Antagonist or aspirational icon? Meredith Blake may have been portrayed as a young gold-digger clawing her way to marry Nick Parker in 1998’s The Parent Trap, but years later, the character that Elaine Hendrix took on is getting praise for knowing what she wants — and standing up for herself against conniving twins.
“One of the keys to playing villains is that the characters, you never think of yourself as a villain, like, ever. So Meredith Blake, no. Like to me, everyone else is catching up to everything I had already thought about her and that narrative Meredith thought about herself,” Hendrix, 50, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “So of course, she wasn’t the villain. Of course, she was the victim to these two little monster twins and their parents.”
Since starring opposite Lindsay Lohan (Hallie and Annie), Dennis Quaid (Nick Parker) and the late Natasha Richardson (Elizabeth James), audiences have actually started to cheer for Meredith in recent years.
And to that, Hendrix says: “Right on. Thank you. I’m glad everyone else could catch up to this.”
The Dynasty star made sure she was “really prepared” before filming started on the Nancy Meyers remake of the 1961 classic. “I worked with a coach, I worked so hard. I knew my lines inside and out,” she recalls. “I’m also a classically trained dancer. So hitting my mark and all the physicality I had to do in that, it was just the more the merrier, because none of that phases me. I would throw out all these ideas. ‘Hey Nancy, do you want me to do it like this or like that?’ And she loved it.”
Hendrix and Meyers, 71, “became pretty collaborative” during production. “Nancy is a perfectionist, and she likes things to have a certain look and a certain style. And, you know, maybe in some situations she would do a whole lot of takes. But with me, she never really did. And I think that’s just because it was just so much preparation. Clearly, she came prepared. I came so prepared. And I was just game for anything. Any adjustments she gave me I was like, ‘Yeah, do it! Yeah, yeah yeah.’ It wasn’t really advice, but she’s very maternal. She’s very nurturing,” she explains. “She’s very much one to make sure everybody’s OK as we’re moving along, and I always felt protected and taken care of on that set.”
Meredith’s introduction to the audience became one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. When “Hallie” arrives home and reunites with housekeeper Chessy (Lisa Ann Walter), dad Nick then brings her out back where her future stepmom is sipping lemonade by the pool. Dressed head-to-toe in a black hat, white dress and heels, the red-lipped publicist slowly lifts her head to reveal her face.
“I don’t remember exactly how many takes, but I will say I do remember that we did it a few ways,” Hendrix tells Us. “Nancy would want options. … Just trying different ways so she could build the movie in the editing, which is really where the film is made. And we did some at regular speed. We did some using a slow-motion camera. We did some with me doing it slowly. And I think that’s what ended up being used. It was me just lifting my head slowly.”
Of course, Meredith ultimately doesn’t end up with Nick, but Hendrix isn’t too worried about her. “Meredith would be just fine [today]! Like, wherever she is at. She is A-OK,” she says. “She is successful. She married up. She’s comfortable. Meredith is doing just fine.”
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