The truth behind Julia Stiles' emotional scene in 10 Things I Hate About You.

It is one of the most iconic teen-movie scenes of the 90s.

In 10 Things I Hate About You, Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) stands up in front of her high school English class and counts the ways she hates Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger).

Quick recap of the plot:

Patrick has been paid by the class d-bag to take Kat to the prom so said d-bag has the chance to date Kat’s little sister Bianca.

Of course, the bet fades into insignificance as Kat and Patrick fall in love. That is, until Kat finds out about the bet. She’s pissed. Patrick is sad (and dreamy.) But also, sad.

Then Kat realises that even though she’s really mad at Patrick, she actually loves him a lot. So she writes him a really great poem and reads it aloud in her English class.

The pain.

Here it is:

I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair.

I hate the way you drive my car, I hate it when you stare.

I hate your big dumb combat boots and the way you read my mind.

I hate you so much it makes me sick, it even makes me rhyme.

I hate the way you’re always right, I hate it when you lie.

I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.

I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.

But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close… not even a little bit… not even at all.

Kat is pretty emotional through the whole scene, but really starts to lose it around the “not even close” mark.

But it turns out what we took to be her deep emotional connection to her character was actually something quite different. She just had a lot of feelings.

Oh God.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Stiles said she “never expected” she would start crying. “They were not intentional,” she said about her tears. “On some level I knew that I was supposed to be somewhat emotional, because when we did the table read I remember I just said the poem, and I could have been reciting the phone book.”

But filming was a whole other story. “I don’t know why I did (cry),” said Stiles. Whether it connected to something going on at the time, or if I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience of making my first big movie.”

Fair enough.

Standing in front of the late, great Heath Ledger and declaring your love in the most dramatic scene of what would go on to become one of the most loved teen-films of all time, is a pretty big deal.