Ben Platt Reacts (Again) To People Saying He’s Too Old To Play Evan Hansen

Ben Platt Reacts (Again) To People Saying He’s Too Old To Play Evan Hansen

Ben Platt Reacts (Again) To People Saying He’s Too Old To Play Evan Hansen

The musical “Dear Evan Hansen” was a Broadway hit in 2016, winning Tony Awards and becoming the must-see musical that year. It also introduced a lot of people to actor Ben Platt, who had been in the “Pitch Perfect” movies and on Broadway in “The Book of Mormon.” But “Dear Evan Hansen” made him a star. Now, the musical – like so many other musicals – is being made into a movie, with Ben Platt in the role he had onstage. However, Ben Platt was 21 when he landed the role of a high school student in the musical. He was 25 when he stopped playing it on-stage. He’s now 27 and playing a high schooler in the movie, and people have opinions.

So yeah, people have not been subtle in pointing out that he’s playing a character ten years younger than he actually is. He’s talked about the criticism a few times, including in an interview we just heard this week with Zach Sang. Platt said, “People like to have something to say that is negative, regardless of what it is. And so if my thing is something that I can’t control at all — which is my age — then bring it on. I’m glad it’s not about the performance or my voice or anything that actually matters.” He also said the movie probably wouldn’t have been made if he hadn’t been involved.

“The reaction is largely from people that don’t understand the context of the piece,” he said. “The fact that I created the role and workshopped it for 3 years, and did all of the out-of-town performances, and originated it on Broadway, and received the accolades that I did… and also not really understanding that were I not to do the movie, it probably wouldn’t get made.” He said instead of constantly defending himself, he wants people to just watch the movie and see. “My defensive response is to go on Twitter and be like, “Eff you guys, you don’t even know that this wouldn’t exist without me,'” Ben said. “And of course, that’s not true entirely and that’s not my place to say.”

When the trailer for the movie was released in May, he defended his role in a now-deleted tweet. “Thank you from the bottom of my [heart] for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday. The film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing people excited & moved makes it so deeply worth it.” He linked to a Vanity Fair interview and said, “P.S. to the randos being jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch Grease.” (Since we know you’re wondering, John Travolta was 23 and Olivia Newton-John was 29 when they filmed that movie.)

He’s also facing criticism and accusations of nepotism because his father, Marc Platt, who has produced movies including “Legally Blonde,” “La La Land,” and “Bridge of Spies” is producing this movie as well. To be fair, all the main characters playing high schoolers in the movie are no longer teenagers. Colton Ryan, who plays Connor Murphy, the boy who dies by suicide early in the story, is 25. Kaitlyn Dever plays Zoe, Connor’s 16-year-old sister and the girl Evan likes. She’s 24. Nik Dodani plays one of Evan’s…friends? Sort of? He helps Evan make up emails to keep up the story that the two were friends. In real life, Dodani is 26 years old. And Amandla Stenberg plays a classmate who helps Evan start The Connor Project to keep Connor’s memory alive. She’s the youngest main character at 22.

Then again, of everyone who made the musical a hit, Ben Platt was the only one to be cast in the movie. It’s not unusual for older stars to play teens in movies, and usually, they don’t get this kind of flak for it. Whether it’s because social media means we can all share our opinions quicker, or because “Dear Evan Hansen” has such a devoted cult following with definite opinions on the movie, this case definitely struck a nerve.

Here are a few other older actors who played teenagers.

Rachel McAdams played queen bee Regina George, a junior in high school in “Mean Girls,” was 25 while the movie was filming. In fact, Amy Poehler (“I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.”) was only 7 years older than her movie daughter. Andrew Garfield was 28 when he played high schooler Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Stacey Dash, who played Dionne in “Clueless” was 28. Cory Monteith was 27 during the first season of “Glee,” where he played jock Finn Hudson. Gabrielle Carteris, who was on the original “Beverly Hills 90210” was 29 (when her character graduated high school she was 32). And speaking of “Grease” the oldest high schooler in that movie was Stockard Channing, who played Rizzo. She was 33.

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