How 11 Actors Who Played Older Characters Actually Aged
Actors often have to play roles that are out of their age range. To make them look younger, makeup artists may be inspired by old photographs of themselves at a younger age; but to age them, that’s another story. In those cases, the characterization is done based on how they might age, and it may not be how they will age later in real life, as that process depends on many factors.
Bright Side compiled stills of movies in which actors were aged to play their characters and compared them with current pictures of them at that age to see how accurate the characterization was.
1. Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Despite how wonderfully preserved and handsome he is, the actor is already in his sixties. In the film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you can see a journey through the life of a character that ages backward. By the end of the movie, he’s a baby. In the image on the left, we can see how Pitt was aged in the movie to represent approximately the age he is today.
2. Halle Berry as Zola Taylor in Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)
In the movie, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, the actress played a woman named Zola Taylor, who was in her early fifties. At the time, she was in her early thirties. It is only now, more than 20 years later, that the actress has reached the same age as her character, and it is worth noting that she still looks as spectacular as ever.
3. Christopher Lloyd as Emmett “Doc” Brown in Back to the Future (1985)
When Christopher Lloyd began playing the peculiar Doc Brown for the Back to the Future saga, the actor was in his mid-forties, while his character was a septuagenarian scientist with somewhat hilarious ideas. It is to this day, almost 4 decades later and at over 80 years old, that the actor really looks as he was characterized to get into the skin of that character.
4. Eddie Murphy as the barber in Coming to America (1988)
When the movie, Coming to America, was released, a thirty-something Eddie Murphy surprised us by playing multiple roles with different traits and ages. One of them was a barber who, although we don’t know his exact age, looked quite old. However, we can say that nowadays, with his sixties already completed, far is the Murphy that still makes us laugh from that aged version we were shown in the movie.
5. Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Jane Parker in Back to the Future II (1989)
Her extravagant hairstyle aside, the aging job that the Back to the Future II makeup team did on Elisabeth Shue was spot on. At the time, the actress was in her mid-twenties, and the goal of this makeup was to make her look around 50. But now, the actress is in her fifties, and we can see that she looks just as she had been characterized more than 30 years ago.
6. Ian McKellen as Magneto in X-Men (2000)
When Ian McKellen played Magneto for the first time, he was in his sixties, but the production needed both him and Patrick Stewart, in the role of Professor Charles Xavier, to look even more “mature.” If we look closely at the images of that time and compare them with today, 2 decades later, it gives the feeling that both actors have been preserved for the last 20 years as they look in the film.
7. Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines McFly in Back to the Future II (1989)
At only 23 years old, she was characterized to look 40 during her interpretation of the futuristic version of the mother of the protagonist of Back to the Future II. Giving her that look involved makeup sessions lasting more than 3 hours. Today, the actress is well into her sixties and looks considerably better than she did, even in a younger version, 3 decades ago.
8. Daniel Day-Lewis as the former president, Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln (2012)
It should be noted that this role, unlike all the others, is based on real events, so the characterization sought to make the actor look similar to the person he played. Beyond that, their ages were not so far apart at the time of filming, although it is indisputable that the actor is much better preserved than the politician. Nowadays, the actor has even surpassed the age of his character without looking as old as he did.
9. Hugh Grant as a hotel clerk in Cloud Atlas (2012)
The 6 characters played by Hugh Grant during this film are all villains or people lacking good intentions. One of them is a hotel worker, whose name is unknown, that at first glance we can estimate to be between fifty-something and sixty-something years old, just like Hugh Grant currently is in real life.
10. Embeth Davidtz as Portia Charney in Bicentennial Man (1999)
In this film, the actress plays dual roles, both grandmother and granddaughter, developing a generational leap, meaning she gets a lot of screen time, and the skill to “live” for 2 centuries in which the story takes place. Throughout the film, we can see her aging, even as a very old woman on the verge of death. In these 2 images we have selected, their ages would be approximately similar.
11. Crispin Glover as George McFly in Back to the Future (1985)
When this film was shot, in which the actor played the role of a family man in his fifties, he was actually in his early twenties. The really curious thing is that he played the father of the protagonist who was even younger than him, by almost 3 years to be exact. Glover was born in April 1964, while his fictional son, Michael J. Fox, was born in June 1961.
Which young performer would you like to see characterized in their old age? Do you remember any other actor or actress who has played a much older character?