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I've been wanting to discuss this for awhile.

Disclaimer ahead. The topic is not meant to condone ageism or age discrimination. It's about definitions used by casting directors to successfully fill a role for a producer. It's about common sense really.

We do not expect a 25 year old actor to play a 4 year old kid in a movie.

We would not watch a 100 year old actress play a teen love interest.

So at what point does the performer effectively "age out" of a role...?

For instance, how long is it realistic for Tom Cruise to play action heroes? Not picking on him, he was just the first actor that came to mind. When do we say this guy has aged out of these kinds of roles, because it is no longer plausible for him play these characters.

Why aren't other male actors Cruise's age playing action heroes? Does it have to do with fitness, physique and mental attitude, that he can continue to convince audiences as this type of character? Or has he already started to age out of the role, and it is all beginning to look a bit silly..?

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Other actors are sane, not immortality-delusioned Scientologists, or both.

Some also work for studios other than Paramount or Universal, who think they can't sell an "action movie" anymore unless it has a franchise trademark.

And some aren't belligerent nutcases like Mel Gibson or Liam Neeson.

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What about Stallone in "The Expendables?" 

And, I don't know if I got this right or not, but wasn't a big reason for "The Rifleman" to go off the air was age.  Johnny Crawford was turning into a teen and he wasn't that little kid so reliant on his Pa anymore? Seems like I read that somewhere.

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Warner Baxter was getting to be too old to chase and fight criminals in the late 40s with the Crime Doctor serial.  

He was having health issues when he made the last one,  The Crime Doctor's Diary in 1949,  and passed at the age of 62,  3 years later.

Image result for the crime doctor's diary

 

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3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

 

We would not watch a 100 year old actress play a teen love interest.

 

Yeah.  The closest we came was HAROLD AND MAUDE  ;) 

Good subject though, TOP.   But there are a few examples of, in some "classic" movies, this sort of thing was overlooked.  Like....

In NORTH BY NORTHWEST, JESSIE ROYCE LANDIS being, in real life, only eight years older than her "son" CARY GRANT. 

Recent birthday boy SIDNEY POITIER playing a high school student while in life was pushing 30 in BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.

Or that a college graduate makes sense being portrayed by a 30 year old actor.  AND having a 40 year old actor playing his father?  (THE GRADUATE).

And DID over 40 military officers really fight in combat missions like TOM HANKS did in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, of JOHN WAYNE in THE LONGEST DAY? 

Yeah, I'd think any actor and/or producer with any sense of integrity would make age appropriate choices in their roles and casting decisions.

Sepiatone

 

 

 

 

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Love the comments so far. It occurs to me as I read these comments that successful child stars like Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor often "aged out" of roles as they grew older. But they managed to keep reinventing themselves, playing other more suitable roles as the decades went on.

Another thing that occurs to me, related to Kid Chaplin's comment above, is that The Rifleman might have gone off the air, but other shows stayed on the air by adding in new smaller children. For instance, there's a season of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet where the Nelson brothers are now in college and finding wives, where Ozzie starts mentoring cute little kids in the neighborhood. One of them is played by Barry Livingston before he was cast on My Three Sons. So they were able to still do some of the same types of stories for Oz they had done when his sons were younger by having him now interact with new younger children in guest roles or recurring roles.

In the case of TV's Family Ties sitcom in the 80s, Tina Yothers became too old to play the sassy kid sister, so they aged the baby that Steven & Elyse had, by casting him with young Brian Bonsall who in the last two seasons was now the wisecracking kid brother. Needless to say Tina Yothers' screen time decreased drastically. But they were still able to keep the formula intact, which was Alex the older brother (Michael J. Fox) taking the younger sibling under his wing.

As we see with the Nelsons' sitcom and Family Ties the producers and writers were able to keep those shows on the air, even though some of the performers had basically aged out of their earlier roles.

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Other shows end like that.  Eventually, there would have come a time when WALLY and THE BEAVER had to grow up and move out on their own.  So, best to end the whole thing on a high note.   

Sepiatone

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20 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Other shows end like that.  Eventually, there would have come a time when WALLY and THE BEAVER had to grow up and move out on their own.  So, best to end the whole thing on a high note.   

Sepiatone

But then two decades later they did The New Leave It to Beaver which filmed over 100 episodes and depicted Wally and Beaver now in the father-type role overseeing the next generation of Cleavers, while June was now Grandma.

If a concept is a hit with viewers (and a show becomes a cultural institution) the producers try to find ways to keep it going. Granted the Beaver sequel is not at all the classic the original show was, but it still kept those characters alive on screen which is what audiences in the 1980s wanted to see. They all made a shedload of money doing The New Leave It to Beaver.

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42 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Love the comments so far. It occurs to me as I read these comments that successful child stars like Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor often "aged out" of roles as they grew older. But they managed to keep reinventing themselves, playing other more suitable roles as the decades went on.

Another thing that occurs to me, related to Kid Chaplin's comment above, is that The Rifleman might have gone off the air, but other shows stayed on the air by adding in new smaller children. For instance, there's a season of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet where the Nelson brothers are now in college and finding wives, where Ozzie starts mentoring cute little kids in the neighborhood. One of them is played by Barry Livingston before he was cast on My Three Sons. So they were able to still do some of the same types of stories for Oz they had done when his sons were younger by having him now interact with new younger children in guest roles or recurring roles.

In the case of TV's Family Ties sitcom in the 80s, Tina Yothers became too old to play the sassy kid sister, so they aged the baby that Steven & Elyse had, by casting him with young Brian Bonsall who in the last two seasons was now the wisecracking kid brother. Needless to say Tina Yothers' screen time decreased drastically. But they were still able to keep the formula intact, which was Alex the older brother (Michael J. Fox) taking the younger sibling under his wing.

As we see with the Nelsons' sitcom and Family Ties the producers and writers were able to keep those shows on the air, even though some of the performers had basically aged out of their earlier roles.

It happens often with family sitcoms.  My Three Sons did it three times: adding the Ernie character to keep the son count at 3 (poor Mike is forgotten, much like Chuck on Happy Days); adding the triplets; adding Dodie.  The Brady Bunch did it at the end of its run (though from what I read, TBB was on a perpetual 13 week order status, until it wasn't, so they never knew if they were returning after getting a 13 episode run in the can).   Some sitcoms just ditch the kids altogether (The Lucy Show, The Doris Day Show)

 

 

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I believe "The Expendables 4" is the last one. Stallone was quoted as saying something about leaving it to a "new generation" or something like that. So I dont know if that is a hint towards more "Expendables" with younger casting or what. 

Is aging out why maybe "Happy Days" ran it's course? Because ever school age kid was grown and off into adulthood? 

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1 minute ago, txfilmfan said:

It happens often with family sitcoms.  My Three Sons did it three times: adding the Ernie character to keep the son count at 3 (poor Mike is forgotten, much like Chuck on Happy Days); adding the triplets; adding Dodie.  The Brady Bunch did it at the end of its run (though from what I read, TBB was on a perpetual 13 week order status, until it wasn't, so they never knew if they were returning after getting a 13 episode run in the can).   Some sitcoms just ditch the kids altogether (The Lucy Show, The Doris Day Show)

I don't think Lucille Ball wanted to ditch the kids, at first. But there were two things that caused her to fire the child actors on The Lucy Show. The first thing is that Vivian Vance was tired of commuting from the east coast and wanted to reduce her  participation. So when her character dropped out of sight, it didn't make sense to keep the boy who played her son. The second thing is that after Viv quit, the network thought Lucy should beef up the role of Lucy's daughter (played by Candy Moore). She was rather popular with viewers and apparently very popular with the network bigwigs.

But Lucy felt that if she started throwing too many plots in that direction, then she would be displaced as the main focus of the show. She told the network that they had to choose between her character or the daughter character as the focus. Obviously Candy Moore did not have the industry experience or clout to carry the show herself, it was Lucille Ball's show. Ball fired Moore and called CBS's bluff. The network did not axe the series as it had threatened to do, since it was still very highly rated. It ran for three more season with a significant format change.

When they returned the following season, Lucy's character moved to California, explaining why Viv was no longer around. Lucy's daughter and son had been sent to boarding schools. The boy who played Lucy's son guest-starred two or three more times, but Candy Moore never appeared again on the series.

***

As for My Three Sons you are correct that they kept revising the formula by adding in other kids. I corresponded with Don Grady before he died. I asked him some questions. He didn't answer all my questions, but the things he told me were very interesting. He jokingly said Tina Cole (who played his onscreen wife Katie) was mad at him and refused to talk to him for a few years after he quit the show. He quit at the end of the 11th season and did not appear in the 12th and final season at all, though Tina's character and the triplets remained on screen.

He said producer Don Fedderson and the network (CBS) were not going to renew Fred MacMurray's contract. The idea was that Robby & Katie were going to be launched into a spinoff, which would also be called My Three Sons or something similar to that, because the triplets were Robby's three sons. 

Don quit because he wanted to devote himself to his music career. After he left, Fedderson and the network were unable to continue with the spinoff idea. Don said Tina was upset because it meant she lost the chance to star in her own sitcom with Don, which would have been quite lucrative for her, as well as for him. But he was done playing Robby and had no interest in the spinoff. He did remain good friends with Tina.

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13 minutes ago, KidChaplin said:

Don't forget "All in the Family" adding little Stephanie when Mike and Gloria moved on. 

Yes, excellent example. She also continued on the follow-up series Archie Bunker's Place. Another niece was added on ABP. Stephanie was Edith's niece, and new character Billie (older than Stephanie) was Archie's niece.

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Seems like that's industry standard....characters are too old, move on, quit show or ratings go down......add a kid! 😂

And as I wrote that.....Raven Symone in "The Cosby Show" popped into my head. 🙄

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Actresses who could play a certain role on stage successfully might look too old to play the same character onscreen. Mary Martin is the classic example. By the time South Pacific was filmed, Rodgers and Hammerstein thought she looked too old to play Nellie Forbush onscreen and they cast Mitzi Gaynor instead. Martin was unhappy about this, and there was something of a rift between her and R&H until The Sound of Music was a big Broadway hit for everyone. Of course Martin wanted to repeat the role on film, but once again Rodgers knew she would look too old in close-ups.

Although Mary Martin did a TV version of her Broadway hit Peter Pan, there was no movie version probably because the role was so identified with her, yet she would look too old in close-ups.

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11 minutes ago, KidChaplin said:

Seems like that's industry standard....characters are too old, move on, quit show or ratings go down......add a kid! 😂

And as I wrote that.....Raven Symone in "The Cosby Show" popped into my head. 🙄

Yes. In that case, she became very popular, at least with Cosby and the writers...and soon they were developing a lot of plots around her character. She even remained on the show after Lisa Bonet was fired/quit/whatever. And she had been introduced as Bonet's new stepdaughter.

In fact Raven Symone became so prominent on The Cosby Show that with the exception of Malcolm Jamal Warner who played the only son, the other kids were pushed into the background. Basically Raven Symone took over in the sort of role that had been defined for Keshia Knight Pulliam who played youngest daughter Rudy.

When I watched the episodes of those later seasons I would feel sorry for Keshia. She was given no more than five lines, she was in and out of a scene quickly and had no storylines. She became a glorified extra. Keshia found later success as a regular on Tyler Perry's House of Payne which is still producing new episodes as I write this. So good for her!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keshia_Knight_Pulliam

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There's a funny quote I read that was attributed to Roger Moore.

Screen shot 2017-04-14 at 11.23.06 AM.png

He was talking about the end of his time as 007. He jokingly said, and I am paraphrasing: "I was about 400 years old when we made A VIEW TO A KILL." Even he acknowledged he had aged out of the role. I think he underwent plastic surgery between OCTOPUSSY (1983) and A VIEW TO A KILL (1985) to continue to look age-appropriate as Bond.

Screen shot 2017-04-14 at 11.22.02 AM.png

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how about William Shatner as James Kirk? he didn't age out of the role he was kicked out of it by the skunks at Paramount.

Shatner made that show what is was and deserved better.

 

Image result for william shatner kirk

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I know that part of your original point was that franchises are an unimaginative way to keep the careers of actors going, but I personally am looking forward to Harrison Ford as Indy again. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made allowances for the aging of the character and I expect a new installment will do the same. I think the fact that he is basically a tenured professor who occasionally gets drawn back into the kind of adventures which defined his youth makes the scenario all the more plausible. I was also pleased to see Carrie Fisher in the latest round of Star Wars trilogies. It made sense that in time she would have moved up to a position of power and respect in the military, so again the appropriate aging of the character was taken into consideration. 

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3 minutes ago, DougieB said:

I know that part of your original point was that franchises are an unimaginative way to keep the careers of actors going, but I personally am looking forward to Harrison Ford as Indy again. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made allowances for the aging of the character and I expect a new installment will do the same. I think the fact that he is basically a tenured professor who occasionally gets drawn back into the kind of adventures which defined his youth makes the scenario all the more plausible. I was also pleased to see Carrie Fisher in the latest round of Star Wars trilogies. It made sense that in time she would have moved up to a position of power and respect in the military, so again the appropriate aging of the character was taken into consideration. 

Interesting points. But how long can we expect Ford and Cruise to keep playing these roles, realistically?

What about female actors...will Gal Gadot have a long run as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman?

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11 hours ago, TopBilled said:

There's a funny quote I read that was attributed to Roger Moore.

Screen shot 2017-04-14 at 11.23.06 AM.png

He was talking about the end of his time as 007. He jokingly said, and I am paraphrasing: "I was about 400 years old when we made A VIEW TO A KILL." Even he acknowledged he had aged out of the role. I think he underwent plastic surgery between OCTOPUSSY (1983) and A VIEW TO A KILL (1985) to continue to look age-appropriate as Bond.

Screen shot 2017-04-14 at 11.22.02 AM.png

Honestly.. ...im Not Saying Either of These are Neccesarily my "FAVOURITE" Bond Outing..

 

 

I Make No Apologies (though) For Saying I Like,/Love BOTH and have Scene BOTH +MANY X's ...

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6 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Interesting points. But how long can we expect Ford and Cruise to keep playing these roles, realistically?

What about female actors...will Gal Gadot have a long run as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman?

This is Probably more of a Caveat,, and a Sidenote More than Anything but i (FREAKIN') LOVED.. ...Madam Lynda's Cameo at the end of W.W, numeral 2 ..

👌💎👍👍👍👙👍👍🎨🌈

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17 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I've been wanting to discuss this for awhile.

Disclaimer ahead. The topic is not meant to condone ageism or age discrimination. It's about definitions used by casting directors to successfully fill a role for a producer. It's about common sense really.

We do not expect a 25 year old actor to play a 4 year old kid in a movie.

We would not watch a 100 year old actress play a teen love interest.

So at what point does the performer effectively "age out" of a role...?

For instance, how long is it realistic for Tom Cruise to play action heroes? Not picking on him, he was just the first actor that came to mind. When do we say this guy has aged out of these kinds of roles, because it is no longer plausible for him play these characters.

Why aren't other male actors Cruise's age playing action heroes? Does it have to do with fitness, physique and mental attitude, that he can continue to convince audiences as this type of character? Or has he already started to age out of the role, and it is all beginning to look a bit silly..?

 

While Not Wanting..

... ,.Nor Wishing ..

To Cast Dispersions over such an.. ..Quite Frankly Interesting Topic ..

_

I think that (additionally) .....

..

... .there are some Storys and Scripts..

 

That Dont (Necessarily) Apply to Such a "too old" Scenario and Template .....

 

 

 

Science Fiction in particular ..

. ... ..

Additionally ..

 

 

 

      Not to (proverbially) throw **** at (Any,) Performers .. .... Actresses .. ...(n)or Actors in saying this..

     Sometimes (though) ... .. ........ .. the .. Sheer Longevity of Certain Performers and Artists .. (more or less) "transcends" such talk.. in effect,, making Such "older than" Considerations Moot ... .

 

 

 

As but three examples.. .

...

Mel Brooks ..

Dick Van Dyke ,. ..

And "Last" but Certainly Not Least, Dame Sally Ann Howes ...

. ... .....

I think..

 

 

 

Some Dramas too..

 

 

..Might Be.. .... ..Rather "Resilient" Against a(ny) "too old" considerations ...

 

 

 

 

Brimstone. 

The Shoes of the Fisherman,.. ...

And

And American Honey,

 

- as but three (Possible) Examples...

 

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