Kate Hudson was one of several actresses being considered for the leading role in 10 Things I Hate About You, which ultimately went to Julia Stiles
Julia Stiles delivered an iconic performance in 10 Things I Hate About You, but she wasn’t the only star in contention for the leading role of Kat Stratford.
Detailing the casting process for the beloved 1999 film, casting director Marcia Cross explained that while Stiles’ chemistry with late co-star Heath Ledger landed her the part, she had some stiff competition.
“We screen-tested Josh Hartnett, Eliza Dushku, Heath and Julia. But Julia and Heath just had the best chemistry together,” Cross told the New York Times as part of an oral history ahead of the film’s 20th anniversary on Sunday.
As for other options, Cross said she “loved Katie Holmes,” but the actress “was about to get Dawson’s Creek, and we just had to make a decision really fast.”
Another actress who was up to be the film’s leading lady was Kate Hudson, who was 19 when the movie premiered.
“The other person I loved was Kate Hudson. But her mom [Goldie Hawn] didn’t like the script for her, so she passed,” the casting director claimed.
Even though Ledger wasn’t the only actor up for the role of bad boy Patrick Verona, the film’s director knew he wanted to cast him as soon as the late actor showed up to audition.
“Heath walked in, and I thought to myself, if this guy can read, I’m going to cast him. There was an energy to him, a sexuality that was palpable,” explained director Gil Junger.
Junger said that after Ledger, who was days away from turning 20 when the film premiered, read the first page of the script, he stopped him there and had him do some improv.
“I just wanted to see how fast his mind would adapt, comedically. After 35 seconds, I said, ‘OK. Fantastic.’ But I could tell he was nervous that he blew it, because the audition was so quick, and I said, ‘No, no. You’re a very talented guy, and I really appreciate you coming in,” the director recalled.
“The instant the door closed, I turned to the women in the room and said, ‘Ladies, I have never wanted to sleep with a man, but if I had to sleep with a man, that would be the man. Please cast him immediately,” he added.
RELATED VIDEO: Goldie Hawn Was ‘Right in There’ While Daughter Kate Hudson Was Giving Birth
10 Things I Hate About You, a modernized take on William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, went on to become a teen classic, with its tale of a high schooler (Larissa Oleynik) attempting to set her sister up with Ledger’s Verona in order to get around their strict father’s dating rules.
The film proved a breakthrough role for Ledger (thanks in part to his swoon-worthy performance of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”), who died at age 28 in 2008 after consuming a fatal mix of prescription drugs.
“I know for a fact he was in recovery prior to his death. He was trying to get healthy,” costar and friend David Krumholtz told the Times. “I just want people to know there was a suffering individual there, who couldn’t have been a lovelier human being. I prefer to remember Heath as a 20-year-old kid doing his first American lead with a big giant Cheshire grin smile on his face, taking charge as the leader of the group like any good ensemble leader should.”