“There’s definitely an uncomfortable age difference.”
In recent years, it’s become increasingly common for couples to have an age gap between them — but sometimes, the age difference is just hard to ignore. That’s especially true when you see a May-December relationship on the big screen and the actors have over two decades between them.
While the substantial gap sometimes works for the plot of the film, other times, it just gets a little weird, leaving viewers in for a shock when they discover the actual age of the actors on screen. Even though the situation may be a little far-fetched, it hasn’t stopped Hollywood from pairing these actors together, large generational gap and all.
Read on to find out these on-screen couples’ age differences…
When Laura Dern and Sam Neill filmed “Jurassic Park” in the early 90s, they were 23 and 43, respectively. At the time, no one really made note of their 20-year age gap, but looking back, both Laura and Sam say they actually didn’t even realize there were so many years between them. Sam only made the realization when he later ended up part of “an article called ‘Old Geezers and Gals.'” Meanwhile, Laura says she was too focused on pushing forward female representation on the big screen to think about their ages.
“Well, it felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill. And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, ‘Wow! We’re not the same age?'” Laura told The Sunday Times.
In 2013, Emma Stone and Sean Penn portrayed love interests in “Gangster Squad” despite there being a 28-year age gap between them. At the time, Emma was 25 while Sean was 53. The age gap didn’t seem to make many headlines at the time though — potentially because Emma’s character was actually in love with someone more age-appropriate for a portion of the film.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery played love interests in “Entrapment” and despite a whopping 39-year age gap between the couple, it wasn’t mentioned once in the film. At the time, Catherine was 29 while Sean was 69 — which actually made some of his stunts in his role as an accomplished thief pretty impressive.
In the political satire “Bulworth,” Warren Beatty played a disillusioned politician who falls for Halle Berry’s character Nina after considering ending his life. While their romance blossomed on screen, there was actually a 30-year age gap between the actors. At the time of filming, Halle was 31 while Warren was 61.
Keira Knightley and Steve Carell’s relationship turns romantic in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” despite their age difference. In real life, there’s a 22-year age gap between them and while working on the film, Keira was 27 while Steve was 49.
“Birdman” co-stars Michael Keaton and Andrea Riseborough’s relationship wasn’t a major plot point in their 2014 flick, so some viewers may not have even realized that they share a three-decade age gap. At the time of filming, Andrea was 30 while Michael was twice her age at 60.
In “Mighty Aphrodite,” Woody Allen was 60 years old while his co-star Mira Sorvino was just 28. Not only is the age gap a point of concern, but in the film, Mira’s character is the mother of the child adopted by Woody’s character and his on-screen wife. Despite winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her role, Mira says she has a lot of regrets about working on the film, mostly having to do with the controversy surrounding Woody and not their age difference.
“I didn’t look deep enough to actually educate myself to really make an educated opinion at the time. It’s not an excuse…It’s so hard to talk about it now because I now have a very different opinion of Woody than I did now,” Mira said on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast.
While working on “Crazy Heart,” Jeff Bridges was 58 years old and Maggie Gyllenhaal was 31. In the film, Maggie played a young journalist who helps Otis, an alcoholic country music singer, stop drinking and turn his life around. Despite the positive effect her character has on Otis’ life, there was still a clear age difference when it came to their romantic relationship. Despite the gap, the roles earned Jeff an Oscar and Maggie a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
When Liam Neeson starred in “Unknown,” he was 58 while his co-star January Jones was 33. On-screen, they played husband and wife despite their 22-year age gap — although things went astray for the couple when Liam’s character is in an accident and wakes up with amnesia.
In “A Perfect Murder,” Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow portray husband and wife despite the fact that Michael was 53 and Gwyneth was just 25 at the time of filming. On top of that, Michael was a longtime family friend, making the whole situation even weirder for the young actress.
“Obviously, it’s sort of creepy if in real life I’d be married to Michael Douglas…There’s definitely an uncomfortable age difference,” Gwyneth said, per Ranker.
11. Drew Barrymore & Tom Skerritt
While Drew Barrymore was just 17 when she starred in “Poison Ivy” with a 58-year-old Tom Skerritt, their age gap was actually an intentional part of the plot. In the film, Drew plays a teenager who wants to be a part of a family so desperately that she attempts to seduce her best friend’s father. The movie even included some intimate scenes between the duo — which ended up being pretty controversial.