Julia Stiles recently spoke about her positive experience working with Heath Ledger on the 1999 rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You.
During an appearance on Thursday’s episode of the People In The ’90s podcast the 40-year-old actress recalled how her former costar let her shine during their scenes together.
The late actor tragically passed away in 2008 after he was found dead at his Manhattan loft after he accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills.
Looking back: Julia Stiles recalled how her 10 Things I Hate About You costar, Heath Ledger, was ‘so gracious’ to her while they worked on the 1999 rom-com; she is seen in 2019
Stiles specifically pointed out that her former costar was more than willing to let her talents stand out alongside his, which she has come to realize was a very magnanimous thing to do as a performer.
‘I remember Heath Ledger was so gracious about the whole thing. I appreciate this so much more now having worked more,’ she recalled.
The Bourne franchise regular did note, however, that her castmate did stand out while working on the film, as he had to perform highly physical routines for the project.
‘You know, he had his amazing moments in the movie, too — the singing and dancing and running up and down those steps,’ she said.
Taking a step back: The actress recalled how the late actor wanted her to shine during her scenes in the feature and did not try to stand out over her; he is pictured in 2006
Serious actor: Stiles did point out that her late castmate did not remove himself entirely from the feature and expressed that he had plenty of ‘amazing moments’
Stiles then spoke about a crucial part of the movie when her character, Kat Stratford, recited a poem and recalled that Ledger wanted her to stand out more than anything.
She recalled that the actor ‘wasn’t trying to compete with me. He stood back and he was like, this is your scene.’
The actress added, ‘when they did his reaction shot, he didn’t well up. He didn’t go, “Okay, now I have to do something with my side of the camera.” He was just like, “That was beautiful and this is your scene.”‘
Acting and reacting: Stiles also noted that Ledger was never ‘trying to compete with me’ when they were working together
Impressed: The actress also remarked that, following the filming of a crucial scene, Ledger approached her and called her performance ‘beautiful’
The actress went on to note that Ledger was very reassured as an actor and was happy to let his costars take the spotlight, which she has not encountered very often since then.
Stiles said: ‘he was confident enough, even just starting out, to be like, “I’m handing over the stage to you.” And I learned way later in life that that doesn’t always happen.’
The actress also discussed the aspects of Stratford that stood out to her when she first read the project’s script.
Cooperative: Stiles pointed out that Ledger was one of the few performers that she has worked with who has not attempted to outshine everyone else in the production; he is seen in 2006
She specifically noted that the role ‘spoke to me, I just was like “wow, this chick is cool and she’s angsty and opinionated and she doesn’t care what other people think of her,” and I identified with it so much.’
10 Things I Hate About You was a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s play The Taming Of The Shrew, updated to a modern high school setting.
The feature followed the development of a relationship between the ill-tempered Stratford and Ledger’s much edgier Patrick Verona, who are completely at odds in terms of personality.
Source material: 10 Things I Hate About You served as a modernized retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming Of The Shrew
In addition to its two leading performers, the cast was rounded out by figures such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union and Allison Janney, among others.
10 Things I Hate About You received generally positive reviews upon its release and grossed just over $60 million at the box office.
A sitcom that shared both the name and the basis of the original film premiered on ABC Family in 2009, and Larry Miller reprised his role as Stratford’s father, Walter.
The program ran for just two seasons and was canceled in 2010 due to low ratings.
Continuation: A show that shared a name and story with the original film made its debut in 2009 and was cancelled the following year; Stiles is pictured in 2019