Did Michelle Williams Know? Katie Holmes Almost Played Heath Ledger’s Love Interest in ’10 Things I Hate About You’

Katie Holmes Almost Played Heath Ledger’s Love Interest in 10 Things I Hate About You
Katie Holmes and Heath Ledger. Noam Galai/Getty Images; Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Hits close to home! Katie Holmes was in talks to star alongside Heath Ledger in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You. However, the opportunity didn’t pan out as Holmes chose to pursue Dawson’s Creek, which she appeared on with Ledger’s future girlfriend Michelle Williams.

“I loved Katie Holmes,” casting director Marcia Ross told The New York Times on Wednesday, March 27, in a profile published about the beloved romantic comedy in honor of its 20th anniversary. “She was about to get Dawson’s Creek and we had to make a decision really fast.”

Although Kate Hudson was also in the running, before mom Goldie Hawn used her veto power, Julia Stiles ultimately was cast as Kat Stratford, who romanced Ledger’s character, Patrick Verona.

Holmes, for her part, played Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek from 1998 to 2003 for six seasons alongside Williams, 38, who won hearts as Jen Lindley. Joey and Jen’s friendship goes through highs and lows over their love for leading man Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), although they ultimately find common ground.

Both women went on to find love off screen too. Holmes, 40, was married to Tom Cruise from 2006 to 2012, while Williams started dating Ledger in 2005 after meeting on the set of Brokeback Mountain. The duo, who shared daughter Maltida, now 12, split in 2008 just five months before the Dark Knight actor’s death. 

“I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes,’” Williams, who has since moved on with husband Phil Elverum, told Vanity Fair in July 2018. 

The Greatest Showman actress also recalled being hounded by paparazzi at her New York City home in the wake of Ledger’s death from an accidental drug overdose at age 28. “It was unimaginable to be stalked like that, every moment of the day,” she told the publication. “So I left, in a desire to create a sane home environment. When your a single parent and that element of provider and protection is missing, it’s scary.”

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