MOVIES AND TV SHOWS NEED TO START HIRING YOUNG ACTORS TO PLAY TEENAGERS
OPINION By Christina Tsetsakoy
Casey McQuiston’s book, Red, White & Royal Blue is being turned into a movie and with the cast list being released a couple of days ago, someone really needs to have a chat with the casting directors.
When I heard that one of my favorite books was being turned into a movie, I was super excited to see who would be playing the characters I fell in love with. Once I saw the cast list, I have to say I was a little bit disappointed.
Maybe that disappointment stemmed from the fact that when the cast list for the graphic novel to tv show adaptation of Heartstopper came out, it was composed of actual queer teenagers playing queer teenagers. Shows like Heartstopper had proper representation and audience members were able to see themselves reflected in these shows.
Representation matters, and the show did a good job casting actors that fit the basic physical descriptions of the characters, but both Alex and Henry are teenagers, and the people that were casted to play them are in their late twenties and thirties and are both straight. It’s disappointing that casting directors are not hiring queer teenagers or at least doing the bare minimum and casting teenagers to play the role of young people.
I am sick and tired of seeing adults playing kids just like they do in Riverdale. There are so many great young actors that would be suitable for these roles. By hiring older actors to play teenagers, the media is perpetuating unattainable ideals to these younger audiences.
It is so depressing to see teenagers not having someone like themselves being reflected in movies and TV shows. I know that in Red, White & Royal Blue, many teenagers are able to see themselves in these pages, but as much as I love to read books, many people don’t. They don’t get to see that representation in books and they seek it out in movies and TV shows.
Casting directors and other people who are involved in the casting process need to seek actors and actresses who are close in age with the people they are portraying. Also, we, as a society, need to see queer actors playing queer roles. Movies and TV shows are eliminating so many actors and actresses who can bring their own experiences to these roles.
I hope that in the future, casting directors seek out the right people for these roles and show their audiences that they will be able to have that representation. I am disappointed in the casting of Alex and Henry, and am sure that the actors are both very talented but they should have done better. They should have cast younger actors and queer actors to play these roles. It is not that hard and there are many shows who have been able to do it, such as Young Royals and Heartstopper.
I have never seen someone who looks like me play a role that was my age, and we need to work on that. Movies and shows need to start hiring teenagers to play teenagers. They need to start hiring gay and transgender actors to play gay and transgender roles. The world is changing, and the media needs to change with it.