All actors have an age range that they can realistically play within without anyone batting an eyelid; a good example being Sean William Scott, who’ll probably still be playing a teenager well past his death and cremation. Thanks to advancements in make-up and computer generated imagery, actors can now play well over and under their normal playing range but what happens when the results just don’t work?

Here’s five movies where my suspension of disbelief vanished.

J. Edgar

Having watched the film that inspired this post earlier this week I was totally blow away by just plain bad Arnie Hammer looked as an aged Clyde Tolson; he looked like a testicle that had been in the bath too long.

"I'm the titular character, Clyde, so I'll do all the acting in this scene, thank you."

"Look Clyde, I'm the lead so I'll do all the acting, thank you."

Whilst it would have been a no-brainer to age Leo to play both the young and old head of the FBI, didn’t it occur to anyone to hire an older actor to play pensioner Tolson? True, Arnie Hammer is in the ascendancy at the minute but instead of covering his head in rubber why not give Peter O’ Toole a call?



The motion picture adaptation of Watchmen was always going to come under a lot of scrutiny, regardless of who was involved creatively, but one of my major criticisms, much like that of J. Edgar, is the use of the same actors for characters who age more than 40 years during the film’s runtime. In the graphic novel The Comedian was in his late teens when he took up masked adventuring but they had to make him older to fit Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who certainly doesn’t look to be in his early twenties and, despite a bit of grey hair and stubble, definitely does not look like a 60+ year old man. I’ll move on from Watchmen with two words. Carla Gugino.

"Five minutes, Dame Everage"

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part II

19 Years Later. Words most fans of the series where anticipating and dreading in equal measure. During the production of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows there was a lot of talk about whether the filmmakers would use the same technology used to make Brad Pitt look 80 years old in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or whether they’d use traditional make-up techniques. Or not film the scene at all. Well, the scene was shot and … the characters didn’t look any different.

Side parting = 19 years older

Tron: Legacy

If you’re making a sequel to a movie that’s nearly 30 years old but you need show the original lead at his current age, in flashback and sharing screen time with a younger version of himself you’re gonna be in one dilly of a pickle. Unless you’re Disney. Faced with the Herculean task of asking Jeff Bridges to shave, have his hair cut and coloured and have some concealer applied, Disney instead opted to have a CGI version of Bridges created to play both the young Kevin Flynn and CLU and this was the result.

"I've got a … like … CGI face, man"

If that was in-game graphics on the PS3 I’d be impressed but blown up forty feet and in 3D it looks an absolute mess. You’d think they’d try and cover it up with dim lighting and shorter shots but someone at Disney seemed pretty damn proud of themselves.


In a film about immortals decapitating each other to win a millennia long game and gain the collective knowledge of the world and become one with all things, the question we’re all really asking is this … at what point do they stop physically ageing? Christopher Lambert’s Connor McLeod is 468 years young in Highlander and aside from following fashions has looked more or less the same since 1536.

"Get your hands off my Olay"

Doing even better is Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, played by Sean Connery, who doesn’t look bad for a 2437 year old. He somehow manages to look even better when he’s resurrected 480 years later in Highlander II: The Quickening.

"The name's Ramirez. Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez."

But we’ll ignore Highlander II because it’s shite.