20s. The second film gives his year of birth as 1916 or 1917 (the props don't agree), which actually makes him older than Cap, whose birth year is given as 1918 in the script.
    • In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer is depicted as a middle-aged man and played by Sam Rockwell. This is in sharp contrast to the comics, where Hammer is an old man with an adult granddaughter.
    • Ant-Man has two major cases. In the comics, Hank Pym is roughly the same age as his contemporary heroes like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, but in the film, he's portrayed by 70-year-old Michael Douglas. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have Darren Cross, who is a middle-aged businessman with an adult son in the comics, but in the film is played by 38-year-old Corey Stoll.
    • The MCU in general when it comes to Nick Fury and Black Widow. In the comics, both of them were around during World War 2, but are Older Than They Look thanks to some Applied Phlebotinum. The movies indicate they're roughly the same age as their actors, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier explicitly giving Black Widow's birth date as 1984.
    • Spider-Man's alter ego, Peter Parker, and Jessica Jones were in high school together in the comics. It's been revealed that MCU!Peter will still be in high school when he starts his career and makes his MCU debut and Jessica Jones has Jessica already out of high school.
      • Related to this, Marisa Tomei, who's currently just '50, is in talks to play the usually 70+ (in the classic comics) Aunt May.
    • In the original Guardians of the Galaxy comics, Yondu is a hero in his prime, but in addition to being pirate, the movie version portrays him as a grumpy old man.
    • Steve Rogers' year of birth in the comics is usually circa 1922, Depending on the Writer, making him about 20 years old at the start of WWII and 23 by the time he's frozen. The movies push it back to 1918, so that he's about 24 at the start of the film and 26 or 27 by the end.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Though it seems odd, the film adaptations change the ages accidentally with Lily and James Potter. Looking at the flashback clips, the moving pictures, and the images in the Mirror of Erised, Lily and James appear to have been in their 30s or 40s when they had Harry. It could make sense, since their ages weren't revealed until the seventh book, six years after the first movie had been made. Though the film versions of Harry's parents look quite middle-aged, the book version of Harry's parents were only 20 when they had Harry and 21 when they died. Then again, the whole film timeline seems to be shifted compared to the books - all the dates on the headstones remain the same (including Lily's and James'), but things that didn't exist when the books were set (such as the Millennium Bridge and Oyster card readers) appear, suggesting that Lily and James' generation were all born at the same time as in the books, but just took longer to have kids.
    • Severus Snape is the same age as Harry's parents would have been, so 31 at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Alan Rickman plays Professor Snape in the movies, and was 55 when the first movie premiered in 2001.
    • Several other minor age lifts. Cho Chang is a year older than Harry in the books. A line from Hermione in the fifth film implies she is in the same year as them. Romilda Vane was also two years below Harry and Katie Bell one year ahead, but the two are in his year also in the sixth film.
    • Actually, many of the adults fit in this category. In the books, all the contemporaries of Lily and James Potter — including Sirius, Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and Snape — should all be in their thirties when the story is taking place, but all of them are played by actors at least in their forties, and as mentioned above, Alan Rickman was 64 when filming ended, despite his character dying at age 38. Again, the only way to make sense of this is to assume the movie aged Lily and James to 30 when they had Harry, allowing everyone else to age as well.
  • Fittingly Shakespeare in Love has a few examples. Shakespeare himself is actually played by an actor the right age (28 year old Joseph Fiennes) and Geoffrey Rush was only slightly older than the real life Philip Henslowe but Rupert Everett was a decade too old to play the then 29 year old Christopher Marlowe and Richard Burbage who was only 25 in 1593 was played by a then 37 year old Martin Clunes.
  • The original The Millennium Trilogy adaptations from Sweden have both Michael Nyqvist (48) and Noomi Rapace (29) six years older than their characters, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (in comparison, the remake started its shoot with Daniel Craig 42 like Blomkvist, and Rooney Mara only two years older than Salander).
  • In the book of Tuck Everlasting, Winnie is eleven. To both fit the Dawson Casting of Alexis Bledel and lessen the weirdness of her romance with forever 17 year old Tuck, she is aged up to 15 in the movie.
  • The 1979 film Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline cast Audrey Hepburn in a leading role. Hepburn was in her 50s, but the character was written as being in her 30s. Hepburn looked great, but could never pass for someone in her 30s, so not only did an age lift occur in the film, Sheldon went back and revised his own novel for new editions, raising the character's age to match that of the film.
  • In Ghost Rider we meet childhood sweethearts Johnny Blaze and Roxanne Simpson. Fast-forward to them as adult actors and we get Eva Mendes (33 at the time) being romanced by the 43-year-old (and looking older) Nicolas Cage. Although to be fair, it's not entirely clear if this is an Age Lift for Cage or Hollywood Old for Mendes.
  • In the novel of Beaches, the friends Cee Cee and Bertie meet at the respective ages of ten and seven, and first reunite in their teens. The movie changes things so both are eleven when they first meet, then reunite when they're in their twenties. This was likely due to not wanting to cast separate actresses for the girls' teenage years, the fact that Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey couldn't play that young, and probably to have less of an age difference between the two characters.
  • In Lincoln, we have the inverse of real life: Abraham Lincoln was 9 years older than his wife Mary, but Mary's portrayer Sally Field is nine years older than Daniel Day-Lewis (who upon release, was only one year younger than Lincoln when he died), who manages to look older than her due to the make-up.
  • King Louis XIII never made it past the age of 42, yet in the 1948 adaptation of The Three Musketeers, he is played by 58-year-old Frank Morgan.
  • In all the Superman movies, Superman's alien father Jor-El is played by middle-aged actors (Marlon Brando, Russell Crowe) with graying or silver hair. In the Superman comics, Jor-El was a young man who looked exactly like Superman when Krypton blew up (after all, Kal-El was a baby when his father died).
  • The Addams Family movies feature Wednesday as a young teenager or tween, as opposed to the TV show in which she was a little girl.
  • The 2010 The Karate Kid remake ages the main characters down from 17-18 year-olds to preteens.
  • Snow White is 7 years old in the original fairytale. Most film adaptations age her up to around 16 at the youngest.
  • In The Devil's Arithmetic book, Hannah is twelve. In the film she is aged up to around seventeen (she is old enough to drive and get a tattoo). Rivka is ten in the books but is aged up to around fourteen or fifteen.
  • The Pevensie Children in The Chronicles of Narnia are a bit older in the Walden Media films than they were in the books. Peter is around 12-14 but William Moseley was 16 when the first film was made. Caspian in the books is said to be the same age as Peter so the second film ages him up too. The age differences are notable in all of the actors since only a year has passed between the first and second films, but they were filmed three years apart.
  • Mary Poppins never reveals her age but is portrayed as an elderly woman in the books. In Mary Poppins (1964) she is played by the 25-year-old Julie Andrews.
  • Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is around seven or eight years old in the book. Judy Garland was seventeen when she played her in The Wizard of Oz (Barry Norman's book The Hollywood Greats says Dorothy was meant to be twelve in the film). Return to Oz has Dorothy at the age she was in the books.
  • Enders Game had to change the ages of most of the main characters to be more in their early teens. This is probably because one of the major problems with prior attempts to film the book was that a large portion of the cast is made up of children, and in addition to getting a sufficient number of good child actors the ones that were cast would keep growing up before it could enter production. It also probably didn't help that there was quite a bit of violence among the children in the book, at least two of whom were (unknowingly) murdered by Ender.
  • The character of Robin as originated by Dick Grayson always has the origin of his parents being killed during a circus act when he was a pre-teen, not too different than with his adopted father Bruce Wayne. Batman Forever cast 25 year old Chris O'Donnell in the role and Bruce comments that his superhero name should be "Dick Grayson, College Student" and that is as far as they get to identifying his age. It has the side effect of conflating his history and personality as both Robin and Nightwing, being pragmatic for a film adaptation.
  • In the Queen of the Damned film, the character of David Talbot, the Superior General of the Talamasca Caste, a paranormal research society, is played by the (then) 42-year-old Paul McGann. However, in the novel, he is in his 80s and is nearing the end of his long and full life. Ditto for Jessie Reeves, played by Marguerite Moreau (24 at the time), who is supposed to be 35 in the novel, although this can also fit under Hollywood Old.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang had Robert Downey, Jr. (born 1965) and Michelle Monaghan (born 1976) play characters who had known each other as kids, with his character having a crush on hers. Robert Downey, Jr is a handsome man but he looks his age so the apparent age gap was Handwaved by showing he had had a hard life as a petty thief in the years since and also have Monaghan play slightly older than her real life age.
  • The Crucible is based on true events, but the affair between Abigail Williams and John Proctor was not one of them. In real life Abigal was 11 and John was in his 60s.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
    • Typically, Superman and Batman have been portrayed as being roughly the same age, give or take a couple of years. In this version, though, Batman is the hardened veteran who is roughly a decade older than Superman (Clark will be 35 in this film; Bruce is described as being in his mid-40's). Doubly so, given Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was cited as an influence, as this Batman is in his 40s, not 50s.
    • The decision to cast Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor has already raised a few eyebrows among comic book fans. Though Luthor is a middle-aged businessman in the comics and in every other adaptation that isn't a prequel, Eisenberg is just thirty years old, and he's primarily known for playing college-aged characters.
  • Jonas, Fiona, Asher, and their classmates were eleven going on twelve in The Giver (the "graduation to adulthood" ceremony is called the Ceremony of Twelve), but have been aged up to sixteen for the movie.
  • Adaptations of A Christmas Carol often do this with Ebenezer Scrooge in order to empathise that this is his Last Chance to become a good man, casting him as a geriatric grumpy old man, while an close read of the book puts him at most in the mid-to-late fifties (his nephew, who Scrooge is distant to because he reminds him to much of his beloved sister who died young, possibly in child-birth, is in his mid-twenties). He is also stated to be spry enough to live long enough to become "almost an second father to Tiny Tim".
  • Inverted with Ronno in the Bambi midquel film. In the novel, Ronno is implied to be several years older than Bambi. In the film, he is the same age as Bambi.
  • Into the Woods:
    • Due to casting Meryl Streep, the Witch is older than she was in most versions of the stage show. Notably in the stage show, the character is usually played by an actress in make-up to make her appear older - and when she transforms into her beautiful self the actress just removes the make-up. Streep meanwhile commented that it took more make-up for her to appear younger.
    • A partial example. Although Jack and Red Riding Hood are children in the story, they're usually played by teenagers or young adults acting like children. Here they're played by actual children.
  • Rapunzel is quite young in her original fairy tale, possibly fourteen-sixteen. Tangled states she is eighteen.
  • The real Pocahontas was in her pre-teens when she met John Smith, her lover in the film. The Disney film ages her up to sixteen.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • Headmistress Ellen Kirova is described as a grey-haired woman in the books. Making her at least middle-aged. In the film, Kirova is played by 35-year-old Olga Kurylenko.
    • A minor case in the role of teacher Sonya Karp. According to her appearance in the Bloodlines series, Sonya is still in her late 20s. She is played by 30-year-old Claire Foy.
    • Victor Dashkov is in his forties in the novels. In the film, he is played by 64-year-old Gabriel Byrne. Possibly justified, since Victor is supposed to be Younger Than He Looks.
    • Queen Tatiana Ivashkov is said to be in her early 60s in the books. In the film, she is played by 49-year-old Joely Richardson.
  • Blade does this to both the title character and Deacon Frost. Blade's year of birth was shifted from 1929 (hence being older than he looks) to 1967 and Stephen Dorff was cast as Deacon Frost, causing the character to have a younger appearance than the white-haired old man in the comics.
  • Bizarrely, the actresses selected to play Spider-Man's Aunt May seem to be getting younger with every new film reboot. In Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002, May was played a 75-year-old Rosemary Harris—matching the character's portrayal in the comics, where she's consistently been in her mid-70's. For Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, the casting department selected a 66-year-old Sally Fieldwho could easily pass for a much younger woman, thanks to her dark hair. And the actress currently in negotiations to play May in Marvel Studios' upcoming reboot? Marisa Tomei, who's currently just 50.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Animorphs book series, the characters age from 13 in book 1 to 16 in book 54. In the short-lived TV series, though, the characters start out as 15- and 16-year-olds (played by actors as old as 25). In all fairness, as part of the series' conceit that it was secret accounts of a guerilla war, the characters deliberately obscured their ages; that they were 13 in the beginning wasn't revealed until the second-to-last book, and the show was canceled long before then. There is some evidence to their age long before the last book. Tobias describes Jake as a "typical middle school kid" in an early book, which means the Animorphs must be between the ages of 11 and 14.
  • In the The Southern Vampire Mysteries, the character of Pam is stated to have been nineteen when she was turned into a vampire. The producers of the TV adaptation True Blood cast the fortysomething actress Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam and gave her the backstory of being a madam of a brothel, an occupation traditionally for an older woman.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Virtually all the child characters in the HBO adaptation have been aged up by 2-3 years (at least). For instance, in the book series, Robb Stark and Jon Snow are fourteen and Daenerys Targaryen is thirteen at the start of the series. The characters are aged up to about 17 and the backstory timeline is edited accordingly. Part of this is probably to accommodate older actors who could handle the dramatic heavy lifting. Part of it is also because the intense sex and violence in the book would be much more disturbing (and in the case of Daenerys, likely illegal) if portrayed by actors who look closer to the book ages. Even still, most of the teens are played by actors who (start out as) early twenties (the aforementioned three were all 23 the year Season 1 was filmed). This doesn't quite work for Bran, as Isaac Hempstead-Wright was 11-12 at the time of filming, playing a ten-year-old. But as about two years pass in the story, about three passed in real life and Isaac very obviously hit puberty on the way, with his voice deepening considerably around Season 3. Mitigated somewhat by Isaac's slight build and the fact that he spends a large portion of the series being carried around by the massive Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor.
    • Also, more time has passed in the show since the start of the story. In the books it's only been about a year and a half while the show is pretty close to the four years that have passed in reality since it started.
    • The adult characters have, if anything, gotten it worse. Nobody would ever believe that the greying Robert and weathered Eddard in Season 1 are only 38 (Given the already established 3 year age up); Jaime and Cersei Lannister are stated to be 40 in Season 4 (32 at that point in the books), while Tywin is said to be 67 (57 at that point in the books), and Ian Gelder (early 60s) plays his younger brother Kevan (early 50s in the books); meanwhile, Olenna Tyrell is in her late 70s at the youngest (Early-70s in the books). About the only adults that could be believable as being their original age plus three are Theon (22) and Renly (24). This might also explain the removal of Jaehaerys II (Mad King Aerys' father), as Aerys was only 39 when he died in the books and the writers need him to be much older (he's a couple years younger than Tywin, a fact crucial to the backstory) while keeping Aegon V roughly the same age (Maester Aemon is still 100, so it stands to reason that his brother wouldn't be much younger) - Aerys and Rhaella are thus Aegon V's younger children, rather than his grandchildren as they were in the books.
    • In the books, Missandei is ten years old, while in the show she's an adult (to allow for a romance subtplot with Grey Worm... and more Fanservice, of course).
    • Sandor Clegane (The Hound) is five years younger than Gregor Clegane (The Mountain), who in the books is estimated at 34 years. His actor, Rory McCann, is 46, so the series version is certainly older. However, all the actors who played Gregor are younger than McCann (19 years in the current one's case!).
  • In the definitive adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, Megan Follows, who was seventeen at the time, played an Anne Shirley who was advanced in-text from eleven to thirteen years old. Not, perhaps, a vast difference (Follows is still effective in the role), but the scatterbrained, temperamental, and openly imaginative character seems exaggerated when she's aged up.
  • In the 1930s film of Anne of Green Gables starring Anne Shirley - the actress who took the character's name for her own - she is stated to be fourteen.
  • Deadwood is only Very Loosely Based on a True Story, so a lot about the real-life characters are rewritten. For exaple, Al Swearengen was a just-married 31 years-old man from Iowa in 1876, while the TV character is a single, globe-trotting Englishman in his 60s.
  • Jesse Stone is in his mid-thirties in the novel series, while in the TV movies he's played by Tom Selleck, who's in his 60s. Despite this Robert B. Parker himself approved and said Selleck nailed the role.
  • On The Twilight Zone, Anthony from "It's A Good Life" was aged up from three years old to six, as a toddler couldn't have been relied on to act a part or been given any lines.
  • The girls in The Worst Witch books were around eleven or twelve but appear to be around sixteen by the third season of the TV series. So notable that the fourth season was changed to a college setting because it would have no longer be believable that Mildred would still be at school.
    • Miss Drill was also a strict older woman like the rest of the teachers in the books. In the TV series she is a much younger woman. This is addressed in-universe as Miss Drill is frequently at odds with the traditional older teachers.
  • In Sherlock, Professor James Moriarty, the elderly, doddering math teacher, becomes the young, suave, snappy-dressing career criminal Jim Moriarty. Tellingly, where the literary Moriarty assumed the cover identity of a university professor to keep his reputation clean, the series' version does the same thing by crafting a cover identity as a television actor.
  • Salem: Massively done with John Alden. The real man was born in 1626/1627, which would make him around 66 years old at the time of the witch trials, while in the show he's played by Shane West, a man in his 30s.
  • TRON: Legacy has Garrett Hedlund playing Sam Flynn, who is two years older than himself (as Sam was supposedly born one year after the original TRON, and Hedlund is actually two years younger; also, despite the 2010 release\setting, filming occurred one year prior). Surprisingly, his co-star Olivia Wilde is only a few months older, despite playing a program who's supposedly 20 years old.
  • Gotham has some characters from Batman universe that are older then comic book version.
    • While the Penguin is generally depicted as older than Batman, he is now apparently around Gordon's age, which makes the age difference somewhat larger.
    • Bullock is a little older than Gordon is. He looks the same age as his comics counterpart who reports to an older Commissioner Gordon. Likewise, Sarah Essen is older than Gordon, as opposed to being younger than him.
    • Riddler, Renee Montonya, Crispus Allen, and Harvey Dent are now apparently around Gordon's age, while usually they are closer to Batman's age.
    • Carmine Falcone is already quite old at this point. He is played by 70-year-old John Doman, and in his first appearance, he mentions being good friends with Gordon's father. In the comics, he is around this age by the time Batman arrives.
    • Bruce Wayne is 12 instead of 8 when his parents die; Selina Kyle (the future Catwoman) is maybe a couple years older). Given they're regular characters with a lot of heavy dramatic material to carry, it was probably necessary to tell the story as intended here.
    • One of few characters to go the other way is Leslie Thompkins - her actress Morena Baccarin was 35 when she started the role and is only about 8 months younger than Ben Mc Kenzie (James Gordon), while in the comics she's depicted as a contemporary of Alfred Pennyworth (played by 50-year-old Sean Pertwee) and old friend of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Pennyworth himself is a case of Vague Age concerning his age relative to Bruce Wayne's, but as a whole averts this trope.
  • Once Upon a Time does this with a few fairy tale and Disney characters.
    • Ariel was sixteen in her film. Here she is at least late twenties-early thirties.
    • Snow White (as noted above) is seven in the original tale and fourteen in the Disney film. She's in her twenties.
    • Peter Pan is eternally five or six in the novel (he's said to still have his baby teeth). His actor Robbie Kaye was seventeen at the time of filming. What's more is that he's really a man in his (physical) 40s de-aged by magic.
    • Red Riding Hood is often written as a preteen. Here she is around 18-21
    • Cinderella's Fairy Godmother is portrayed as an elderly woman in the Disney film. Her brief appearance has her significantly younger.
    • The Mad Hatter is often portrayed as an elderly man. Here he's in his 20s.
    • The Wizard of Oz is an older man too but is played by a younger actor.
    • Although a minor character, the Good Witch of the North is an older woman. She's played by a young actress.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • has Donnie Gill, an adult in the comics, depicted as an 18-year-old S.H.I.E.L.D. cadet.
    • There's Eric Koenig and his "brothers". In the comics, Koenig is a veteran of World War 2 and would have to at least be in his 80's, while in the show, he and his brothers are played by 46-year-old Patton Oswalt.
  • Daredevil has the Owl, who is usually middle-aged in the comics, played by Bob Gunton, who is 70. However, the fact that Leland Owsley is mentioned to have a son named Lee (who'd probably be the right age), and that he never becomes the Owl before his death strongly suggests this to actually be a case of Decomposite Character in play.
  • Jessica Jones: As noted above in "Film", the title character and Peter Parker were in high school together when the latter started his career as Spider-Man, but the series will see Jessica already out of high school and the plan for MCU!Spidey is for him to still be in high school and just starting out.
  • Supergirl (2015): Kara is usually in her teens when she is Supergirl (which is the point of the name not being Superwoman), but on the show she starts out at the age of 24.
  • The premise of Younger is essentially giving Liza an In-Universe Age Lift, de-aging her with the help of fashion and Internet scrubbing in order to make her appear age-appropriate for her new career.
  • Shadowhunters:
    • Clary Fray turned 16 2/3rds of the way through City of Bones, here she starts off the series celebrating her 18th birthday.
    • Jace Wayland and Simon Lightwood were both 17 in the book, but are in their early twenties in the show.


    Web Video 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre is a Setting Update of Jane Eyre. Lots of changes in characters' ages were done; mostly because the production team of the webseries were recent graduates when they started, and some of them were friends from school, which means they are more or less the same age.
    • Jane Eyre was 18 in the novel; here she's 21 and a college graduate with a degree in nursing. Her actress is 24.
    • Grace Poole is a Composite Character, combining weird and mysterious Grace Poole with caring and friendly Mrs Fairfax. She's significantly younger than both women of the book, especially Mrs Fairfax who was probably in her fifties or sixties. It shouldn't hurt the story, though, except that the audience could cringe that there are no old people.
    • Mr Rochester is thirty-sh. He is younger than his book equivalent who was in his mid-to-late thirties. The age gap between him and Jane was important for the story; it's smaller here, but it still applies.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Setting Update of Pride and Prejudice. Several changes regarding ages were employed, mostly to set some characters in graduate school or avoid unfortunate implications or plot holes. Some characters were still teenagers in the book. In the modern day States, a twenty-something is seducing or abusing a fifteen-year-old girl? Call the police and arrest that pervert.
    • Lydia Bennet turned 21 in the web series. In the book, she was 15.
    • Gigi Darcy is in her early twenties. Miss Darcy was 16 in the novel.
    • Elizabeth Bennet was 20, and it was lifted to 24 with Lizzie.
    • Charlotte Lucas was 27 in the book; Charlotte Lu is 24 as Lizzie: they are best friends ever and go together to graduate school.
    • Jane Bennet was 23 in the novel; here she's still the eldest sister, so she's obviously older. The writers have stated she's 'around thirty'.

    Video Games 
  • Lyn was 15 (at the start of) the original Japanese version of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword. The localized version aged her up to 18 for some reason, despite her acting basically the same age as her co-leads Hector and Eliwood (about 17, following the 1-year Time Skip and a vague number of time during gameplay).
  • In the original Japanese version of Sweet Fuse At Your Side, Saki is 17 years old and Wakasa is 15. Since Sweet Fuse is a Romance Game and Saki's other prospective love interests range in age from 22 to 32, the English localization by Aksys Games nudges her age up to 18 and Wakasa's to 17.
  • Bravely Default Flying Fairy: Releases outside of Japan aged up the protagonists from 15-16 year olds to 18. This is mainly due to the more Stripperific outfits the girls get to wear (some of which were also toned down a little), and the game's very dark themes - particularly a rather infamous side-quest that very closely resembles a date-rape plot, which one of your female party members has to fall victim to in order to progress.
  • Puzzle Quest:Challenge of the Warlords: Princess Seraphine, introduced as the player is to escort her to her Arranged Marriage, is 16 in the original PC version. She's 18 in the subsequent console and portable ports.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's original age was 16, Amy was just 8 years old, and Knuckles was 15. When Sonic Adventure was released Sonic became 15, Amy became 12 and Knuckles became 16.
  • In the original Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Lumina is a fourteen year old girl with a Precocious Crush on the protagonist. In Another Wonderful Life, where you play as a woman, she was made into a rival for Rock, who is in his twenties. Lumina was upped to sixteen in Japan, eighteen internationally, and that has been her starting age in every game she's appeared in since.
  • The Batman: Arkham Series version of Tim Drake is older than the comics version, being closer in age to Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon and in the Golden Ending of Batman: Arkham Knight, ends up marrying Barbara.

  • In Five Kids at Freddy's, one of the missing children is actually a teenager, in order to make storytelling easier with a Minimalist Cast.
  • The Lithuanian translation of Homestuck changes the ages of the main heroes from 13 to 16, explaining it by the fact that it began precisely three years after the original.

     Western Animation 
  • A variation with Aishling in The Secret of Kells. The character is based on a genre of Irish poetry where a spirit representing Ireland itself appears, taking the form of an older woman. However instead of a wise older woman, Aishling is a mischievous little girl.
  • Caillou is bald because in the original books he was meant to be a baby barely over 1 years old. The cartoon aged him up to 4 but kept his baldness.
  • In the original Inspector Gadget cartoon, Gadget's niece Penny was a young child. The new 2015 cartoon will make her a teenager.
  • Many, if not most, of the Teen Titans were adults during The New Teen Titans run but are ambiguously between thirteen and seventeen, depending on the character, in the cartoon.
  • X-Men: Evolution turns Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler into teenagers, and ages Beast to middle-age. It's a downplayed case for the first two since they were teens in the earliest comics.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) turns April into a teenager, who has always been somewhere in her early 20's in all other incarnations of the franchise. This applies to Casey Jones as well when he's introduced in the second season. This seems to have largely been done to have them the same age as the titular characters (while averting Artefact Title), which among other things makes their closeness a bit less unusual and (perhaps more prudently) the Ship Tease with Donatello and April more palatable.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man does with Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Rhino, Ka-Zar, and Vulture, making them Spidey's age rather than older. It also follows the Ultimate comics example of putting Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn in high school with Peter, too.

Alternative Title(s):

Adaptational Aging, Playing Hamlet