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'10 Things I Hate About You' Cast Remembers Heath Ledger For The Film's 20th Anniversary!

10 things i hate about you cast remembers Heath Ledger

There are more than 10 reasons we love the cult classic 10 Things I Hate About You.
About 8 of them have to do with the sexual magnetism of the late great Heath Ledger, who was physically impossible not to fall in love with as sensitive bad boy, Patrick Verona.
As the beloved teen comedy prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday on Sunday, March 31, the stars of the film reflected on what it was like shooting alongside the Aussie actor in a profile published by The New York Times.
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While Heath’s former costars mostly spoke on what an amazing, kind, gentle soul he was off screen, one person who worked on 10 Things couldn’t help but gush over the then 20-year-old’s undeniable sexual charisma: his heterosexual male director, Gil Junger.
Speaking to the Times, Junger admitted he knew he was going to cast Heath in the role the second the actor walked through the door, recalling:

“Heath 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… 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 that Heath was the right man for the job because, well… the actor made him feel a certain way. He added:

“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 rest was history: Heath was offered the role of Patrick, who in the story pursued Julia Stiles’ character Kat Stratford in a modern spin on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
According to casting director Marcia Ross, a few other big names were screen tested to play the lead pair — including Josh Hartnett and Eliza Dushku — but Heath and Julia had “the best chemistry together.”
See what Heath’s on screen love interest and the rest of the 10 Things cast had to say about working with the actor (below).

Julia Stiles

Julia Stiles remembers Heath Ledger
Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford. / (c) Touchstone Pictures

The actress was just 17 at the time of filming, and she got some helpful tips from the older, wiser Ledger before shooting her infamous drunk table dancing scene at a high school party. She recalled:

“I hadn’t ever really been drunk before in real life. I mean, I was 17, so I remember Heath, because he was older, giving me tips on what being drunk looks and feels like. I would never have the guts to do that now. I’m glad somebody got that on film.”

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union remembers Heath Ledger
Gabrielle Union as Chastity. / (c) Touchstone Pictures

The Bring it On alum, who played Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik)’s best friend, Chastity, also had wonderful things to say about the late actor:

“Heath had the ability to look at you and [make] you feel like Princess Diana. In a very crowded Hollywood landscape, he could make you feel special and seen. That’s a pretty special gift and I don’t think it’s talked about enough.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon Levitt remembers Heath Ledger
Joseph Gordon Levitt as Cameron. / (c) Touchstone Pictures

The actor played Bianca’s not-so-secret admirer Cameron James in the film. While he was at first hesitant to work on a rom-com, he now says it was one of the best experiences he’s had with an ensemble cast:

“I feel like the sheer closeness that we all had that summer is a big part of why people like that movie, because it wasn’t fake.”

David Krumholtz

David Krumholtz remembers Heath Ledger
David Krumholtz as Michael. / (c) Touchstone Pictures

The actor played Cameron’s best friend, Michael Eckman. He also developed a bond with Ledger during filming that stayed strong well into their adult years, explaining:

“It always makes me swallow hard when I know that something I say about Heath is going to be put out there. My clique was Heath and his lovely assistant and best friend, Trevor [DiCarlo]. I loved Heath… As I get older, and as the movie takes on greater relevance with new audiences, it’s harder to wrap my head around the idea that Heath passed on the way he did. I would’ve very much loved him to be part of this article, to feel appreciated for his work in the film, because he worked really hard on 10 Things I Hate About You.”

Krumholtz also revealed that he regrets not extending a helping hand to Ledger before he died of an accidental overdose in 2008 at the age of 28, adding:

“Toward the end of his life, I reunited with him, at a time when we were both quite vulnerable and trying to recover from some stuff that was haunting us. I had the opportunity to tell Heath how much I loved him and to sort of try to help Heath,” he said. “He had become so famous, and his life had become so crazy, that in the moment when I could’ve said something, I didn’t, even though I thought it. It’s a big regret I have. To fans, he’s a movie star that died. To me, he was flesh and bone, soulful, sweet and I know for a fact he was in recovery prior to his death. He was trying to get healthy.”

Sounds like Heath left just as big of an impact on his castmates than he did on his fans.
[Image via Touchstone Pictures/FayesVision/WENN]

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Mar 28, 2019 14:23pm PDT