‘The Parent Trap’: Jena Malone Turned Down the Roles of Annie and Hallie

Hallie Parker and Annie James had every kid of the late ’90s with divorced parents believing that they too could miraculously get their parents back together. The creative scheming of Hallie and Annie made “parent trapping” look easy. While it was Lindsay Lohan that starred as the identical twin sisters in the 1998 movie The Parent Trap, the role was initially offered to actor Jena Malone. Read on to go down a Parent Trap memory lane and learn why Malone decided to turn down the role of the twin sisters.

Jena Malone smiling in front of a blue background
Jena Malone | Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

An unexpected summer camp experience  

The 1998 film known as The Parent Trap is a remake of the original 1961 film of the same name. In the remake, Lindsay Lohan stars as two pre-teen identical twins named Hallie and Annie. Like many pre-teens, Annie and Hallie are sent to a camp for a summer of fun and adventure. However, the two girls get more than they ever bargained for when they discover they are long-lost twin sisters. Shortly after the twins were born, their American father Nick and British mother Elizabeth split up.

Nick and Elizabeth decided the only fair thing to do was for each of them to take one twin and never speak to each other again. In a twist of fate, Elizabeth, played by Natasha Richardson, and Nick, played by Dennis Quaid, end up accidentally sending their daughters to the same summer camp. When British Annie meets American Hallie, the girls decide to swap lives to see how the other one lives and meet their other parent. The girls’ scheming ends up with their parents having to meet up again to switch them back. Their expert parent trapping has Elizabeth and Nick saying “I do” all over again.

Turning down The Parent Trap role three times 

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The 1998 romantic comedy film ended up being an iconic film and a huge box-office success. Lindsay Lohan received positive reviews and high praise for her performance inThe Parent Trap. While Lohan thrived in the role, producers had initially wanted to go in a different direction. Actor and musician Jena Malone told AV Club that she turned down the starring role in The Parent Trap three times before the role was ultimately filled by Lohan. 

While Malone turned down the opportunity to star in this iconic film, she found success through other avenues. Malone has started in over 40 feature films since beginning her career as a child actor in 1996. Her first role was in the 1996 film Bastard Out of Carolina. She went on to land roles in films like Donnie Darko, Pride & Prejudice, and The Hunger Games film series. Malone has had quite a successful acting career, despite turning down the starring role in The Parent Trap.

Other potential “Parent Trap” kids 

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While Malone turned down the roles of Annie and Hallie three times, she wasn’t the only child actor that producers had their eye on. According to BuzzFeed, Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Mara Wilson all auditioned for the roles of Hallie and Annie too. Each of these young ladies went on to have successful acting careers.

However, in retrospect, The Parent Trap just wouldn’t be the same without Lindsay Lohan. As a child actor, Lohan nailed the roles of both Hallie and Annie. While all the actors mentioned are certainly skilled at their job, The Parent Trap just wouldn’t be the same without Lohan. While she has experienced her own rise and fall in the public eye, she inspired many in a generation to try and pull “the perfect parent trap.”