‘The Parent Trap’: Lindsay Lohan and Simon Kunz Spent Hours Creating Annie and Martin’s Handshake

For most people, the mere mention of The Parent Trap triggers nostalgic feelings. It’s one of those rare, special movies that everyone loves. Most people agree that it’s a really cute movie with an excellent cast that was a lot of fun to watch. While everyone has a favorite scene, many aren’t aware of what went on backstage. For example, while many have worked hard to perfect the secret handshake Annie and her butler shared, few realize how hard Lindsay Lohan and Simon Kunz worked to create that touching scene.

Lindsay Lohan at 'The Parent Trap' premiere, 1998
Lindsay Lohan | Barry King/Getty Images

What was The Parent Trap?

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The 1998 movie, The Parent Trap, was a remake (and modernized) version of a movie by the same name that debuted in 1961. The ’98 version starred Lindsay Lohan who did double duty playing the parts of both Hallie Parker and Annie James. The two girls are twins who were separated shortly after birth when their parents divorced. Each parent kept one of the girls.

The twins are reunited when they both attend a summer camp. They quickly decide to swap roles so that they have an opportunity to get to know the parent who didn’t raise them. It isn’t long before both girls hatch a plan to reunite their parents. The movie is both funny and heartwarming, though there are several spots that are relatively cheesy. Critics loved the remake, too.

The Parent Trap is based on story elements so ancient and foolproof, they must have their roots in Shakespeare’s day: the twins changing places, their divorced parents falling in love again, and, for low comedy, their servants falling in love, too.” Roger Ebert stated in his review.

The famous handshake

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One of the most adorable scenes in The Parent Trap featured Annie and her butler, Martin exchanging a secret handshake. While this was a small part of the movie, it really drove home how strong a bond the two shared. While both Lindsay Lohan and Simon Kunz knew how important that scene was, they quickly discovered creating what would become a signature move wasn’t easy. The pair spent a great deal of time coming up with the spectacular choreography. 

“The first time [Lindsay and I] met up, we worked on the handshake idea, about what it could be,” Kunz explained in a Bustle interview. “I think I’d done something in the audition, just mucking about without Lindsay there, just doing silly moves. They liked a few of those, and so we basically spent an afternoon, two or three hours really, just working out that routine… If you ask me right now [to do it], I’d know one or two bits there, but I tell you what, it would only take me 20 minutes and then I’d have it absolutely down pat.”

The Parent Trap had some other sweet moments on set

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Another memorable scene took place when melted chocolate was poured all over Marva Sr. and Marva Jr. The characters planned on inspecting Annie’s cabin. Annie used the melted chocolate as a sweet deterrent. The scene is hysterically funny though it sounds like what happened off-camera was even funnier. Before the chocolate-covered actors Polly Holliday and Maggie Wheeler could wash the sticky substance off, it hardened.

“It was an open-air golf cart, so with the air blowing on us, the chocolate hardened,” Maggie Wheeler told Bustle, “… so by the time we got to the showers, we were like chocolate bunnies … We had to move our limbs and crack the chocolate off.”