Julia Stiles shared a touching story about her late "10 Things I Hate About You" co-star Heath Ledger.
Speaking to People, the actress spoke fondly of the 1999 film, which was loosely based on Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" and featured the two stars early in their careers.
Stiles, 40, recalled the "gracious" way Ledger let her command the movie's most emotional scene where her character, Kat Stratford, recites a poem and tearfully confesses her true feelings.
"I remember Heath Ledger was so gracious about the whole thing. I appreciate this so much more now having worked more," the "Save the Last Dance" star reflected. "He wasn't trying to compete with me. He stood back and he was like, 'This is your scene.'"
Stiles noted that Ledger, who played her character's love interest, Patrick Verona, wanted her to shine.
"When they did his reaction shot, he didn't well up. He didn't go, 'OK, now I have to do something with my side of the camera,'" she said. "He was just like, 'That was beautiful and this is your scene.'"
Stiles noted how thankful she was for Ledger's consideration, adding that his professional conduct is rare based on her experiences with other actors.
"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," she explained. "You know, he had his amazing moments in the movie, too -- the singing and dancing and running up and down those steps."
Ledger died in 2008 from an accidental overdose. He was 28.
"10 Things I Hate About You," also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik and Gabrielle Union, premiered in theaters March 31, 1999.