I love you, baby! In 1999, the cast of 10 Things I Hate About You showed Us the true meaning of friendship, family and falling in love. As the beloved film prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday on Sunday, March 31, the stars who brought the story to life reflected on shooting alongside later actor Heath Ledger in a profile published by The New York Times.
“Health walked in [for his audition] and I thought to myself, ‘If this guy can read, I’m going to cast him.’ There was an energy to him, a sexuality that was palpable,” director Gil Junger told the publication. “When Heath was done, literally, with the first page, I said, ‘OK, you can put down the script. You’re doing great. I want to improv a little with you.’ I just wanted to see how fast his mind would adapt, comedically. After 35 seconds, I said, ‘OK. Fantastic.’ But I could tell he was nervous that he blew it, because the audition was so quick, and I said, ‘No, no. you’re a very talented guy and I appreciate you coming in.’”
Junger knew right away that Ledger was the man for the job: “The instant the door closed, I turned to the women in the room and said, ‘Ladies, I have never wanted to sleep with a man. But if I had to sleep with a man, that would be the man. Please cast him immediately.’”
The Australian actor, who died at age 28 in January 2008 after an accidental overdose, was offered the role of hunky bad boy Patrick Verona, who pursued Julia Stiles’ character, the quiet and smart Kat Stratford, in the modern spin on William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
Scroll down to revisit the cast’s most cherished memories of filming with Ledger.