These Actors Played Parent and Child – But Were Actually Really Close In Age

"People hire you to be someone's mother when you probably should be their older sister."

Casting in Hollywood isn’t always completely realistic.

Sometimes actors end up in roles that they’re not quite the right age for — like when celebs in their 20s get cast as high school students. And because a role doesn’t always correlate with their real-life age, it can create some interesting age discrepancies between co-stars. On quite a few occasions, there have been castmates who played parent and child…but they were actually really close in age.

While it may not make sense in real life, they definitely make it work on screen!

1. Jennifer Lopez & Constance Marie — 5 years

When Jennifer Lopez and Constance Marie starred in the 1997 film Selena, based on the life of Selena Quintanilla, there was only a five-year age gap between the two actors. While Jennifer was around 28 at the time of filming, Constance was just 32 when playing Jennifer’s on screen mother.

2. Lea Michele & Idina Menzel — 13 years

Idina Menzel portrayed Lea Michele’s mother on several seasons of Glee despite there being just a 13-year age gap between them. At the time, Idina was 38 while Lea, who was playing a high school student, was 23. Looking back, Idina says the whole thing “wasn’t great for the ego,” especially since she had only welcomed her first child just three months before getting the job.

“You’re worried you’re not going to work again, and then people hire you to be someone’s mother when you probably should be their older sister,” Idina shared.

3. Dascha Polanco & Elizabeth Rodriguez — 2 years

Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dascha Polanco played mother and daughter on Orange Is The New Black but there was actually only a two-year age gap between them. When filming began in 2013, Dascha was 30 and Elizabeth was 33. Ironically, Dascha was actually a mom in real life and Elizabeth didn’t have any children.

“Well, she’s a mother in real life, and I’m not. I’d say we’re more just like friends, not like a mother and daughter. I try not to be too pushy off-screen, because of the way Aleida is on Orange,” Elizabeth told Cosmopolitan.

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4. Meryl Streep & Cher — 4 years

In Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Cher and Meryl Streep played mother and daughter, despite there only being four years between them. Looking back, Cher says she was told about their age gap ahead of time but she didn’t mind at all.

“I am older than her — by four years! When they asked I said, ‘That’s absolutely fine, that’s cool,'” Cher said on “The Graham Norton Show.”

5. Colin Farrell & Angelina Jolie — 11 months

When Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie starred in Alexander in 2004, they portrayed a mother-son duo, despite the fact that they were less than a year apart in age. While it may seem like a strange choice, it makes a little more sense considering the film followed Alexander over the course of three decades and Angelina played his mother even when his character was a little boy.

6. Rachel McAdams & Amy Poehler — 7 years

Amy Poehler and Rachel McAdams may play mother and daughter in Mean Girls but they’re actually only seven years apart from one another. At the time of filming, Amy was 33 and Rachel was 26, although she was playing a high school student on screen. In an interview on the movie’s DVD, writer Tina Fey said she had written the role for Amy but worried producers would think she was too young — but it clearly worked out in the end!

7. Taron Egerton & Bryce Dallas Howard — 8 years

When Taron Egerton brought Elton John to the big screen in Rocketman, Bryce Dallas Howard signed on to play his mom. Although she was taking on the role of Elton’s mother, she was only a little over eight years older than Taron. At the time of the film’s release, Taron was 29 and Bryce was 38.

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8. Kristen Bell & Leslie Grossman — 8 years

Leslie Grossman may portray Kristen Bell’s mom on The Good Place but she’s actually only about eight and a half years older than her. When Leslie first got offered the role, she says she was concerned until she found out she’d only be portraying Kristen’s mom in flashbacks. But when they wanted to bring her back for present day scenes, Leslie says they figured out a way to still make her feel comfortable about it.

“I got a call from my agent, ‘You got an offer to play Kristen Bell’s mother.’ I was like, ‘Well, here it is. Here’s that phone call where you are officially an older actress.’ Then she said, ‘No, no, wait. It’s to play the mother of her character in flashback.’ Initially, it started off as playing the mother of a little girl. I thought, ‘Okay, that makes more sense,’ because Kristen Bell and I are not that far apart in age. Look, don’t get it twisted. I know I’m older than her, but I’m not old enough to be her mother,” she told Vulture.

She continued, “Then when they said, ‘We’d like you to come back and work with Kristen,’ there was a conversation, ‘Well, how is that going to work?’ Like, ‘What are you going to look like?’ They were like, ‘We don’t want to do aging makeup on you. That’s not something we want to do.’ They came up with a brilliant idea to just Real Housewives her and to make her look really pulled and surgeried.”

9. Chase Stokes & Charles Halford — 12 years

On Outer Banks, Chase Stokes’ on screen father is portrayed by Charles Halford, despite the fact that he’s only a little over 12 years older than him. At the time of the show’s premiere in 2020, Chase was 27 and Charles was 40. Although the age difference between John B. and Big John isn’t a lot, it makes sense considering Chase is portraying someone much younger than his actual age.

10. Zachary Quinto & Winona Ryder — 6 years

In 2009’s Star Trek, Winona Ryder played the mother of Zachary Quinto’s character, even though they’re only about six years apart in age. When the movie premiered, Winona was 37 and Zachary was 31. While it may have seemed like a stretch to viewers, neither actor ever spoke out about their age difference.

11. Jensen Ackles & Jeffrey Dean Morgan — 12 years

Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrayed Jensen Ackles’ father on Supernatural but there was actually only a 12-year age gap between them. At the time of the show’s premiere in 2005, Jeffrey was 39 and Jensen was 27. Despite the small gap, many fans say the age difference was not noticeable.

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