How Old Is Ann In 'Z For Zachariah'? Margot Robbie's Character Was Aged Up For The Apocalyptic Film
When casting a film adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1974 thriller, Z for Zachariah, 25-year-old Margot Robbie may seem like an odd choice to play the book's heroine, 16-year-old Ann Burden. It makes more sense when you learn that Ann has been aged up in the post-apocalyptic film, in which Ann believes she is the only person left alive, until she meets Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and then Caleb (Chris Pine). It's obvious that she's not the same age as she is in the book, but it's unclear exactly how old Ann is in Z for Zachariah — the general consensus seems to be somewhere between the ages of 18-21. In an interview with Vulture, Robbie described her character as a teenager, but it's clear the film's version of Ann is meant to be an adult, if only to take away the illicit, predatory nature of any sexual tension between Ann and Loomis or Caleb.
Ann's age isn't the only thing changed for the big screen. Caleb is a completely original character, replacing the original conflict of Loomis becoming a sexual predator with a sexually charged love triangle. Director Craig Zobel said this was very much his intention, telling Rolling Stone, "In the book, that [the threat of a sexual attack on Ann] is the crux of it, that is the breaking point. I was not eager to pursue that story because I had already kind of explored that [in Compliance]."
In Z for Zachariah, aging Ann lessens a certain creep factor in the sexual dynamics between the characters, once again, opening a door for a more normalized and easily accessible romantic plot. It also makes the suggestion that Ann may have to repopulate the planet a tad less disturbing, though only marginally. The movie isn't the only YA adaptation that has aged its main characters, though. In 2013, Brenton Thwaites, who was 24 at the time, was cast to star in the big screen adaptation of Lois Lowry's classic novel The Giver , which tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas. Director Phillip Noyce vaguely admitted that the desire to appeal to a teen demographic influenced the choice, telling Deadline that aging the characters served to "increase a sense of conflict and involvement for a wider movie-going audience." It also allows the film's characters (and actors) to be seen in perhaps a more "adult" way. For example, in The Giver, the aging of Jonas opened the door for a small romantic plot with Fiona (Odeya Rush).
With the Hollywood trend veering towards aging up, let's imagine what other childhood classics could be next to get the bump.
Make Roald Dahl's Matilda a few years older, and you've got a great shot at making another Teen Witch — a teenager who discovers magical powers and how to use them. Maybe she could sneak into the chokey with her crush to make out, or use her magic to organize the perfect nerd prom. The possibilities are endless.
The Baby-Sitters Club
The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin would almost be more believable if the girls were aged up a few years. Picture this: 16 or 17-year-old Kristy, Claudia and Mary Anne start the Baby-Sitters Club as a way to make money in order to pay for college, and just so happen to babysit for the younger sibling of a local hottie. I mean, this pretty much writes itself.
Judy Blume's classic novel about bullying in the 5th grade is as relevant as ever, and it could be just as effective if it were updated to a high school setting. It would also allow the story to expand beyond the mean girls narrative, showcasing how young men, or boys, react to their female classmates when bullying occurs around them.
To Kill A Mockingbird
If Scout were 16 instead of 10 in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, it would change the story in a big way, most notably because of the gender norms and expectations that would be placed on Scout as a young woman in the 1930s. Not to mention the fact that it could make for an interesting dynamic between her and Boo Radley.
There are endless possibilities here, but let's be glad that some of these classics stayed the way they are.
Images: Roadside Attractions; Giphy (5)