Acting like a teen

by Mr. Nobel

The weirdest aspect of watching Chronicle was seeing a bunch of 20-some year olds act like teenagers. It’s more than a little odd that a movie which goes to so many extremes to portray a grounded and naturalistic group of teenagers featured, primarily, a cast way past adolescence. The performances are fine, but they looked nothing like the part.

I suppose it isn’t that uncommon in Hollywood to really not give a damn about casting people who look the part. Did anyone really believe that Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls was 17? Did anyone think that the cast of Prom really, convincingly physically resembled high schoolers? And who in their right minds would believe for an instant that Joseph Gordon Levitt belonged anywhere near a high school in Brick?

I guess that the rationale behind some of this casting is kind of reasonable. I mean most actors either start out really young or get into the business after high school. You get a good number of child stars, a fair number of 20-some year old stars. But who really gets into acting during high school? At minimum, most parents expect their children to graduate high school, so launching a career during that time seems counterproductive.

And, of course, most high school movies aren’t budgeted high enough to deck out their halls completely with former/working child stars.

There some movies that do feature a convincingly aged set of actors. Admittedly, these movies are typically smaller, faster affairs. Films like Gus Van Sant’s haunting Elephant had a cast entirely of 15-some year olds. Harry Potter, up until the fifth movie, had a cast that convincingly passed for teenagers. The god-awful looking Project X and similarly awful looking Virginity Hit also had a realistic cast.

Come to think of it, Project X and Virginity Hit were also found footage movies. Really, Chronicle, what gives? It’s true that the teenage actors had to show a lot more range than the party goers in Project X, but it’s not like there aren’t any good teenage actors. Chronicle is a film that deals with many emotions that most of us could have/can relate to (though, of course, skewered and made more extreme). I don’t think that it would be impossible to find good teenage actors to fill the roles.

But, even if the filmmakers had their hearts set on the cast, they could have done some make up work. Make up can do wonders (see Napoleon Dynamite). Add some bloody acne, dude.

Or, if they’re that determined to fuck with the minds of the hypercritical pricks in the audience, they could’ve been more overt. 21 Jump Street cheekily references the industry standards by featuring the most slapdash deagifying work I’ve seen. Want to see Channing Tatum as a jock? Slap on a douche-wig. Wanna know how pre-Superbad Jonah Hill would’ve looked? Fucked if I care, give him some braces or some shit.