The surprising real-life age differences between 14 famous movie pairs

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Kirstie Renae
·7 min read
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juliet and sam
Keira Knightley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster starred in "Love Actually." Universal Pictures
  • Some iconic movies have vast and sometimes shocking age gaps between cast members.

  • "Love Actually" actors Keira Knightley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster are only five years apart.

  • Lee Pace played Orlando Bloom's father in "The Hobbit" series, but Pace is only two years older.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sometimes we get so into movies that we aren't able to separate the actors from characters they're playing.

From actors who are nowhere near old enough to have given birth to their on-screen children to movie pairings that are downright startling, these age differences aren't always apparent.

Here are some of the most shocking age gaps in popular movies.

Alan Rickman was three years older than Jim Broadbent, even though he was supposed to have been his student in the "Harry Potter" films.

snape and slughorn
Alan Rickman and Jim Broadbent were in the "Harry Potter" films. Warner Bros.

Alan Rickman was 63 when "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" premiered, and Jim Broadbent was 60.

Severus Snape and Horace Slughorn are colleagues in the sixth installment of the series, so it might not seem off that the actors who played them were only three years apart.

However, in "Harry Potter" canon, Slughorn was Snape's Potions professor when he was a student at Hogwarts — which makes the fact that Rickman was older a little more alarming.

Kristen Wilson is just nine years older than Tia and Tamera Mowry, but she played their mom in "Twitches."

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Tamera Mowry, Kristen Wilson, and Tia Mowry in "Twitches." Disney Channel

In 2005, Tia and Tamera Mowry played twin witches in the Disney Channel original movie "Twitches," and actress Kristen Wilson played their mother — even though in real life, she's only nine years older than the twins.

Tia and Tamera were both 27 when they played 21-year-olds in the film, and Wilson was 36.

Will Ferrell and Pierce Brosnan are only 14 years apart, but they played father and son in "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga."

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Will Ferrell and Pierce Brosnan in "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga." Netflix

In the Netflix-original musical comedy "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga," Will Ferrell starred as Icelandic singer-songwriter Lars Erickssong.

Pierce Brosnan played Lars' father, Erick, in the film, but in real-life Brosnan isn't that much older than Ferrell.

When the film was released in June 2020, Brosnan was 67 and Ferrell was 52 (soon to be turning 53).

Drew Seeley and Selena Gomez are 10 years apart, but they both played high schoolers in "Another Cinderella Story."

another cinderella story
Drew Seeley and Selena Gomez in "Another Cinderella Story." Warner Home Videos

In "Another Cinderella Story," a modern take on the story of Cinderella, Selena Gomez starred as high-school senior Mary Santiago.

Mary falls in love with a pop sensation, played by Drew Seeley, who returns to her high school for his senior year.

Gomez and Seeley were 16 and 26, respectively, when the film debuted in September 2008 — so it's a bit surprising that they both played high-school students.

In "Love Actually," Juliet and Sam were played by actors who are only five years apart in age.

juliet and sam
Keira Knightley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster starred in "Love Actually." Universal Pictures

Although actress Keira Knightley played an adult and Thomas Brodie-Sangster played a child in "Love Actually," the actors are only five years apart.

When the film premiered in November 2003, Knightley was 18 and Brodie-Sangster was 13.

Colin Firth and Emma Stone, who played love interests in "Magic in the Moonlight," are 28 years apart.

magic in the moonlight
Colin Firth and Emma Stone in "Magic in the Moonlight." Sony Pictures Classics

Colin Firth played Emma Stone's love interest in "Magic in the Moonlight" — in real life, he's nearly 30 years older than her.

The Firth and Stone were 53 and 25, respectively, when the movie was released in August 2014.

Rachel McAdams is only seven years younger than Amy Poehler, who played her mom in "Mean Girls."

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Rachel McAdams and Amy Poehler in "Mean Girls." Paramount Pictures

In the cult-classic "Mean Girls," Rachel McAdams played Regina George, a popular teen and the leader of "The Plastics."

When the film was released in April 2004, McAdams was 25 years old, only seven years younger than her on-screen mom Amy Poehler, who was 32.

McAdams is also seven years older than on-screen frenemy Lindsay Lohan, who was 17 when the film was released.

Angelina Jolie played Colin Farrell's mom in "Alexander" even though she's only a year older than him.

angelina jolie colin farrell alexander
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell in "Alexander." Warner Bros.

In "Alexander," Angelina Jolie played Olympias, mother to Colin Farrell's character Alexander the Great.

Even though the two actors played mother and son, in reality, they are only one year apart in age. When the film debuted in November 2004, Jolie was 29 and Farrell was 28.

Sean Connery played Harrison Ford's father in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," though he is only 12 years older than him in real life.

indiana jones
Harrison Ford and Sean Connery in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Paramount Pictures

In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Sean Connery played Harrison Ford's father.

When the film was released in May 1986, Connery was 58 and Ford was 46, leaving a mere 12-year gap between the on-screen father and son.

Sally Field is only 10 years older than Tom Hanks, but she played his mother in "Forrest Gump."

forrest gump
Tom Hanks and Sally Field in "Forrest Gump." Paramount Pictures

In the classic film "Forrest Gump," Sally Field played Tom Hanks' mother. However, she is only 10 years older than her co-star.

Field was 47 and Hanks was 37 when the film was released in July 1994, just days before Hanks' 38th birthday.

Orlando Bloom played Lee Pace's son in "The Hobbit" series, even though the actors are only two years apart.

the hobbit
Orlando Bloom and Lee Pace were in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Warner Bros.

Throughout "The Hobbit" series, Lee Pace played Orlando Bloom's father — even though Pace is two years younger than Bloom in real life.

Sure, elves are thousands of years old, but it's worth noting that Bloom was born in 1977 and Pace was born in 1979.

Cher is only three years older than Meryl Streep, but she played her mom in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"

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Cher and Meryl Streep were in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Universal Pictures

Cher played Meryl Streep's mother in the movie musical "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

The actresses are only three years apart, but it's easy to miss the too-small age gap because they only share screen time during the film's performance of "Super Trouper."

Cher was 72 and Streep was 69 when the film debuted in July 2018.

Despite their 10-year age gap, Stockard Channing and John Travolta both played high-school students in "Grease."

grease
Stockard Channing and John Travolta in "Grease." Paramount Pictures

Stockard Channing and John Travolta both played 18-year-old high-school seniors in the 1978 musical "Grease."

Although several of the film's actors were significantly older than their on-screen characters, Channing is 10 years Travolta's senior.

The oldest member of the main cast, Channing was 33 and Travolta was 23 during the movie's production.

Sissy Spacek played Betty Buckley's student in "Carrie," even though they're only two years apart.

carrie
Sissy Spacek and Betty Buckley in "Carrie." Focus Features

Sissy Spacek starred as a 16-year-old in the high-school thriller, and Betty Buckley played her gym teacher.

When the movie was released in November 1976, Spacek was 26 and Buckley was 29, leaving only a little over two years between the on-screen student and teacher.

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