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Look out for more coverage of
Against the Ropes in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Against the Ropes

THE STARS:
Meg Ryan • Omar Epps • Charles S. Dutton
DIRECTOR: Charles S. Dutton

Against the Ropes THE CONCEPT:
Meg Ryan portrays Jackie Kallen, who defied the odds when she stormed into the male-dominated world of boxing and became the most successful female manager in the history of the sport.

U.S. RELEASE: February 20 2004, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

MEG RYAN:
“I spent a lot of time with Jackie. I chose to try to do Jackie’s voice, which I think is part of the story that we’re telling, about this woman who demands attention. So how she looked and how she sounded was all important; you’re going to see me and you’re going to listen to me.”

JACKIE KALLEN:
“I realized after spending one afternoon with Meg that underneath it all, she’s very strong and resilient. And a lot of the things that I’m known to project on the outside, she has those qualities. She just doesn’t project them as much. And I’m the opposite. I’m tough, strong and confident, but inside I’m kind of mushy. So we present ourselves differently.”

CHARLES S. DUTTON (Felix):
“I really didn’t want to act in the movie. It was only decided two weeks before we shot – they kept telling me they were getting Morgan Freeman! Then they called me when I was in pre-production and said, ‘Why don’t you play the part?’ Being an actor first and a director second, I said, ‘It’s a good role.’ Ultimately I directed the film in the character of Felix. So it made for a gentle shoot, because I directed in character.”

OMAR EPPS (Luther Shaw):
“I think boxing is the beginning of all sports. I’m willing to bet that the first sport was a man against another man in a fight, so I think that’s something innate in all of us. There’s no equipment, just two guys in the ring. It’s so primitive and it’s wonderful to watch.”

RYAN:
“Charles Dutton is a great actor, so to have a great actor direct you is heaven. He was so invested in all the actors, and he loves boxing so much, that there was one day where I remember standing next to him, and he said, ‘Man, I just feel so lucky. I’m so happy to be here.’ And after that, I would have done anything for him. He has a real dignity about him, and I think all of the cast and crew absolutely adored him.”

DUTTON:
“The boxing scenes are part choreography, but I told the guys, ‘Listen, whenever you forget the choreography, don’t stop, just jab like fighters.’ And what I meant by that was, jab to hit the guy, so they were really winging some punches at each other.”

EPPS:
“I took some lumps and bruises in the fights, but that’s what we were there to do. We wanted the boxing to look authentic. Charles wanted to film everything from here (indicating a few feet away from himself) and so we had to go in there and dish it.”

RYAN:
“I’ve done so many different kinds of things, but romantic comedies are the ones that people see or make money and that’s great. But it’s fun to do this kind of character.”

KALLEN:
“And I am a character!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Against the Ropes site
Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #641, March 2004 cover

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