A teen rom-com based on Shakespeare’s most misogynistic play doesn’t sound like a hit, but Ten Things I Hate About You beat the odds to become a box office hit. The movie swaps the cobbled streets of Italy for the halls of an American high-school, but the basic plot is the same: boy gets other boy to date girl so he can date her younger sister.
Of course, the film goes through the usual array of mishaps, misunderstandings, break-ups and fake outs, and in the end, both of the sisters find true love. Critics praised the clever script and above-par acting, netting it more acclaim than is typical for a teen-aimed movie.
Eighteen years (!) after Ten Things was made, it’s still considered a classic, propelling many of its leads to stardom. So, what do these stars look like now?
1. Kat: Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles), the aloof, sharp-tongued feminist eventually wooed by “bad boy” Patrick, was an idol to a generation of teenage girls (how can you not love a character who tells her principal, deadpan, “I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls”?) And while she gets a little friendlier by the end of the movie, she doesn’t lose any of the spark or independence that made her cool in the first place.
2. Bianca: Bianca Stratford, played by Larisa Oleynik, starts out the movie as the requisite love-to-hate vapid popular girl. But over the course of the movie, she starts treating people better, and develops a deeper relationship with her sister. Aww!
3. Joey: Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan), the rich, vain model-wannabee, is a satisfyingly slimy antagonist to the movie. At the end, he gets rejected and beaten up by the girl he tried to manipulate, which we wish had happened to more of the creeps at our high schools.
4. Mandella: Mandella (Susan May Pratt), Kat’s eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed friend, made us ask a lot of tough questions about the movie’s relationship to the original. Like, why was there one line at the beginning from “Taming of the Shrew” if there were none during the rest of the movie? How did Kat get away with her poem, at the end, which definitely wasn’t a sonnet? Also, how did she make that ridiculous hairstyle look not only cool but cute?
5. Cameron: Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the sweetheart school newbie pining for Bianca, eventually goes to prom with the girl of his dreams. But, unlike many creepy “nice guys” in fiction (and real life), Cameron genuinely seems nice, so we’re happy when he ends up with her!
6. Chastity: Chastity Church (what a name!) was Bianca’s friend-turned-worst-enemy, who went behind her back by going out with Joey. Thankfully, most of us had less high school friend drama than the movie led us to expect. (played by Gabrielle Union).
7. Patrick: Patrick Verona was a classic rebel with a heart of gold, supporting his friends in their dreams and serenading the girl he loved in front of the whole school. Patrick was played by Heath Ledger, who sadly passed away in 2008.
And while we focussed on the human stars of the movie, I think we can all agree that the script was one of the real scene-stealers!