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Susan Sarandon's Far-Fetched Grandma and 5 Other Age-Inappropriate Roles

Meriah Doty
July 3, 2014
Susan Sarandon Melissa McCarthy Tammy
Susan Sarandon Melissa McCarthy Tammy

In Tammy, 67-year-old Susan Sarandon is consigned to the role not of Melissa McCarthy’s mother, but of her grandmother — despite the fact that McCarthy is a mere 24 years her junior.

Sarandon and McCarthy aren’t the first pair, however, to make unlikely generational leaps onscreen. From Hollywood’s Golden Era down to the present, age-bending is one of the great screen traditions. 

Here are a five other classic Hollywood cases of age-inappropriate casting:

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

5. Jessie Royce Landis was only eight years older than Cary Grant when she played his mother in North by Northwest. (In another, prior, Hitchcock film, To Catch a Thief, Landis played a more age-appropriate mother to a 33-years-younger Grace Kelly.) 

4. Anne Bancroft was a mere six years senior to Dustin Hoffman when Mrs. Robinson seduced her daughter’s peer in The GraduateIt’s all lighting,” Hoffman joked in a 2009 Playboy interview. 

3. Twelve years older than Harrison Ford, Sean Connery still stood in as the hero’s father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “Who else but Bond could have been worthy enough to play Indiana Jones’ dad?” Spielberg has said (via Empire Magazine)

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lovers were the same age on the pages of his Great Gatsby. But when Leonardo DiCaprio and Carrey Mulligan played them in Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation last year, they were far from it, with a 10 year gap between them. 

1. Christian Bale had initial reservations about playing Jennifer Lawrence’s husband in American Hustle. “I’m old enough to be Jennifer’s dad,” he told PopSugar last year. “I mean, I turn 40 next year; she’s 22?”

Photo credits: Warner Bros., Everett Collection