It’s been two decades since Dennis Quaid played Lindsay Lohan’s dad in Disney’s remake of “The Parent Trap,” and he still remembers his first meeting with the child star.
“I met Lindsay at her screen test, and she was over by the craft service table,” Quaid told TODAY. “I just went over to meet her, and she struck me as the smartest, most precocious 11-year-old I think I'd ever met. She just had this confidence about her. She didn't have the part yet. You know, there were four other girls that were all auditioning. But it was just pretty obvious that this was somebody who was really talented, and was going to go beyond ‘The Parent Trap.’ She was a force.”
In the film, which tells the story of twins separated at birth who meet at summer camp and scheme to reunite their estranged parents, Lohan carried the dual roles of Hallie and Annie.
“She was just so spot-on,” recalled Quaid, 66. “She knew my lines, her lines, everybody's lines. And then she would, you know, disappear for about 10 minutes and come back. And she was the other twin.”
“We had to shoot things twice, and she would be seamless,” he added. “She would go from this English accent to this American little girl. And how she did it was really just so admirable. She was like a chameleon, the way she could slip into each character.”
Quaid said his favorite moments from the movie include the conversation his character, Nick Parker, has with daughter Hallie — not realizing it’s really her sister, Annie — after picking her up from the airport, and the scene in which Nick falls into a hotel pool after seeing the twins’ mom, Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson).
Quaid also has fond memories of working with the late Richardson, who died after a skiing accident in 2009.
“She was just always just so great to talk to. She came to work just ready to work and with her attitude and her personality, she was just fantastic to be around. She just made you feel good. She had her boys come to the set. And she was devoted to them. She was just such a great mom herself. And just a lot of fun to be around.”
Quaid understands why the movie’s popularity has lasted, more than two decades later.
“I remember as a boy loving Hayley Mills in ‘The Parent Trap,’” he said. “It's just a story that endures. And you know, there's a lot of theories about it. It's sort of a kid-power movie where — especially in the age where there's so much divorce — kids have the power to put their parents back together again. I think that's where it comes from.”
The actor’s latest project is “The Dennissance,” a new interview podcast via the platform Audio Up.
“I talk to a lot of very interesting people that I've met in my life,” he said. “And my favorite part of being an actor is research on a role, and to find out what makes people tick. And so I bring that process to ‘The Dennissance’ to find out what makes these very interesting people tick.”