Ben Platt Claps Back at Age Criticism Over Dear Evan Hansen Movie Role

While Tony winner Ben Platt is set to star in the movie adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen, the first trailer has sparked chatter over the actor's age. Read on for the performer's candid response.

By Samantha Schnurr May 20, 2021 1:43 PMTags
Watch: Ben Platt - 2020 Grammy Awards Glambot

Age ain't nothing but a number—but some critics apparently don't see it that way when it comes to Ben Platt's latest casting. 

The 27-year-old Tony Award winner is set to lead the upcoming Dear Evan Hansen film adaptation. The movie musical, due out in September, features Platt in the role of an anxious high school student that shot the actor into stardom back in 2016 when the show first debuted on Broadway. 

On Tuesday, May 18, the first trailer for the upcoming movie version dropped, spurring a flurry of reactions online, apparently including concerns about Platt playing a high school student as an adult. 

"Thank u from the bottom of my [heart] for the outpouring of trailer love yesterday," Platt wrote in a since-deleted tweet, per People. "The film required me to revisit areas of personal pain, so seeing ppl excited & moved makes it so deeply worth it."

With a link to Vanity Fair, he added, "PS to the randos beings jerks about age, read this great article and/or watch grease." 

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Of course, the reality of Platt aging was not lost on the actor nor those making the highly anticipated project. "I think everybody obviously had in their minds that I wasn't going to stay teen-adjacent forever," he told Vanity Fair. "The need to get it done was a little urgent. Then of course the pandemic happened, and I kind of assumed that was that—it would be a no-go, and by the time the pandemic was over, I'd have outgrown it."

As fans know now, that did not end up being the case. He started filming in September 2020, the movie marking one of Universal Pictures' first new projects amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Much to my pleasant surprise, Universal seemed to be really hell-bent on making it," he noted to Vanity Fair, "and specifically making it with me."

After all, Platt was hailed for his emotional performance night after night until he took his final bow as Hansen in November 2017. That year, he took home the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, one of six for the show. 

While his talent is clear as day in the new trailer, Platt had to put some physical work in to return to high school. "I'd lost about 15 pounds and did a very specific diet, grew my hair out, and was shaving to make sure that I didn't look like I had five o'clock shadow all the time," he told Vanity Fair. "I was just stripping myself into being a teenager for the last time. For what is hopefully the last time."

(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)