It has been 20 years since the world was introduced to the cheeky smirk of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You – a film that has since become one of the most iconic teen movies of the 90s.
The timeless film was based on Shakespeare’s classic ‘Taming of the Shrew’, centred on the love story between the difficult Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) and bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger).
To celebrate the film’s anniversary, the cast and crew of the classic cinema piece are reflecting on what it was like on set, and remembering their cast-mate, the late Heath Ledger, who tragically passed away from an accidental drug overdose in his New York apartment in 2008.
Talking with The New York Times, Director Gil Junger shared how Ledger, an Australian actor, thought he had done badly in the audition when in fact he had nailed it.
“Heath walked in, and I thought to myself, if this guy can read, I’m going to cast him,” the director shared. “There was an energy to him, a sexuality that was palpable. When Heath was done, literally, with the first page, I said, ‘O.K., you can put down the script. You’re doing great. I want to do a little improv with you.'”
Junger continued: “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 really appreciate you coming in.” 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.'”
Gabrielle Union, who played popular girl Bianca’s friend, Chastity, shared the unique ability the actor had in making you feel special.
“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,” Union said of Ledger.