It’s said that age is just a number. Nowhere is this truer than in show business. Actors and actresses are consistently sliding into roles that’re younger or older than them. In fact, one would say that the hallmark of a great artist is their ability to play correctly, out of an allowed age range. For example, TV shows with teenage-drama themes seem to have the most time-bending cast members. From Pretty Little Liars to Glee, these stars are doing a stellar job at looking younger than they are. But how do they manage to pull it off without making a fool of themselves?
First, they have to work backwards. They must sermon all their memories to a time when they were the age that they were playing. This may well be easier for a twenty-something playing a teenager than for a forty-year-old playing a fifteen-year-old. Thus, it’s important to do a little research. They can begin by studying those in the age group that they’re portraying. Take note of their mannerisms, physicality, and movement; basically, anything that’ll help bring the character out better. Trying to incorporate what one has gleaned from research in their acting might just make all the difference and may even help one get into the mindset of the character faster.
Second, adding a little bit more energy to the character would make it more believable. With age, comes a slowing of gait, a jaded spirit, and loss of that sense of wonder typical of youth. Hence, it’s important to infuse energy back. For instance, a sixty-two-year-old playing a twenty-two-year-old will have to muster all their energy. That glint in the eye must show through.
Another important aspect of playing a younger role is the make-up and costumes. It’s important for an actor or actress to remember that when they’re time-bending, age comes from the outside. Finding out about the character’s style and embracing it for a while may help one to get into it faster. Usually, the make-up and costumes are done by a team employed to do that. However, there’s no reason for one not to try getting into character at home by wearing clothes and make-up styles designed for the age which they’re playing while they’re rehearsing their lines. It’ll make all the difference.
Playing a younger role isn’t easy to pull off. However, paying attention to minor details like mannerisms, physicality, energy and style of the youth could make it a walk in the park because when you’re bending time; it’s the tiny details that matter.