Break out the peanut butter and Oreos: The cast of “The Parent Trap” reunited on Monday for the first time since filming the 1998 movie, for a special on Katie Couric’s Instagram that raised funds for World Central Kitchen.
Director Nancy Meyers, writer Charles Shyer, and actors Dennis Quaid, Lindsay Lohan, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz gathered to celebrate the family film which put Lohan on the map. She played a pair of twins, Hallie and Annie, who meet for the first time at camp and realize that their parents had separated them and kept them a secret from each other. They devise a plan to switch parents, with one going to their father Nick Parker (Quaid) and the other to their mother Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson). James’ butler Martin (Kunz) and Parker’s nanny Chessy (Walter) round out the cast, with the movie’s villain, Parker’s fiancée Meredith Blake (Hendrix), trying to force the twins away from their father.
Meyers and Shyer discussed the casting process with Couric, revealing that Lohan was the second or third girl out of six competing for the dual role. Shyer said that within the first few minutes both filmmakers “knew she had the part.”
“Putting aside how adorable she looked, she had that quality that just sort of leapt up at you and pulled you in,” Meyers said. “I think, to be a movie star, to be the lead of the movie, you need to have that connection with the camera that’s very present.”
Meyers then talked about the challenges of filming both twins without making it obvious that Lohan was just one actress. Meyers had to pick the take and match the characters on the spot, telling Lohan when she had to switch parts. Lindsay’s double Erin Mackey was on hand every day of the shoot.
“If you turn just a little bit too much, you could see that it wasn’t Lindsay, but it was ultimately a fun experience and experiment,” Meyers said. “It worked, and even if you look at it now, it looks pretty good.”
In terms of playing the two roles, Lohan shared a key acting tip.
“I feel like, and I don’t know if this goes for all actors, but once you put a wig on someone, you feel different,” Lohan said. “You’re stepping out of your comfort zone and you kind of become the other character. I feel like people treated me differently when I was Annie, because Annie was so much nicer and Hallie was just kind of like me.”
Richardson, who died in 2009 after a traumatic brain injury while skiing, was remembered by the cast during the special.
“Natasha had such an elegance and grace, and she was so maternal to me,” Lohan said.
Quaid, who played Richardson’s ex-husband in the film, started choking up while he spoke of the late actress.
“[She was] just somebody so giving and so glad to be there and transmitted that joy of being able to do what we do and just made everything that much better,” Quaid said.
Hendrix added that Richardson would “swoon” over husband Liam Neeson in the makeup trailer, calling him “my Liam.”
As for the legacy of “The Parent Trap,” the cast and crew weighed in on why it still resonates over two decades later. Shyer said that the message of kids wanting their parents to reunite is a timeless theme.
“This movie had the fantasy of getting your parents back together,” Shyer said. “So many kids come from broken homes. I did, and I think it fulfilled that dream for kids.”
For Meyers, the film was her directorial debut, and she said that “The Parent Trap” answers an age-old question: Is there someone else out there like me?
“It was like magic,” she said. “It was like there’s another person like me that I can have this relationship with, more than a sister, as they say in the movie.”
For Lohan, the film created the opportunity for her to star in a run of successful movies, including “Mean Girls,” “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” “Herbie Fully Loaded” and “Freaky Friday.”
“I didn’t feel like I was working, it just felt like a really incredible learning experience for me and a lot of fun,” she said. “My parents were kind of separating at the time when this was all going on, and it made it a lot easier for me to play these characters that were figuring it out. I just felt so lucky and really blessed by Nancy and Charles. Without this movie, I wouldn’t have gotten the acting bug. How do you not want to only act for the rest of your life after doing a film like this?”