"I'm really proud," Stiles said of the film's lasting impact in an interview with Entertainment Tonight

By Katie Campione
January 20, 2021 05:32 PM
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Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas
Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty images; ANGELA WEISS/Getty Images

Save the Last Dance just turned 20, and the film's stars Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas reunited for the occasion!

For the first time in 15 years, the actors caught up to talk about the film's lasting impact in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

"I never ever would have expected that, to have people still talking about it 20 years later," Thomas told ET.

Save the Last Dance follows the story of Sara (Stiles), a white midwestern girl who moves to Chicago to live with her father after her mother dies in a car accident.

Sara, a ballet dancer, finds herself an outcast at an all-Black school where she ends up falling for Derek (Thomas) and becoming fast friends with his sister Chenille (Kerry Washington). 

SAVE THE LAST DANCE
Credit: Paramount/ Everett

"I'm really proud," Stiles said. "When we made the film, I was like, 'Really? This is still an issue? People don't approve of a Black guy and a white girl together?' It opened my eyes."

The pair also reminisced about the time they spent together while filming.

"Sean, you were such a baby!" Stiles said, watching a clip from an on-set interview.

The film was also a breakout role for Kerry Washington. The Little Fires Everywhere star posted a special behind-the-scenes photo from the set of Save the Last Dance on Instagram last week to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

"OH EM GEE!!!!! Save the Last Dance turns 20 years old today 😱😱😱😱😱!" Washington, 43, wrote in the caption. "Playing Chenille changed my life."

"I read that script and I felt like I KNEW her," the actress continued. "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."

She added, "I loooooved being a part of this film This cast. This crew. So many "slammin" memories! 😍😜."

Washington's costars told ET that working with her was a special experience for them as well.

"She's amazing," Stiles said. "I could feel it when we were making the movie that it was her time."