The glaring age gaps between these film and television co-stars may have been glossed over in the past, but upon second glance, they’re just too hard to ignore. Whether it’s an uncomfortable romantic encounter between two characters who could be from separate generations, or a parent-child pairing that’s just implausible, these casting choices will leave you wondering, “Wait, what were they thinking?”
1. Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson (Lost In Translation) – 34 Years
Bill Murray: 51 Years Old
Scarlett Johansson: 17 Years Old
Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation is an award-winning film about two lost souls finding solace in each other’s company while in Tokyo, Japan. These two souls are played by a well-seasoned Bill Murray and a young Scarlett Johansson. With a 34-year age gap between the two, it’s a tad concerning to think that their characters were having romantic thoughts about one another in this movie.
It’s even crazier to think that Johansson was only 17 when the movie was released. Perhaps it’s for the best that we didn’t actually see anything untoward happen on screen. If only we could say the same about most of the other films on this list!
2. Liam Neeson & Olivia Wilde (Third Person) – 32 Years
Liam Neeson: 61 Years Old
Olivia Wilde: 29 Years Old
Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde star in this romantic drama as Michael and Anna, respectively, and their characters have a complicated yet passionate relationship. The film itself didn’t do especially well in the box office, and unfortunately it only received a critics’ score of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
But even if the film had won multiple Oscars, it would’ve still been hard to overlook that glaringly odd age gap between Neeson and Wilde. Considering he was over 60 when the movie was released, and she was still in her 20s, we couldn’t help but feel like their special bond was just a tad peculiar.
3. Sean Connery & Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment) – 39 Years
Sean Connery: 69 Years Old
Catherine Zeta-Jones: 30 Years Old
Entrapment is a fast-paced movie about an insurance agent named Virginia (played by the lovely Catherina Zeta-Jones) who sets out to catch master thief MacDougal (Sean Connery) while pretending to help him. The two embark on a duplicitous relationship with hints of romance, and the movie never seems to acknowledge the fact that he’s old enough to be her grandfather.
The former James Bond was nearly 70 when the film came out, and nearly 40 years older than the Oscar-winning Zeta-Jones! And yet despite her character’s real intentions, the movie wants us to invest in their potential courtship, something that we probably wouldn’t be encouraging in the real world.
4. Jack Nicholson & Amanda Peet (Something’s Gotta Give) – 35 Years
Jack Nicholson: 66 Years Old
Amanda Peet: 31 Years Old
Something’s Gotta Give is a little bit of a strange movie, because there are not one, but two cases of romances in which the partners have massive age gaps. In the film, Jack Nicholson and Amanda Peet have a relationship, while they’re actually 35 years apart in real life.
But two other characters, played by Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves, also have something simmering sweetly on screen, while they in turn are 19 years apart. In fact, the main plot of the movie centers around Nicholson and Keaton’s two characters, and whether or not they’ll start dating in spite of them both being romantically courted by their two respective youngsters.
5. Colin Firth & Emma Stone (Magic In The Moonlight) – 28 Years
Colin Firth: 53 Years Old
Emma Stone: 25 Years Old
Ah, there’s nothing quite as eye-popping as a film filled to the brim with magic and wonder — even if its two main love interests are nearly three decades apart from one another. Indeed, Colin Firth and Emma Stone, both respectable award-winning actors in their own right, have a will-they-won’t-they situation going on throughout the entire film.
This is all despite the fact that Stone was in her 20s, and Firth was old enough to be her father. They both play the role of talented magicians, and bond over magic in general, but watching their love evolve certainly felt a bit unusual as the film went on.
NEXT: You think these past age gaps were over-the-top? You haven’t seen anything yet!
6. Billy Bob Thornton & Scarlett Johansson (The Man Who Wasn’t There) – 30 Years
Billy Bob Thornton: 46 Years Old
Scarlett Johansson: 16 Years Old
The Man Who Wasn’t There is a moody Coen brothers noir flick shot in glossy black and white. Ironically, it was quite hard to see the gray area during one scene in particular. We watch as Birdy, played by a 16-year-old Scarlett Johansson, attempts to literally seduce Ed, the lead character, who’s played by a 46-year old Billy Bob Thornton.
The movie doesn’t actually specify her character’s age, but it was pretty clear to viewers how much older he looked than her. Considering their shocking 30-year age gap, they were right to have raised more than a couple eyebrows. And yet, we still haven’t scratched the surface with some of these surprising age gaps.
7. Jeff Bridges & Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart) – 28 Years
Jeff Bridges: 59 Years Old
Maggie Gyllenhaal: 31 Years Old
Seeing as Crazy Heart is a movie that did so well it received a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, clearly the filmmakers did something right. Maybe it was the music. Or maybe it was the outstanding performance of seasoned actor Jeff Bridges, who even won an Oscar for it.
Or perhaps the reason people loved this movie so much was due to the burgeoning romance between Bridges’ character and that of Maggie Gyllenhaal. While their chemistry on screen was undeniable, it’s a little unnerving to think that Bridges was 28 years old when Gyllenhaal was born. We’re not judging; we’re just wondering if their crazy hearts were really that into it.
8. Drew Barrymore & Tom Skerritt (Poison Ivy) – 42 Years
Tom Skerritt: 59 Years Old
Drew Barrymore: 17 Years Old
Drew Barrymore might’ve been a child star long before age 17, but that doesn’t change the fact that this movie’s events were quite inappropriate considering the circumstances. Just to give a quick recap, Barrymore portrays a young misfit teen out to wreak havoc on the lives of an innocent family — and her scheming takes things a bit too far.
Throughout all the chaos, she and the father of this family ended up getting quite intimate with one another. The main problem with this? Barrymore was 17 at the time of the film’s release, and Tom Skerritt, the actor who played the father, was 59. Yeah, let that one sink in for a bit.
9. Johnny Depp & Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) – 23 years
Johnny Deep: 48 Years Old
Amber Heard: 25 Years Old
Once upon a time, Johnny Depp and his now ex-wife Amber Heard met and fell in love in the most Hollywoodesque of circumstances — on the set of the movie The Rum Diary. Indeed, the co-stars’ affection for one another reflected quite accurately what was going on between their characters.
But while it didn’t seem weird on screen, that’s because Depp is blessed in that he generally looks a lot younger than he actually is. The truth is that he’s surprisingly 23 years older than Heard, as much as it doesn’t seem that way. It was also far from the only time Depp was a lot older than a female co-star.
10. Jim Carrey & Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man) – 18 Years
Jim Carrey: 46 Years Old
Zooey Deschanel: 28 Years Old
The concept of Yes Man is a fun one, certainly, and potentially even helpful to certain individuals. Jim Carrey stars as Carl, a depressed man who attends a self-help seminar and discovers the power of saying “yes” to everything in his life. These revelations ultimately lead him to meet Allison, played by the ever-quirky Zooey Deschanel.
He falls in love with her carefree attitude, and the pair embark on a loving relationship which is for the most part touching. However, when you really take a step back and consider the movie, it becomes quite clear how much older Carrey actually is than her.
NEXT: Are you sitting down? These age gaps will have you wonder what was going on in the actors’ heads.
11. Richard Gere & Winona Ryder (Autumn in New York) – 22 years
Richard Gere: 50 Years Old
Winona Ryder: 28 Years Old
Autumn in New York received a scathing 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — and one of the critics’ issues was what they perceived to be a lack of chemistry between Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. Both great actors in their own right, it’s not necessarily a knock on their prowess; perhaps it’s simply the fact that they were asked to do things that just didn’t feel right.
Let’s consider what actually happened in the film. Gere’s character Will is a 48-year-old womanizer who takes a special interest in Charlotte (Ryder), a 22-year-old girl who also happens to be terminally ill. They end up starting a real romance, even though they’re 22 years apart in real life. However, the weirdest part is that Will gets introduced to Charlotte through her grandmother!
12. Ben Kingsley & Mary-Kate Olsen (The Wackness) – 42 Years
Ben Kingsley: 64 Years Old
Mary-Kate Olsen: 22 Years Old
There are many shocking age gaps on this list, but some are certainly more incredible than others. When you look at this one, it’s practically impossible not to feel just a little bit weirded out. To a generation who grew up watching the Olsen twins shine in an endless string of happy-go-lucky teen rom-coms, this isn’t how we wanted to see Mary-Kate break off on her own.
In the film, Olsen stars as Union, a young deviant who finds herself kissing a grown therapist played by a 64-year-old Ben Kingsley. Technically it’s legal, but that doesn’t make it easy to grasp. For the cherry on top, Kingsley recalled that the kiss with Olsen was “quite wonderful.”
13. Michael Keaton & Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) – 31 Years
Michael Keaton: 63 Years Old
Andrea Riseborough: 32 Years Old
Many critics and fans alike considered Birdman to be a masterpiece for a handful of reasons. Michael Keaton is outstanding as Riggan Thomson, a Hollywood has-been who tries to resurrect his career with a bombastic Broadway production. Then, of course, there’s his girlfriend Laura, played by Andrea Riseborough.
The fact that he’s clearly decades older than her is pretty much left unexplained throughout the entirety of the film, but folks just chalk it up to the celebrity lifestyle. Nevertheless, regardless of where anyone stands in the arenas of morals and ethics, their 30-year age gap makes it a fine addition to this list.
14. Tom Selleck & Courteney Cox (Friends) – 19 Years
Tom Selleck: 49 Years Old
Courteney Cox: 30 Years Old
It should be noted that many of the entries on this list are well aware of their outstanding age gap. A great example of this is from the popular ’90s sitcom Friends, where Monica (Courteney Cox) and Richard (Tom Selleck) start a romantic relationship.
In fact, the primary reason behind their eventual breakup has to do with their age, considering Richard feels that he’s too old to be having more children, something that Monica very much wants. Nevertheless, as conscious as they are about their unconventional relationship, it doesn’t excuse them from this list. After all, Monica wasn’t just some deer in the headlights new in the city.
15. Trina McGee & Rider Strong (Boy Meets World) – 10 Years
Trina McGee: 28 Years Old
Rider Strong: 18 Years Old
Ah, Boy Meets World, a wholesome coming-of-age family sitcom if there ever was one. But although the series centered around the primary couple, Cory and Topanga, right now we’re going to talk about another relationship: Shawn and Angela, played by Rider Strong and Trina McGee, respectively.
We only first meet Angela in the later seasons, and it’s clear right away how much Shawn cares about her. Two high school students dating is perfectly fine, but the only problem was, she wasn’t a high school student. In real life, McGee was actually 28 years old, making her 10 years older than the 18-year-old Strong. The tables have turned!
NEXT: The age gaps between these stars aren’t only shocking because of how big they are — as we’ll learn very soon!
16. Shay Mitchell & Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars) – 9 Years
Shay Mitchell: 23 Years Old
Sasha Pieterse: 14 Years Old
Oh, did we forget to tell you? Not all the couples on this list are romantically involved. Some of the crazy age gaps are wild simply because they’re unexpected, such as the one between Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse from Pretty Little Liars. A show about deception and manipulation (as you might expect from the title), it became hugely popular, and the hype is still going strong.
However, some fans of the show might find it interesting that although they’re all supposed to be high school juniors, this is far from the case in real life. For example, Mitchell is actually nine years older than Pieterse, even though their characters are supposed to be the same age.
17. Daniel Radcliffe & Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter) – 24 Years
Daniel Radcliffe: 13 Years Old
Shirley Henderson: 37 Years Old
One doesn’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to be surprised that a 37-year-old woman pretended to be a teenager. Shirley Henderson plays the role of Moaning Myrtle in the Potterverse, the depressed teen ghost who lurks in the girls’ bathroom at Hogwarts. She and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) have a friendly relationship, but a certain scene in the fourth movie (Goblet Of Fire) raised a few eyebrows.
While Harry takes a bath in the prefects’ bathroom, Myrtle is all too excited to get close to the action, and even dives in the water! Yeah, she might be a ghost, so it’s slightly less bizarre (even as bizarre as that sounds) — but the woman playing her was 24 years older than Radcliffe, a young teen at the time.
18. Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis (That ’70s Show) – 5 Years
Ashton Kutcher: 20 Years Old
Mila Kunis: 15 Years Old
Here’s another case of high school characters projected to be the same age, when the reality was from the case. Five years of an age difference might not seem that large, but the following story might change your mind. The truth is that when Mila Kunis auditioned to play the role of Jackie, she lied about her age.
Kunis told them that she’d be turning 18 on her birthday, but didn’t specify which (she was 14 at the time). When Kunis got the role, she and Kutcher had such amazing chemistry that they really did seem to be in the same class! But although this wasn’t the case, at least they ended up getting married in real life.
19. Angelina Jolie & Colin Farrell (Alexander) – 1 Year
Angelina Jolie – 29 Years Old
Colin Farrell – 28 Years Old
Time to flip things on their head a little bit. Up until now, we’ve analyzed the large age differences between co-stars set up as romantic partners. But now it’s time to do the opposite. If you haven’t understood yet, take a look at the film Alexander, starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie.
In the movie, Jolie’s character plays the mother of Farrell’s character, even though they’re only one year apart in real life. Did they think we wouldn’t notice that Farrell literally looks like he’s old enough to be her husband? Honestly, we’re not even sure what they were thinking. Throw a bunch of stars at a screen and hope it sticks, probably.
20. Tom Hanks & Sally Field (Forrest Gump) – 9 years
Sally Field: 47 Years Old
Tom Hanks: 38 Years Old
How could there be anything wrong with Forrest Gump? No, honestly, there really is nothing wrong with it — it’s an amazing, simply classic film. There was just one strange quality about it that we should probably address. This is, of course, the fact that Sally Field plays the role of Tom Hanks’ mother, yet she’s only nine years older than him in real life.
Yep, she certainly looked the part when Forrest was still a youngster breaking in and later breaking out of those leg braces, but that was pretty much it. After Tom Hanks took over, he looked way too old to be her son.
21. Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft (The Graduate) – 6 years
Anne Bancroft: 36 Years Old
Dustin Hoffman: 30 Years Old
Here’s another “self-aware” entry — but not in the way one may think. The entire premise of The Graduate is based on forbidden love, or more specifically, the older Mrs. Robinson seducing Dustin Hoffman’s recently-graduated Benjamin Braddock. However, their age gap in real life actually defied this premise.
This is because Anne Bancroft, who portrays Mrs. Robinson, was not that much older than Hoffman in real life! She was six years older, to be exact, but hardly enough of a gap for the viewer to frown upon their love. It really does take away from the film’s dark magic, and it certainly takes away from the icon of Mrs. Robinson.
22. Orlando Bloom & Lee Pace (The Hobbit) – 2 Years
Orlando Bloom: 36 Years Old
Lee Pace: 34 Years Old
Let’s go on an adventure through Middle Earth and discover something a tad strange about two actors in The Hobbit. We meet Thranduil, the king of the wood elves of Mirkwood, played by Lee Pace. We also are reintroduced to Legolas, Thranduil’s son, who’s played by Orlando Bloom. However, although Bloom’s supposed to be playing Pace’s son, he’s actually two years older than him!
The reason for this, however, is quite explainable. Bloom had already become a fan favorite as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings franchise, which had been released over a decade earlier. The only problem is that chronologically speaking, The Hobbit takes place first. So, when they decided to bring Legolas back, Bloom’s disproportionately older look was unavoidable.
23. Amy Poehler & Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls) – 8 Years
Amy Poehler: 33 Years Old
Rachel McAdams: 25 Years Old
This cult classic has been quoted endlessly by plastics and nerds alike, regardless if they go to this school or not. But here’s one thing about the movie some viewers may not have noticed, or simply chose to ignore. What’s the deal with the fact that Regina’s mother didn’t really look that much older than her?
If this thought ever crossed your mind while watching Mean Girls, your gut feeling was correct. The truth is that Amy Poehler, who played Regina’s mom, is only eight years older than Rachel McAdams, who plays Regina. This was probably helped by the fact that McAdams was actually 25 when the movie was released, and certainly not a high school student.
24. Keira Knightley & Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually) – 5 Years
Keira Knightley: 18 Years Old
Thomas Brodie-Sangster: 13 Years Old
Love Actually is a wonderland for those who love romantic comedies, because it covers a weaving web of love stories which are all somehow connected in some cute and clever way. However, the surprising age gap that we have here isn’t between two romantic interests. It’s between two characters in this film who aren’t involved with one another — and you’d never expect them to be, because one looks like a kid and the other like an adult.
Keira Knightley plays a married woman, while Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays a young child. Seeing them both on screen, she looks like she could be at least a decade older than him — but the truth is that they’re only five years apart. The age gap is so slight they almost could have attended the same school at the same time.
25. Cher & Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) – 3 Years
Cher: 72 Years Old
Meryl Streep: 69 Years Old
For those who enjoyed the Broadway musical Mamma Mia!, or simply love the ’70s Swedish legendary hit-churning band ABBA, the recent Mamma Mia! films were a fun cinematic experience. In the sequel, titled Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, we are treated to a cameo of pop singer Cher, who plays the role of Donna’s mother.
Cher made quite an entrance, and certainly no one’s questioning the pull of the casting choice. However, she doesn’t honestly look old enough to be the mother of Donna, who’s played by Meryl Streep. She may look like somebody’s momma, but not Streep’s. In fact, the two stars are only three years apart!
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