If anyone has the street cred to direct a movie based on the life of Jackie Kallen, the most successful female manager in men’s-boxing history, it’s Charles S. Dutton. ”In my neighborhood, you had to learn to fight,” says the Baltimore native. ”I boxed as an amateur, [and] I’m a huge fight fan. I know that world.” He also knew Kallen and recognized the freshness of her story, set in a macho arena that’s hardly been ignored by Hollywood. ”A man’s perspective – it’s been done five thousand times,” says Dutton, who also costars as coach to Omar Epps’ champ, Luther Shaw. ”The female point of view – that was the intriguing thing.” Meg Ryan, on the other hand, had zero boxing experience, but was captivated by Kallen, who, in her 1990s heyday, was known for being smart, aggressive, and sexy. ”The high heels, short skirts – she was just foxy,” laughs Ryan. ”The way she looked and the way she maneuvered herself in [the boxing] world, it was the only punch nobody else had. She beat [sexist men] at their own game.” While Dutton promises intense fight sequences, Epps insists the best rounds take place outside the ring: ”A young black man and an older white woman – in boxing. A connection like [theirs]…gives way for a lot of magic to happen.” (April 25)
(Against The Ropes: Allen Yee)
Posted February 6 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
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