Julia Stiles says she has a hard time watching the hit movie 10 Things I Hate About You. The film, which also starred Heath Ledger, is still a favorite 20 years after it was made, but the actress says that, for her, it’s like watching a home video from high school.
“If you had your prom video or a home video from high school, I don’t know that I’d watch it. I usually just look away,” Stiles told People. “I’m glad that people enjoyed it and I’m glad that they’re still talking about it. I don’t take that for granted, but I look away pretty quickly.”
The film was a modern take on William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, with Stiles playing the iconic role of Kat Stratford – a beautiful, popular, and abrasive teen. As with the play, Kat’s younger sister Bianca can’t date until Kat finds a man, so Bianca plots to make that happen.
The film also starred Larisa Oleynik, Gabrielle Union, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and was credited with helping to launch Stiles and Ledger into stardom.
Though she isn’t crazy about re-watching the film now, Stiles says that the movie’s success confirmed what she had suspected.
“I was just so eager to get that part because it was unique at the time. I hadn’t read a character that was so feisty, outspoken and opinionated so when other people responded to that it was an affirmation that I was on the right track,” she said.
Stiles told W Magazine that when she was auditioning at the time, most people would ask her to be lighter and more playful. They criticized her for being too “intellectual.” But when she read the script for 10 Things I Hate About You, she connected with the character of Kat, who is opinionated and proudly intelligent. That other people responded well to the movie made her certain that people wanted smarter women in their movies. Since then, the show has been a benchmark for others that followed, even all these years later.
— Janet Manley (@janetmanley) June 26, 2019
Now, Stiles is heading her first television series called Riviera, which is airing on Sundance Now. In it, she plays Georgina Clios, an American art buyer who lives a glamorous, mysterious life. For Season 2, Poppy Delevingne and Will Arnett join the show, which is filmed in France. She is also appearing in Hustlers, a movie about a group of strippers that stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, and Cardi B.