Nearly 24 years later, Julia Stiles brought an iconic scene from one of her most beloved films back to life. The actress, 42, took the stage at the Mash-Up Americans Book Festival in New York City earlier this week and performed a pivotal scene from 10 Things I Hate About You, the 1999 teen flick that was a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Posted to the Instagram of the festival’s venue, The Greene Space, the video shows Stiles — who portrayed disgruntled older sister Kat Stratford in the film — reciting the love poem she wrote for Patrick Verona, famously portrayed by Heath Ledger. Ledger died in 2008 at age 28.
Dressed in a floral silk blazer with her blond hair tied back, the Hustlers star read the words to the poem. But it was the final lines that proved to be the most poignant, as Stiles became noticeably emotional as she shared the perspective of the lovelorn teen.
“But mostly, I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all,” Stiles read, as the audience replied with resounding cheers.
“He wasn’t trying to compete with me,” she said at the time. “He stood back and he was like, this is your scene.”
While some rising stars would potentially feel edged out, Ledger was the opposite.
“He was just like, ‘That was beautiful and this is your scene,'” Stiles recalled, noting how excellent Ledger’s performance in the film was. “He had his amazing moments in the movie, too — the singing and dancing and running up and down those steps. But 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.”
These days, Stiles looks back fondly on her runaway success in 10 Things I Hate About You, and the connections she made on the film.
“I don’t take it for granted that people are talking about the movie 20 years later,” Stiles told the Daily Beast in 2019. “It’s an affirmation that even back then the things, the stories, and the roles that I was drawn to, other people were interested in as well. That was the first time I really read a female character, especially as a teenager, who was feisty and opinionated and unapologetic.”
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