Similar to the teen drama Gossip Girl, Netflix‘s Ginny & Georgia has actors in their 20s playing 15 and 16-year-old characters.
Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley recently appeared on Conan O’Brien’s podcast and reflected on playing a teenager in his 20s. And Ginny & Georgia star, 28-year-old Damian Romeo, who plays angsty teen Matt Press says casting young adults to play teen characters adds that extra-dimensional layer that someone who is actually in their teens may not have.
The ‘Ginny & Georgia’ cast brings a unique teen perspective
Badgley said on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast that twentysomethings playing teens unrealistically “glamorizes” adolescence. And it does to an extent. But Romeo also believes that it allows the actors to bring more of a reflective aspect to their performance.
“I think that specifically with my performance as Matt Press, I think that I was able to understand it and break down the reasons why he was saying [certain things],” Romeo told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I built my own backstory behind his reasoning and my behaviors. And I did it in a way that I could relate to Matt Press as well.”
Damian Romeo shares why an older cast is better in the ‘Ginny & Georgia’ teen roles
Similar to Gossip Girl, Ginny & Georgia attacks sensitive subject matters, which include teen intimacy, self-harm, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and more. Romeo said having older actors in the younger roles is a smarter decision for a few reasons.
“Number one it’s always better if older [actors] play younger [characters] so that they can showcase that kind of true dynamic range of their characters,” he explained. “And then number two, if there’s any intimate scenes, I think that older people doing those intimate scenes are going to be much more comfortable to watch than anybody under 21 at least. I don’t think that people would even want to watch that.”
Damian reveals Matt Press has a troubled background
Romeo also had the maturity to build a teen character with a multi-layered backstory. “As an actor, it’s sort of my job to create my own story. And one of the things I thought he was dealing with was a really hard family home,” Romeo shared. “I think his father maybe does not communicate with him at all.”
“Maybe his father is the one bullying him,” he added. “And so when he approaches school, he just imitates his father because that’s the only role model he has in his life. That’s why it’s kind of what he sees at home in terms of his reactions to his friends. Every young boy growing up learns from their father. And if their father is being mean to them, maybe they think that that’s also a sign of love.”
Matt Press and Abby (Katie Douglas) have a flirtatious but destructive relationship – something Romeo says his character is clueless about too.
“I think that translated with Abby’s character,” he said. “I think secretly, deep down inside, Press really likes Abby. And he doesn’t really quite know how to showcase his emotions. So he teases her and he calls her ‘whale legs.’ And he says all these things that hurt her. But I don’t think he knows how much it does hurt her. And there is a scene where it’s the first time Matt Press realizes that Abby is taping her legs. It’s a brief scene. But in that scene, you can see it in Matt Press’s expression that it’s the first time he realizes that his words do mean harm even when he doesn’t want them to.”
Ginny & Georgia Seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Netflix.