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Why is Ben Platt canceled? Nepotism controversy explained as “Dear Evan Hansen” star’s age comes under fire online

Ben Platt is under fire for being “too old” to reprise his role on the “Dear Evan Hansen” film adaptation (Image via Getty Images)
Ben Platt is under fire for being “too old” to reprise his role on the “Dear Evan Hansen” film adaptation (Image via Getty Images)
Barsha Roy
ANALYST

Actor Ben Platt recently landed in hot waters after being cast to reprise his titular role in the movie adaptation of the musical Dear Evan Hansen. He has been repeatedly called out for his agreement to play a character more than ten years his junior in the movie.

The controversy surrounding the actor’s age began immediately after the trailer for the film was released nearly three months ago. Critics quickly pointed out that the 27-year-old artist was “too old” to play a 17-year-old high school student.

Several film enthusiasts have also dubbed the casting an act of nepotism as Ben’s father, Marc Platt, is a renowned film, television, and theatre producer. He is also the producer of the Dear Evan Hansen film adaptation.

Following the criticism, Ben Platt addressed the controversy during an appearance on The Zach Sang Show earlier this year:

“I think you know 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.”

The Tony Award winner further talked about his contribution towards the production and mentioned that he created the role and deserved all the accolades:

“I think the reactions are largely from people that don’t know the context of the piece; the fact that I created the role and workshopped it for three years and did all of the out-of-town productions and originated on Broadway and received the accolades that I did.”

Things took a turn for the worse when he claimed that the film would not have been made without him being cast for the leading role:

‘Were I not to do the movie, it probably wouldn’t get made. And so I think, you know, my defensive response is to want to like, go onto Twitter and be like, you know ‘F you guys, like you, don’t even know that like this wouldn’t exist without me.’”

The Broadway star also corrected the fact that his statement was not wholly accurate and mentioned that he was unsure if his absence would make the project possible.

However, the comment left the online community enraged, leading the actor to face the “cancel culture” on social media. He faced severe backlash once again after a screening of the film at the 2021 Toronto International Festival earlier this month.


The internet calls out Ben Platt reprising his role on “Dear Evan Hansen”

Ben Platt stars as Evan Hansen in the film adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen”, produced by his father, Marc Platt (Image via YouTube/Universal Pictures/Dear Evan Hansen)
Ben Platt stars as Evan Hansen in the film adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen”, produced by his father, Marc Platt (Image via YouTube/Universal Pictures/Dear Evan Hansen)

Ben Platt’s casting was met with criticism as viewers called out the star for taking up a character several years younger than him in reality. Critics also condemned the appearance of Evan Hansen, stating that the character looked much older than a high schooler in the film.

Meanwhile, many viewers suggested that the casting was a result of nepotism. Following a screening of the film in Toronto, netizens flocked to Twitter to cancel the award-winning actor for reprising his classic role:

Ben Platt's face in the CGI de-aged version of Dear Evan Hansen https://t.co/i7qMQLgvYn
Ben Platt as Evan Hanson looks like what would happen if you drank from the Fountain of Youth while standing on the beach that makes you old. https://t.co/MRpYx9XNvo
ben platt could have just played a teacher or something
If you look up "nepotism" in the dictionary, they actually dont have a picture of Ben Platt there because his dad knew the guy who owned the printing company. twitter.com/y2k_bot/status…
ben platt is out here whining about how they couldn’t have done the dear evan hansen movie without him because he’s the original, meanwhile mike faist wasn’t invited back and he was nominated for a tony for originating the role of connor… its nepotism babes
No one is “piling” on Ben Platt because he’s not talented. It’s the nepotism. Every other role from Broadway was recast. If his dad wasn’t the producer he would not have been in the movie. 💯
He is the real Evan Hansen that should’ve been in the movie instead on Ben Platt https://t.co/czrveCcdzr
Ben Platt reading the Dear Evan Hansen reviews. https://t.co/sOcB9Z1ln8
People are upset about Ben Platt’s age in a role he originated when really they should look at the nepotism that got him there in the first place
Not only is the plot to Dear Evan Hansen completely insane.... Ben Platt's father is the producer of the movie??? I can't believe there is such nepotism in Hollywood????
I have this unexplainable dislike of Ben Platt. I think it’s the nepotism.
Ben Platt auditioning for Dear Evan Hansen like https://t.co/E6zVupUDSH
Oh my god, the new de-aging cgi for Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hanson looks amazing!! https://t.co/OzSmt7aB3h
What’s more outrageous than Ben Platt playing a teenager is that his father, Marc Platt, a Producer of #DearEvanHansen, brazenly casted his own son as the lead. Hollywood doesn’t even try to hide the nepotism. It’s in plain sight.

However, a few fans came to the actor’s defense and called out the haters:

I don’t know who needs to hear this but Ben Platt is not and never will be canceled. Please get a grip ✨❤️
I love Tik tok but all those kids think Ben Platt is cancelled because his casting as Evan Hansen was “nepotism.” Babes he originated the role ahhhh! I am crying!!!!!
people making fun of ben platt as evan hansen forget that there are literally millions of high schoolers who look like they're in their thirties and their story needs to be told
Just saw someone say that because Ben Platt acted entitled and said Dear Evan Hansen wouldn’t exist without him he’s cancelled. And because he’s a nepotism baby. GET A GRIP.

About Ben Platt

The California native is an acclaimed Broadway actor, singer, and songwriter who rose to prominence as a child actor appearing in musicals like The Sound of Music and The Book of Mormon. He catapulted to fame after portraying the titular role in the 2015 coming-of-age musical Dear Evan Hansen.

He played Evan Hansen, a high school student suffering from social anxiety, and earned critical acclaim for his role worldwide. The role also earned him multiple accolades, including Tony, Emmy, and Grammy awards.

He also created history by becoming the youngest solo winner of the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical at 23. Surprisingly, the actor received a completely contradictory reaction after revealing he would reprise his role in the film adaptation of the musical.

As reactions about Ben Platt’s casting continue to come in thick and fast, it remains to be seen if the controversy surrounding his age and nepotism drama will affect the film upon its release.

Dear Evan Hansen is reportedly set to hit theatres on September 24, 2021, on the day of Ben’s 28th birthday. The film is directed by Stephen Chbosky and stars Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Colton Ryan, and Kaitlyn Denver in leading roles.


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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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