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Grandpa’s in High School

April 14, 2012 by Kiersi

Kristen Bell in Veronica MarsRecently I started re-watching Veronica Mars, arguably one of the best young adult television series ever created*. It’s a film noir-style private detective show, starring Kristen Bell as high school pariah Veronica Mars. My only complaint about the show (besides having a terrible third season and thus, getting cancelled) is that, while attempting to portray a high school junior, Kristen’s age sometimes shows too much.

Kristen Bell was 24 years old when the first season of Veronica Mars was filmed in 2004. In flashbacks to her freshman and sophomore years, director Rob Thomas dresses Kristen up in straight, long hair, apparently to make it clear this was another time in her life–before she went rogue and chopped it all off. She looks simply comical, like a grown woman in a wig (which, if I were to a hedge a guess, she is).

I mentioned in the podcast I did last week that I was a little bothered by how filled out Jennifer Lawrence was as Katniss in The Hunger Games. Considering Everdeen originates in the poor, starved District 12, it seemed odd to me that she would have that angelic puff in her cheeks and such bodacious curves.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss EverdeenThen, I had another thought: What teenage girl has such a grown-up body? I hit the ground running with puberty, picking up a fairly decent rack and a plump bum when I was in the thirteen-fourteen range, but nothing like what I’d get when I got to college. As it turns out, Jennifer Lawrence was nearly twenty-one when The Hunger Games was filmed–and it shows. (Let’s not even get into the age mis-casting of 22-year-old Liam Hemsworth and 20-year-old Josh Hutcherson, who play Gale and Peeta respectively.)

There is one particular shot I remember from the film, around the time Katniss shows off her skill with a bow to the game-makers, where Jennifer is decked out in a skin-tight, form-hugging black jumpsuit–I just didn’t believe it. She walked with such grace and poise in that totally smokin’ bod, something was fishy. I don’t know a single sixteen-year-old that comfortable in their own skin.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t Hollywood casting directors casting high schoolers to play high school parts? Do they really think us so gullible that we won’t notice a 21-year-old Alex Pettyfer is much older than the fifteen-year-old character he’s supposed to be playing in I Am Number Four**?

I can’t imagine there’s a lack of high school-aged talent in Los Angeles. Is the issue with actors under the age of eighteen? Is talent simply not refined enough by age fifteen or sixteen to be qualified for film?

Either way, Hollywood, I’m not convinced. Try harder.

*Actually, Veronica Mars is the best. Ever. In my humble opinion.

**Worst book-to-movie adaptation I have ever seen. Don’t even bother.


  1. Jim Snell says:

    Totally agree! And it’s been that way forever.

    My guess is more than anything, it has to do with work rules. If a person’s under 18, then actors union rules specify they can only work a certain number of hours per day, as opposed to the 18 hour days that often happens when shooting a film.

    Then there’s also the “who’s hot/who can draw $ into the theater” question. And although the story should do it, the people who spend hundreds of millions to make movies are convinced the star system works, so they look for someone who’s known – at least a little bit, or who they think might be the next big thing.

    Casting is always one of the craziest things in movies, I think. I was just talking to someone about how so many fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels are upset about the casting. Because Reacher is supposed to be like 6-foot-5, just a huge guy … and in the first film from the books, he’ll be played by Tom Cruise.

  2. Jim Snell says:

    Although, Veronica Mars had one of the best pilot episodes of any TV series ever!

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