Celebrities who fell victim to implausible age gaps with co-stars on screen

Celebrities who fell victim to implausible age gaps with co-stars on screen

Tom Hanks re-enacts famous Forrest Gump scene

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Johnston, 77, stars opposite the 61-year-old actor in the new three-part Jimmy McGovern prison drama Time. But in 1992 she played Bean’s partner in the Oxford-based crime series, Inspector Morse. “That’s what happens to actresses in the theatre or TV business,” she says. “Men stay the same and women get to be mothers.” Casting director Allison Estrin, who has worked on films like Pitch Perfect and Lovelace, says part of the reason women are cast as mothers so young is because there are just more mother parts than father parts.

“Women definitely do get cast younger as moms, even in their early 20s,” she said. “I find men usually don’t start getting cast as dads until at least mid-30s.

“There are the actresses early on who know they’re going to be the character actress, and they kind of age into that. And then there are the young, beautiful ingenues, and I do find that they start doing the botox and plastic surgery.”

But Estrin believes it is starting to change, especially as more women get behind the camera and into positions of power in Hollywood.

“As women are finding their voices right now and becoming stronger and stronger, this is the exact sort of thing that they’re fighting against,” she added. “We’re in a really great time for women to be standing up and saying no to roles [that] don’t feel age-appropriate to them.”

But history shows that beauty and Oscar-winning talent are not enough to save actresses from the casting age gap. We examine some other crazy mother and son pairings: 

One year age gap: Angelina Jolie, 45 and Colin Farrell, 44, in Alexander

The Oliver Stone epic was a critical and financial failure and perhaps it had something to do with its ridiculous casting of Jolie and Farrell as mother and son, even though they are only 11 months apart in age. They were also rumoured to be dating at the time. The film – which also featured Farrell’s hideous blond wig — cast Jolie as his mother, whereas Alexander’s father was Val Kilmer who was 16 years older. 

Six year age gap: Winona Ryder, 49, and Zachary Quinto, 43, Star Trek

Winona Ryder may appear ageless, but it still stretched credulity when she appeared on screen next to Zachary Quinto as Spock in Star Trek as mother and son. Ryder was just five years older than him at the time and made the Star Trek reboot somewhat difficult to take seriously.

Eight year age gap: Bryce Dallas Howard, 39, and Taron Egerton, 31, Rocketman

Bryce used her own mum as inspiration in the film when she played Elton John’s mother from his childhood right up to adulthood. “The makeup artist came over one day to do tests on me with the prosthetics and we needed to age me until 70,” Howard said. “We felt that it didn’t quite look right and my mom Cheryl walked in, and she came and stood next to me and we were like, ‘Wait a second, we need to make me look like her [Cheryl]!’

“She’s 65 and she hasn’t messed with her face at all or anything, so it’s what I’m going to look like when I’m 65,” Howard said.

Ten year age gap: Sally Field, 74, and Tom Hanks, 64, in Forrest Gump

In 1994, Sally Field played Tom Hanks’ mum in the award-winning film Forrest Gump. Field, who is only 10 years older than Hanks, had played his love interest in the comedy Punchline only six years before when they were cast as a pair of wannabe stand up comics who start a relationship.

Eleven year age gap: Melissa Leo, 60, and Mark Whalberg, 49 in The Fighter

Director David O. Russell approached Melissa Leo to play the actor’s mother in The Fighter, despite the fact that she’s only 11 years older than her screen-son. “I said, ‘Aren’t I too young to play [the] mother?’” recalled Leo, who nevertheless committed to the role. “If the actor believes it themselves,” she said, “they can make you believe it.” She certainly convinced the Academy Awards judges, scooping the Best Supporting Actress gong for the 2010 blockbuster.

Eleven year age gap: Toni Collette, 48 and Paul Dano, 36 in Little Miss Sunshine

Dano played the silent 15-year-old son in Little Miss Sunshine, a feelgood road trip film about a dysfunctional family. He might not speak many lines but it was clear when the film came out in 2006 that Dano was actually 22 years old, and his screen-mum, Australian actress, Toni Collette, was only 33.

Twelve year age gap: Nicole Kidman, 53, and Jason Mamoa, 41, Aquaman 2

When it was announced that Nicole Kidman had joined the cast of Aquaman as the lead character’s mother there were raised eyebrows about her age. The Big Little Lies star and Emmy winner was cast as Jason Momoa’s mother in the 2018 film. But she was only 12 years older than Momoa and, what is more, exactly the same age as the actor’s wife, Lisa Bonet, formerly married to Lenny Kravitz.

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