Kerry Washington Celebrates 20th Anniversary of 'Save the Last Dance' With 'Slammin' Cast Pic
By Liz Calvario
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
So many slammin' memories!
Save the Last Dance turned 20 on Tuesday, and Kerry Washington couldn't help but pay tribute to the film that changed her life. The 43-year-old actress posted a cast photo reflecting on how her character, Chenille, made an impact and told an important story.
"Save the Last Dance turns 20 years old today 😱😱😱😱😱! Playing Chenille changed my life. I read that script and I felt like I KNEW her," Washington expressed. "At the time, I also knew the narrative that was being served in culture about who Black teen moms are. And I knew that if done right, this was an opportunity to transform some stereotyped thinking and make this young woman REAL. And human. And deserving of love and attention."
Washington added that she loved being a part of the film, and has "so many 'slammin' memories," referencing her character's most memorable lines.
Directed by Thomas Carter, Save the Last Dance was released on Jan. 12, 2001. The film followed dancer Sara, portrayed by Julia Stiles, who after the death of her mother moves from a small Midwestern town to the south side of Chicago. She then falls for Derek, an African American teenager (Sean Patrick Thomas) at her new high school, who also shares a love for dance. Washington portrayed Derek's sister Chenille.
Washington also retweeted a couple of tweets that praised her character.
Thomas also commemorated the film's anniversary, posting a black-and-white still from the film and a behind-the-scenes snap with Stiles.
"Save The Last Dance premiered 20 years ago and we shocked the world, including myself," he wrote, adding that he "never imagined the film would be as beloved as it is."
"Thank you @missjuliastiles for being an incredible partner...to @fatima_noir & @rtbrothas & @punchcity1 for pushing me..to my castmates @kerrywashington, @fredro_starr, #VinceGreen, what fun...my man #JeffRoda✊🏿 Very proud today. We did good...#SaveTheLastDance," he added.
Back in 2017, the Scandal star recalled filming Saved the Last Dance and having to teach to make money.
“I got a job in a movie called Save the Last Dance, and it was my first big film,” she told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. “It did not pay me a lot of money, so after the movie came out, I went back to substitute teaching for a while."
"And then I had to make a rule that I wouldn’t work in high schools. I could only do elementary schools because kids were cutting class to see Chenille teach French,” she said of her character. “So it was bad. I would go into a school and I would see all these kids outside the window trying to see that girl from Save the Last Dance."