The cult favorite premiered on March 31, 1999.
There are romcoms, and then there are romcoms, and then there is 10 Things I Hate About You. One of the most beloved teen movies of the '90s, it modernized William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew to depict an unlikely high school romance between rough-hewn rebel Patrick (the late Heath Ledger) and budding riot grrrl Kat (Julia Stiles).
America's teens first fell in love with Ledger, Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or, if you were a weirdo like me, David Krumholtz) on March 31, 1999. Here are 15 little-known 10 Things I Hate About You facts in honor of its anniversary.
1. Both Josh Hartnett and Ashton Kutcher were considered for Heath Ledger's role.
2. Julia Stiles initially auditioned to play Kat's younger sister, Bianca.
3. Though Patrick serenades Kat with a swoonworthy rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" over the soccer field PA system, he was originally supposed to sing the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You."
4. Stadium High School, the real Tacoma school where the film was shot, didn't have its own marching band. To film the "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" scene, the producers enlisted the services of nearby Lincoln High School's band.
5. Kat is shown reading a copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar — a novel that, in real life, Stiles has been trying to adapt to film for years.
6. The climactic scene in which Kat reads her poem in English class — and, memorably, begins to cry — was shot in one take, and Stiles' tears weren't called for in the script.
7. The moment Patrick plays with fire in chem lab was improvised, too.
8. The dialogue includes multiple quotations from Shakespeare's work. For example, Cameron says, "I burn, I pine, I perish" (Taming of the Shrew), and Michael (David Krumholtz) borrows from Sonnet 56 with "Sweet love, renew thy force."
9. Patrick's last name, Verona, is the city in which Romeo and Juliet takes place.
10. Kat's last name, Stratford, is a reference to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace.
11. The characters attend Padua High School, which shares its name with Taming of the Shrew's setting.
12. Cameron James, the name of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, is an homage to director James Cameron.
13. The movie's famous tagline — "How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways." — is commonly misinterpreted as Shakespearean in origin, but it's actually a play on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 (in which the speaker asks, "How do I love thee?").
14. Kat is admitted to Sarah Lawrence College, which was in reality attended by Larisa Oleynik, who plays Bianca.
15. Oleynik (who will never not be Alex Mack to me) and Gordon-Levitt's characters also dated on the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.
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