Ben Platt, 27, is mad that people think he looks too old to be a high schooler

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Dear Evan Hansen was a wildly successful Broadway musical, winning six Tony Awards in 2017, including a Tony for Ben Platt, who played the high-schooler Evan Hansen. It was inevitable that the musical would be adapted into a film, and they tried to rush it, but the pandemic hit and so things moved slowly. Still, producers did want to keep Platt in the lead role even though he’s obviously aged since he originally starred in the Broadway show. The trailer came out this week:

My immediate beef with the trailer is that they showed a lot of the plot! I didn’t actually know what the musical was about and I feel like I know everything now. Other people had different complaints, namely that Ben Platt is a little long in the tooth to play a high schooler, and in some shots he looks more like a middle-aged dude in need of two cups of coffee. Unfair! I don’t even think he looks *that* old, but then again, I’m from a generation raised on the original Beverly Hills 90210, where all of the high-schoolers looked like they were in their 30s (some actually were). Anyway, Ben Platt was mad!

Ben Platt is calling out critics after the release of the Dear Evan Hansen trailer on Tuesday. Platt, who originated the role of Evan Hansen on Broadway in 2016, is reprising his role in the movie musical adaptation—although several took to social media to call out the age difference between Platt, 27, and Evan, who is a senior in high school. In a since-deleted tweet, Platt commented on a Vanity Fair tweet about the article in which he acknowledged that he has gotten older since playing Evan.

“Thank u from the bottom of my [heart] for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday,” Platt wrote in the deleted tweet. “The film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing ppl excited & moved makes it so deeply worth it.” He added, “PS to the randos beings jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch grease.”

Platt told Vanity Fair, “I think everybody obviously had in their minds that I wasn’t going to stay teen-adjacent forever. The need to get it done was a little urgent. Then of course the pandemic happened, and I kind of assumed that was that—it would be a no-go, and by the time the pandemic was over, I’d have outgrown it.”

Platt said Universal Pictures started filming on Dear Evan Hansen as soon as movie filming started up again last summer. “Much to my pleasant surprise, Universal seemed to be really hell-bent on making it, and specifically making it with me,” he said.

The work of getting back into Evan’s headspace “was much easier than performing in the show because obviously I wasn’t having to recreate the entire piece” each day, Platt said. “But physically it was very much the same experience.”

“I’d lost about 15 pounds and did a very specific diet, grew my hair out, and was shaving to make sure that I didn’t look like I had five o’clock shadow all the time, you know,” he said. “I was just stripping myself into being a teenager for the last time. For what is hopefully the last time.”

[From People]

I saw a tweet about this and I looked it up and it’s true: Ben Platt’s father is Marc Platt, a massively successful Hollywood producer of films like La La Land, The Girl on the Train, Into the Woods, Cruella and… um, Dear Evan Hansen. So when we say “producers wanted Ben Platt to play Evan Hansen,” we’re talking about his very powerful father who produced the film. I mean, it is what it is. I understand why he was cast, just as I understand why people are criticizing the casting. But, again, I don’t even think he looks *that* old in the trailer.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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70 Responses to “Ben Platt, 27, is mad that people think he looks too old to be a high schooler”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    so I’ve heard a few songs from the musical (most of them by this point I think) but i still didn’t really have an idea about what the musical was actually about and I feel like the trailer gave it all away – I cried but now I kind of don’t even want to watch it, it seems super depressing, I’ll just listen to the soundtrack.

    He’s a little old to play Evan but I understand that there is also an emotional connection people have a lot with wanting the original broadway stars to appear in the movies. Sometimes it can work if they make the movie fast enough, but a lot of times it can’t – sometimes bc of age, and sometimes just because if a musical hits big enough, the big stars of it have moved on by the time a movie project rolls around. This was one of the things that was so smart about the way they did the Hamilton movie – the original broadway cast was all there obviously.

    • Itsme says:

      Okay,,,,,,,you look like a really old highschooler. Better?

    • (The OG) Jan90067 says:

      I love the music, and I really did enjoy it (if that’s the right word for the topic of the play). It was so touching, and I think most of the audience I saw it with could relate to the characters (at least it seemed so, with all of us sobbing lol).

      Even w/out the pandemic, I’d wait for this to stream on Netflix. I paid enough to see it on Broadway lol

  2. Anne K says:

    Grow as we go, In case you don’t live forever and Temporary Love are his songs I play on repeat 🤷‍♀️ I think he’s a good singer. Never seen the play though

  3. Ariel says:

    Have these people not seen Grease? Now those were some old teenagers. And it was fine.

    • Harper says:

      So true. Stockard Channing? Now there was someone who actually looked like a 40-year-old.

    • superbass says:

      Grease is from the 1970s, though. It’s an old classic and part of what’s funny about it is that everyone in it is too old to be a teenager. We’ve grown past that-we want kids representing kids now. Teens want more relatable content. Remember how revolutionary Clueless was because the cast was actually made up of teenagers? It’s unusual now to have someone older playing a kid.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Lol this!
        Grease was FUN! No one was cast to look a certain age. And the whole movie/play was pretty nutty.

        Platt either has some issues with aging or he’s mad for being called out on what essentially is nepotism and being unsuitable for this role in film. Stage is different.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        2 of the main cast members of Clueless were teenagers (Alicia and Brittany were 18), but Stacy Dash was 28, and the guys were 21.

        18 is the youngest you can get to play high schoolers in main parts of films, because otherwise child labor laws apply and they can only shoot for a limited time (like 1/2 days) and have to be tutored.

    • Sof says:

      You don’t have to go that far back, aren’t all the actors of Euphoria on their early/mid twenties?
      Same with Glee, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, etc.

      • Normades says:

        Cast of Riverdale was much older but now they’ve done a time jump and it’s more age appropriate.

    • Ann says:

      The actress who played Cha Cha looked 40 for sure. I’d say Stockard Channing looked 26 or so.

  4. Chaine says:

    Yeah, he looks 40.

    • It’sJustBlanche says:

      Even in the photos above, he looks older than 27.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I think it would have helped had he had a very clean and close shave before his presentation on the stage. He clearly has some growth already showing. Also, they could have gone a little different way with his makeup as you can clearly see he has a full face of hair.
        As for him being upset about his appearance then he should get over himself. Of course they are going to judge him because he clearly doesn’t look like a teenager as he closing in on 30.

    • liz says:

      I don’t think he looks quite 40, but he is absolutely not a high schooler. I have a 17 year old high school junior. If Ben Platt is in a high school, it’s because he’s the front of the classroom, teaching.

    • Esmom says:

      That was my immediate thought when I saw the poster, I think, yesterday. He makes the Glee cast look like middle schoolers.

      And to those who are comparing it to Grease, I don’t know. It was a different era and everyone in the cast was old, lol.

  5. Lizzie says:

    Loved Ben Platt in The Politician. He is a great actor and when he sang a Billy Joel song it was the best version of that song I have heard.

  6. Zaya says:

    I mean yeah he doesn’t look like like he’s in high school, but no where near as old as they were in grease. I always thought he was in his 30s, I’m surprised to learn he’s 27.

    I don’t get the part where he said he outgrew it cause of the pandemic. It’s not like he rapidly aged over 14 months. Even if the pandemic didn’t happened, I’m sure people would have commented on his looks.

  7. Merricat says:

    My daughter saw him in the Broadway production and loved him. But lol about Dear Old Producer-Dad.

  8. Rural Juror says:

    He definitely looks older than 18, but not so old that it’s completely unbelievable. Especially when you compare it to countless other shows and movies where high school students are played by full-on adults. And his dad may be a big producer, but Ben is actually super talented. He may have benefited from some nepotism, but he has the chops to back it up.

  9. SarahCS says:

    I’d have said 30′s based on pictures of him. Taking out the massive bias of his father being a producer, I get the dilemma between wanting continuity of actor (and from other comments it sounds like he’s a great singer), and going with someone more age appropriate.

    On a related note, I think this is another issue Hollywood has to face up to with regularly casting far older people as high schoolers – they look nothing like typical teenagers and while film is about fantasy and make-believe it’s another (hi IG) way that actual teenagers are being shown that they’re not good enough/glam enough/grown up enough.

    Anyway, I’m off to shout at some kids to get off my lawn. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

    • goofpuff says:

      Maybe that’s why all the teenagers seem to want to look like 30 year olds now on instagram and tiktok, especially the girls with the makeup that ages them 10 years. Everyone my he wants to look younger lol.

      • Esmom says:

        That is a crazy phenomenon but I’m not sure if old-looking teenagers in films were their main influence. I’m happy that my two college student sons’ female friends are not interested in looking older or weirdly glam, they seem happy just being casual and mostly makeup free.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      ” I think this is another issue Hollywood has to face up to with regularly casting far older people as high schoolers ”

      It’s not an “issue”, it is just a reality. If you have actors that are younger than 18, there’s so many labor laws that restrict how and when they can work. In some cases, they have to have on set schooling, can only work half days, some ages require X number of hours devoted to relaxation and activity (aka recess). In addition to the actors, you have to hire educators, etc. There are restrictions on how many days they can work in a row. Regulations change depending on if you are 2-6 years old, 6-9, 9-16. It’s very complicated.

      For example, for a 15 year old actor, they can only work 5 hours and must have 3 hours of schooling and 1 hour of rest (when school is in session). That means you are employing minimum 2 people to get 5 hours of work from 1 actor, and you are paying them for the full day.

      Bottom line: it increases production costs and time to employ people younger than 18. This protects children from harm.

  10. Belli says:

    I love the musical so much and I’m sure he played the role spectacularly. Listening to the original cast soundtrack destroys me every time.

    I think part of the issue is that while he doesn’t look as old as they did in Grease, the rest of the cast who are playing high schoolers look younger than he does (even if they’re not actually that much younger in reality). In Grease at least everyone looks old, but here he stands out.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s what I thought too – the other kids in the cast look very young in comparison. Based on his photos and the few seconds I watched of the trailer, I’d guess he was early 30s. Hopefully it’s a good enough performance that it doesn’t matter.

      I’ve never seen the musical and don’t know the plot, but I’ve heard a few songs from it and enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to the film, or seeing the Broadway show someday.

  11. Mia4s says:

    Having looked into this show, some of the songs are very pretty but good lord the story and plot are NASTY. No and thank you ten times over.

    And knowing the story, to not hate this character I think you really need him to be a young and stupid teen. So when you have a 27 year old who looks older than 27 (which he does. Yes, he does) I can get why people would be weirded out.

    Anyway…hard pass from me, across the board.

  12. detritus says:

    This kinda reminds me of when ScarJo wanted to play a trans character and got mad at the outcry.

    But someone else did it!

    Just because other movies used inappropriately aged actors doesn’t mean it should continue. Pajiba did a great write up on why age matters more in film than in theatre.

  13. pottymouth pup says:

    I have no sympathy for him about this’ perhaps he should talk to some actresses over 30 who get scripts to play much older women

  14. Ninks says:

    I think he looks like he’s in his thirties. He doesn’t pass as a teenager, he looks like an adult pretending to be a teenager. It wouldn’t bother me so much but the rest of the teen cast look like teenagers. The scenes with Kaitlyn Dever make me feel uncomfortable even though logically I know there’s only a couple of years between them. (And knowing their relationship is really problematic in the show probably doesn’t help.)

  15. Christine says:

    I don’t think the problem is that he looks too old. The problem is he looks so much older than his costars who are supposed to be the same age as him.

  16. Amelie says:

    I’m pretty sure people know this already but the reason a lot of high school roles are played by people in their early to late twenties is due to labor laws. It’s a lot easier to use slightly older actors than the actual age group. I think today most shows featuring teens have actors as close to the age as possible, meaning 17 or 18 to start off with and then they are mostly college age playing teens which is believable if the show goes on for multiple seasons.

    I have never seen Dear Evan Hansen or know what it’s about, but I did see some episodes of The Politician. I really didn’t like it, it was overly dramatic and in the first season at least Benjamin is playing a high schooler and it wasn’t really believable then. Yes, he has a baby face but you could tell he wasn’t a teen. I think in later seasons his character ages and is an adult.

    • Miss Margo says:

      True, but they could have chosen someone like 21, not pushing thirty. But Ben’s dad was like “nope, my son will be the STAR!” Ugh, nepotism is so gross.

  17. Case says:

    Not enough talented stage actors are considered for musical roles in Hollywood. I’m thrilled that they cast the person who originated the role on stage.

    • liz says:

      When I saw it on Broadway two years ago, there was a 17 year old boy, Andrew Feldman, playing the part of Evan Hansen. He was absolutely wonderful and it had been acknowledged that, at 25, Ben Platt had aged out of the role.

      Feldman is now 19 and probably should have been cast in the movie. It would have answered the “Broadway actors reprising their roles in the movie” desire while keeping the part age-appropriate and not subject to child labor laws.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I don’t think Platt will have any trouble getting casted In roles he wants Given his father’s position in Hollywood.

      It is a bit distracting to see someone well into their adult years dress as a high schooler and be surrounded by younger looking actors.

      He could have played connor’s step father next to Amy Adams and it would fit how he looks.

  18. Ohreally says:

    I appreciate the trailer because the subject is very heavy and I wouldn’t have wanted to be blindsided. You have to be emotionally prepared for a movie like this. Definitely wouldn’t want to watch it on the wrong day.

  19. TheOriginalMia says:

    The actors in Grease were all in the same age group playing high school seniors. Platt is nearly 30 playing 17/18 against real 17/18 year olds. He looks creepy and that’s just the truth of it.

  20. Chicken Tetrazzini! says:

    I have the soundtrack and I had to look up plot synopsis multiple times just to understand what the hell was going on and many of the voices sound very similar. Watching the trailer finally made it make sense to me, and I think the target audience knows what’s coming and anyone who is new to the show should be given fair warning as to the subject matter.

  21. Scarlet Vixen says:

    Unfortunately for Ben, he just has a…more mature looking face. He looked like he was in his 30s when he playes a college freshman in the move Pitch Perfect, and he actually was 18 or 19 during filming. I didn’t feel he looked jarringly ‘old’ in the trailer, so I guess it doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me?

    Alot of people keep referencing Grease, but there are a million examples of actors looking/being much older than the teens they’re playing. 90210 (both versions), My So-called Life, West Side Story, Vampire Diaries, Different World, Back to the Future, Glee, Varsity Blues, Veronica Mars…And that’s just off the top of my head. It really does happen all the time.

    • Sally says:

      Yes, exactly, I was really surprised when I learned that he actually was a teen when they filmed PP. Also my mind immediately jumped to his producer dad when I read the headline. I like him as an actor, but I followed him on IG for a while and found him to be the full cliche of an industry brat.

    • Normades says:

      He did look old in PP!

  22. Meredith says:

    Am I the only one who didn’t like the play? I caught it when it came through Seattle a couple of years ago and I wanted to leave half way through.

    • DogMom says:

      No, you are not the only one! I also caught it during a touring production in Seattle (!) and absolutely HATED it. Some of the songs are pretty good, but the overall story is TERRIBLE and I was so relieved when it was over, lol.

  23. Ann says:

    BH 90210 is one of my favorite shows ever and that was my first thought seeing that headline. I don’t know who this guy is and have no interest in musical theater but if this dude is the second coming of Brandon Walsh I might have to check it out.

  24. Mel says:

    I’m actually more mad that the rest of the cast was replaced but he wasn’t. It’s not about keeping the OG cast but it’s about keeping HIM. Jordan Fisher played the part greatly as well. Greed and vanity are front and center. Sorry you can’t play it anymore but maybe accept you got many many (deserved) praises and accolades for the stage version. He will remain the OG Evan Hansen. Just allow the material to live on and be gracious about it. Idina Menzel did it with Elphaba. Honestly, it was distracting when I watched the trailer. Especially because his « classmates » were considerably younger looking.

    • AMA1977 says:

      I know nothing of this play or the movie but it strikes me that he’s trying to complete his EGOT and thinks this might be the way, if he was the only original cast member to make the jump to film in this conveniently produced-by-dad- project. There is a world of difference between 17/18 and 27, for crying out loud! And just from the pictures just in this post, I wouldn’t bat an eye if you told me he was in his mid-30′s. He DOES NOT look like a teen or even a young adult.

  25. Miasys says:

    I don’t think the trailer gave everything away. It’s heavy subject matter & people need to know, from a trigger warning perspective, before they go. We took our 16 yo daughter to see this pre-covid and it was so moving and powerful. I expected to have a hard time with it due to having people in my life who have self-harmed and tried to commit suicide, but it’s done so well. It’s an incredible experience and if the subject matter is not a trigger for you, i highly recommend seeing it. The music is great.

  26. L4frimaire says:

    That guy looks like Fred Armisen. Had to do a double take. He does not look like a high schooler. Maybe someone in grad school.

  27. amiloo says:

    I don’t know who he is, and I’m not familiar with the musical. But watching the trailer, it almost looks like a MadTV spoof with Stuart-like character.

  28. HeyJude says:

    There are a shocking amount of dudes in my high school aged kids’ school who are teenagers and almost completely balding. Several of said kids look older than me and I’m over twice their age.

    So no, I don’t find him particularly “way too old”. He’s got a baby face.

    Maybe if you don’t know actual high schoolers he seems too old.

  29. Desert Lizard says:

    It seems that right now there is a lot of energy around who is cast in what role. We don’t want white folks playing POC and that is absolutely correct. We don’t want straight folks playing LGBT folks and we don’t want CIS playing Trans. I agree with every bit of that. So, why oh why, can they not find a teenager or very early 20s to play teenage roles? This is ridiculous and things like this take me right out of the movie. Same with Grease, same with 90210 (original) and all of those shows that cast old for the role.

  30. Miranda says:

    To me, the issue isn’t so much about whether or not an actor looks too old to play a high schooler, but the fact that these roles are given to people with established careers when they could be a huge break for talented newcomers.

  31. KNy says:

    I got to see him in the Broadway play and he’s so talented. I don’t think this is a case of nepotism. If you go back and read the articles written about the musical when it debuted, every article was gushing over him. His hair, though, is criminal. It makes him look older.

    I’m upset the character of his mother was replaced by Julianne Moore. The woman who played his mother on Broadway was amazing, and also won a Tony for the role, if I recall correctly. The last song in the play had me crying so much the stranger next to me handed me a tissue.

    As for the trailer, it gives the premise away, but the premise is pretty much obvious within the first 10-15 minutes of the musical. It’s more about the character walking a fine between being the hero and the villain. It was heartbreaking in so many ways.

    • Jenn says:

      So, okay. Michael Douglas’s first (?) Academy Award was for producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His dad Kirk Douglas originated the lead role of McMurphy on Broadway, then acquired the rights, then bequeathed them to Michael intending for his son to star in the film version. Michael Douglas cast someone else (Jack Nicholson obviously), which I really admire. But I also think that was a *wise* decision, because at a certain point nepotism is an obstacle, where audiences can be almost unfairly skeptical of the talents of a bigshot’s kid. Like, absolutely. So I do feel bad for Ben Platt in that his dad isn’t why he’s *talented*.

      I agree, the styling is terrible. I read it’s a wig??

  32. Marie says:

    I was surprised to learn the cast of Derry Girls are all in their 20s and one of them even in her 30s, but they look convincing enough to be high schoolers. Ben does not.
    And I get both sides of the argument here – this was HIS show. He was excellent in the play. But what works fine on stage does not necessarily work on screen. You wouldn’t take the adult stage cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and have them play the Peanuts kids on screen (I know, bigger age difference but same point trying to be made). Or like, when Rent was made into the film, I loved seeing most of the original cast in it but, yeah, the characters were supposed to be in their early 20s and they were all in their mid 30s by then. So the Broadway die-hards will probably love seeing Ben in his role.
    I also get why they revealed what the story really is in the trailer. I walked into that play thinking it was about a lonely kid who finally made friends at school. It is not. It was a big WTF that left me feeling quite disturbed afterward. And that’s okay for art to be disturbing but I just wasn’t expecting it. I’ve talked to friends who had the same experience so I know I’m not alone (song pun intended).

  33. Jenn says:

    This is literally the funniest story of the week. Apparently, all nepotism aside, Ben Platt is revelatory in the role, and that’s why there was URGENCY around getting this movie made, before the guy *really* aged out (lol). And I totally understand wanting to immortalize his performance! But I also agree with the sentiment that we treat stage performances as these sacred, precious, “once-in-a-lifetime” “ephemeral” “fleeting” things that you “have to be there to experience” for $200 — and there’s a lot of classism endemic there — when really we should be striving to record stage performances and make them more accessible to others, a la Hamilton. (I recently felt SO MUCH GRIEF trying to show my husband “the best part” of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway — surprise!! No one ever recorded it!!)

  34. Kat says:

    I worked with him in the past and he’s a narcissist. Even tried to make a non-profit fundraiser for children about himself (this was 3 years ago) not denying his talent at all but personally he is *le sigh*

  35. Kaykay says:

    I’ve never heard of this guy, nor seen a picture of him, but I have to say; he could be 45 and I wouldn’t be shocked.