Julia Stiles has reflected on Heath Ledger’s “magnetic presence” in an Australian interview and spoken about how special it was working with him on 10 Things I Hate About You.
Stiles played Kat Stratford in the iconic comedy, and Ledger played her bad boy romantic interest, Patrick Verona. Though the 1999 blockbuster didn’t win any huge awards, it has undoubtedly gone down in history as one of the best rom-coms of the era.
Speaking of working with Ledger on the film, Stiles told Daily Telegraph; “He was a very magnetic presence on set, and he was like this force.”
She added: “He had a zest for life and just was like always, he was never checked out. He was always totally engaged with everybody. Really interesting, remarkable person and actor.”
Ledger passed away in January 2008 at age 28, just months before he posthumously won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. His cause of death was ruled as an accidental drug overdose.
Stiles addressed Ledger’s untimely passing in the same interview. “It’s a shame because we would have, you know, we would have been able to see him do more incredible work had he not passed away,” she said.
“That summer was very, very special and ultimately rare because we were all actors on that, it was kind of their first,” Stiles added of their work together on 10 Things I Hate About You.
Love Film & TV?
Get the latest Film & TV news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
She continued, “We jumped in and we were all so open-hearted and not self-conscious, which I learned later doesn’t always happen on a set. It was a really special time.”
While Stiles and Ledger weren’t romantically involved in real life, she did date 10 Things I Hate About You co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt post-production.
Last year, the movie’s director Gil Junger appeared as a special guest on the YouTube series Mirá a Quién Encontré (Look Who I Found), where he delved into the pair’s off-screen romance.
“They were very, very attracted to each other,” Junger said of the two. “She’s professing her love to [onscreen boyfriend Heath Ledger] and she’s in love with a guy waiting in his trailer to shoot the next scene.”
Junger noted that Stiles and Gordon-Levitt only shared a few scenes together. “She, for a minute or 10, went out with Joseph Gordon-Levitt,” he continued.“They were very, very attracted to each other, which was cool.”
For more on this topic, follow the Film and TV Observer.