'10 Things I Hate About You' Cast Remember Heath Ledger On Film's 20 Year Anniversary
The cast of the '10 Things I Hate About You' reunited to share memories about the late Heath Ledger -- who played bad boy Patrick Verona in the film.
The iconic teen rom-com -- which was based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew -- centred on sisters Kat (Julia Stiles) and her popular younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), banned from dating by her strict father, who wouldn't permit Biana to date until Kat did.
New student Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) then concocted the scheme to get the local sexy rebel, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to date Kat so he, in turn, could score a date with Bianca.
While the film was released way back in 1999, it still is a fave among viewers and at the time, it catapulted the lead actors into the limelight.
Sadly, on January 22, 2008, 28-year-old Heath died due to accidental intoxication from prescription drugs.
In wake of the milestone, the film's cast shared their favourite memories of working with Aussie star to the New York Times, describing him as "talented" and having a "zest for life."
Julia Stiles, who was just 17 when she scored the role as Kat, said of Heath, who was 19 at the time of the film, "He was like this cool older bad boy that had just gotten off the plane from Australia… he had such a zest for life."
She also revealed in a separate interview that Ledger also gave her helpful times throughout filming -- including how to act drunk for the scene in which Kat dances on a table at a party.
“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,” she explained. “I would never have the guts to do that now. I’m glad somebody got that on film.”
Director Gil Junger also had fond memories of the star, who she said absolutely nailed his audition for the role of Patrick.
"Heath walked in, 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,” Junger told the publication.
“When Heath was done, literally, with the first page, I said, ‘Okay, 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, ‘Okay. 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.’”
He added that he knew right away that Ledger was perfect for the film, saying, “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 Bianca's best friend Chastity, also had nothing but praise for the star.
“Heath had the ability to look at you and [make] you feel like Princess Diana,” she gushed. “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.”
Andrew Keegan, who played wealthy yet daft bully Joey, added, “He was absolutely such an epic part of this project."
“We love Heath.”