While she’s been acting in films since 1996, her first major role came in 1999 with 10 Things I Hate About You, a classic teen comedy that also starred Heath Ledger.
While it’s hard to believe, 10 Things I Hate About You recently celebrated its 18th anniversary. To celebrate, we decided to dig up some little-known facts about the film’s lead actress.
1. She showed a talent for acting at an early age.
Julia Stiles grew up in New York City, and by age 11, she was regularly auditioning for film and television roles. However, she stayed in school, eventually graduating from Columbia University with an English Literature degree.
That degree might have come in handy when she played Kat Statford in 10 Things I Hate About You, as the film was based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
It was an immediate success, and Stiles took roles in two other Shakespeare adaptations: O., a remake of Othello, and Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet. However, neither film was a major commercial success.
2. During the poem scene in 10 Things I Hate About You, Stiles wasn’t supposed to cry.
It’s a pivotal scene that helped to establish Stiles’ acting chops. However, it wasn’t written that way.
“[The tears] were not intentional,” Stiles told Cosmopolitan. “On some level I knew that I was supposed to be somewhat emotional, because when we did the table read I remember I just said the poem, and I could have been reciting the phone book.”
“But [when it came to filming] I never expected that I was going to start crying. I don’t know why I did, whether it connected to something going on at the time, or if I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience of making my first big movie.”
3. She once sang on stage with Prince.
Stiles told Yahoo how she met one of the greatest pop stars of all time.
“That was because he came to the premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum in London,” she explained, “and Matt and the rest of the cast and I got to meet him. And then he got us tickets to one of his shows at the O2 arena. I would have worn a better outfit if I had known this was going to happen.”
“It was a total surprise. He brings women up onstage to dance during a song. So I grabbed my sister, and we got up onstage and were dancing, and that would have been enough. And he kind of nudged me toward the microphone and made me sing. It was not one of his songs. It was like ‘Play That Funky Music,’ and I didn’t know any of the lyrics. I’m sure that it was terrible, and I’m glad that was before camera phones were really popular. But it was really fun.”
She also told QG about Damon’s, er, interesting experience with Prince.
“After The Bourne Ultimatum came out, there was a premiere in London. Prince actually came to it, then got tickets for the cast to come see him [perform]. We were summoned into a room to meet him [after the show]. Matt said, ‘So you live in Minnesota? I hear you live in Minnesota.'”
Prince’s reply was perfect: “I live inside my own heart, Matt Damon.”