Over two decades after “The Parent Trap” made its debut, the villainous character Meredith Clarke is getting a redemption arc, thanks to TikTok.
And actor Elaine Hendrix, who played the almost-stepmom to twins Annie and Hallie (played by Lindsay Lohan) in the 1998 film, is here for it.
“TikTok users love Meredith Clarke, and I love them,” Hendrix said in a recent phone interview.
In the film, Meredith is the young, beautiful and gold-digging fiancé of Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid), who is father to Annie and Hallie. The twin sisters were separated at birth, but reunite years later at a summer camp. There, they come up with a plan to reconcile their parents’ relationship … by sabotaging Meredith’s engagement with their father.
For those who grew up with the film, Meredith was not the character to root for. At one point, the twins go on a camping trip with her and their dad and play pranks on her the entire time. Most people laugh along with the twins’ shenanigans, rather than sympathize with the seemingly evil stepmom-to-be.
Now, though, people nostalgic for the movie — and those seeing it for the first time — have a new take: #justiceformeredithblake.
In honor of the film’s 24-year anniversary, Hendrix took the opportunity to reappraise her iconic character in a viral TikTok video posted on July 29, which has since garnered more than 1.6 million viewers.
In the video, Hendrix can be seen pouring a glass of Parkers, the wine featured in the film, against the backdrop of Adele’s chart-topping single, “Easy on Me.”
An on-screen caption begins: “He’s a 10… but he had twins he secretly separated at birth when he broke up with their mother and didn’t tell you about it until the twins discovered each other at camp and swapped places to try and get their parents back together.”
The video goes on to describe the antics the twins came up with, which included putting rocks in Meredith’s backpack and mixing sugar water with her mosquito repellent.
Hendrix said she was inspired by the latest TikTok trend, the “He’s a 10” meme, which rates lovers on a scale from 1 to 10 based on their attractiveness before presenting a negative or positive trait that might affect their score.
“I don’t make videos too often, but I do really enjoy making them, and I tried to take different challenges or whatever’s trending and just try to put my own spin on it,” she said. “That’s what I did with this one.”
Many commenters expressed their sympathies for Meredith, with one user writing: “I hope Meredith Blake married a handsome billionaire who treated her like a queen.”
Hendrix said she is here for the fan love.
“I’m amazed. I’m honored. I’m thrilled,” Hendrix said. “There are multiple generations who have embraced the movie and Meredith Blake, and it’s wonderful.”
She especially appreciates the reaction from Gen-Zers, who were exposed to the film years after its release.
“This movie makes me feel like I’m a part of them,” Hendrix said of the younger generation. “I appreciate that because I’m constantly looking and learning, and it’s keeping me young and beautiful, which is not a crime, you know.”
And while Hendrix acknowledged the criticism against the twins’ parents for separating them, Hendrix said she made the video in jest and that viewers shouldn’t read too deeply into the character’s dynamics.
“In a Disney film, there is the good guy and the bad guy,” Hendrix explained. “Meredith, for all intents and purposes, is the villain. She’s the obstacle, she’s the conflict in that film, and you need that.”
Villain or not, Hendrix, on behalf of Meredith, said to fans: “I love you.” But to her haters? “I’m shipping you to Switzerland!”