The internet of the 2020s may not view “Save the Last Dance” with the kindest eyes, but it’s still a guilty pleasure for many people, and Stiles looked back on it fondly when interviewed by Today for the movie’s 20th anniversary. “There’s a part of me, like, many years ago that would have been too sort of cynical for that sort of thing,” said Stiles. “And now more than ever, I think, I just want to watch something that’s going to make me feel good.”
Stiles didn’t have any professional dance experience before making the film, and no training besides some ballet classes as a child. Of all things, it was a drunk pool table dance in “10 Things I Hate About You” that landed her an audition.
“I met Thomas Carter, the director, and he told me that he had seen ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and the dance that Kat does on the pool table when she’s drunk to Biggie Smalls. He saw that and he was like, ‘Oh, you have rhythm.'”
The “Save the Last Dance” star went on to have a core role in the “Bourne” movies, and more recently she appeared in the enjoyably wild horror sequel “Orphan: First Kill.” Her dance partner Sean Patrick Thomas recently played B-list superhero and overbearing father Polarity in “The Boys” spin-off series “Gen V.” But the biggest star to emerge from “Save the Last Dance” was Kerry Washington, who played Sara’s best friend/Derek’s sister, Chenille. The “Scandal” star celebrated the film’s 20th anniversary with an Instagram photo of herself and the other cast members. In the caption she wrote: “Playing Chenille changed my life … I loooooved being a part of this film.”