Lindsay Lohan Beat Out Three Major Actors for Her Role in ‘The Parent Trap’

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of The Parent Trap remake. The 1998 Disney film introduced the world to a young Lindsay Lohan, turning her into an instant star. The Parent Trap has become a classic but if it weren’t for Lohan, the film may not have the same spark. As it turns out, Lohan beat out some of today’s biggest stars for the coveted role.

Lindsay Lohan in 'The Parent Trap'
Lindsay Lohan in ‘The Parent Trap’ via Twitter

Scarlett Johansson, Jena Malone, and Mara Wilson auditioned for the roles of Hallie and Annie Parker in ‘The Parent Trapp’

Casting directors for The Parent Trap set their sights on finding the perfect actor. The goal was to match or supersede the magic of the 1961 original film.

The Parent Trap tells the story of twin sisters Annie James and Hallie Parker. The two discover one another at a summer camp after realizing they were separated at birth. The girls swap places for a chance to get to know their long lost parents with the hopes of soon reuniting as a family.

A massive search took place for the lead roles. Over 1,500 young actors auditioned for the coveted spots, with some famous faces participating in the audition process.

Casting directors loved Malone, but the young actor was not convinced about the part.

“I turned down Parent Trap like three times,” she told AV Club in 2014. Malone revealed in a 1997 interview with the LA Times that her agent begged her to take the part. She’d also turned down other big films, including Volcano and Air Force One but opted for films with more dramatic tones including Bastard Out Of Carolina and Hidden In America. 

Johansson on the other hand desperately wanted the part. In a 2017 interview with Metro UK, Johansson spoke of losing the part: “[When it came to The Parent Trap, I started to get bitter…it was hard for me,” she said.

Wilson was fresh off her success from the 1996 film Matilda when she auditioned for The Parent Trap. Casting directors told Wilson she was too young for the role. 

Lindsay Lohan as both twins in ‘The Parent Trap’

The Parent Trap writer and director handpicked Lohan as the famous twins. Producers used a body double for scenes that featured both twins. For split screens, Lohan wore a small earpiece that fed her the lines of the other sister.

In a 1998 interview with singer and actor Christina Milian, Lohan explained what tools she used to embody the differences in the twin sisters.

Related: Chessy and Meredith from ‘The Parent Trap’ Are Like ‘Family’ In Real Life

“I just thought how proper one was and then how calm and cool one was ready to hang out,” she said. “

In a 2020 interview with People Magazine, Lohan explained that playing long lost twins was easy, considering her own parents were divorcing at the time.

“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,” she said.

Lohan’s performance in The Parent Trap received critical acclaim. The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office opening weekend.