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Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger both went on to become big names in Hollywood after their roles in '90s teen classic 10 Things I Hate About You. Ledger sadly passed away in 2008, but his roles in The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, and A Knight's Tale live on as part of his legacy. The thing his former co-star remembers most about him, however, was his graciousness. Read on for Stiles' memory of working with Ledger during her most emotional scene in 10 Things I Hate About You.
Stiles said Ledger graciously let her have her moment in a pivotal scene.
On the most recent episode of the podcast People in the '90s, Stiles recalled filming the scene where she recites a poem to Ledger's character in 10 Things I Hate About You. "I remember Heath Ledger was so gracious about the whole thing. I appreciate this so much more now, having worked more," she said. "He wasn't trying to compete with me. He stood back, and he was like, this is your scene."
Stiles said that the actor didn't try to outdo her when it was his turn to be filmed. "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.' He was just like, 'That was beautiful, and this is your scene,'" she added.
She recalled Ledger's confidence.
Stiles said Ledger was not only gracious, but also confident enough to let her run with her special moment without trying to steal or even share the spotlight. "He was confident enough, even just starting out, to be like, 'I'm handing over the stage to you,'" she said. Stiles went on to add that she "learned way later in life that that doesn't always happen."
While Ledger let his co-star have her moment, he had plenty of his own show-stopping moments throughout the film. "You know, he had his amazing moments in the movie—the singing and dancing and running up and down those steps," Stiles pointed out.
Stiles said no one knew he had a great voice before filming his singing scene.
One of Ledger's most memorable moments came when he serenaded Stile's character with a rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" on the bleachers of the school's stadium. If you thought watching that iconic scene was fun, you'll be happy to know that it was just as thrilling to film. In Dec. 2019, while on Watch What Happens Live, Stiles said, "The whole day he was just phenomenal. Like, running up and down those stadium steps, and nobody knew that he had this amazing voice. He just went full out, and I got to watch it."
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She characterized Ledger as being "very present."
In May, when asked about Ledger during an interview with Access Hollywood, Stiles described him as being "such an amazing talent and so alive. He just lived life to the fullest." She added that "he was very present," and also called him a "gracious actor" then. Stiles revealed that she didn't expect to cry while filming the emotional scene where she reads the poem to Ledger's character, but once she did, he was there to support her in the scene.