Kerry Washington explains in her new memoir, “Thicker Than Water,” that she actively rejected playing the “white girl’s best friend” after starring in “Against the Ropes,” the 2004 boxing drama headlined by Meg Ryan and Omar Epps. The film starred Ryan as Jackie Kallen, the first woman to achieve success as a boxing manager. Washington played Jackie’s best friend, a receptionist named Renee.
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“In it, I played [Meg Ryan’s] coworker and confidante – this was becoming a new niche for me, the white girl’s best friend,” Washington writes (via Entertainment Weekly).
As Washington remembers, “Against the Ropes” was her third project in a row where she was playing the best friend to the white female lead. First came 2001’s “Save the Last Dance,” in which was Julia Stiles’ BFF, then she shot the scrapped pilot for the 2004 Fox dramedy series “Wonderfalls,” where she was the best friend of Caroline Dhavernas’ main character. Tracie Thoms ultimately took over the role. Washington ensured that “Against the Ropes” would be the last time, mainly because she was such a Meg Ryan fan that she hit her personal peak as the “white girl’s best friend.