CLOSE
YouTube
YouTube

10 Facts to Love About 10 Things I Hate About You

YouTube
YouTube

On March 31, 1999, the high school rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You hit theaters, and grossed a modest $53.4 million worldwide. It was the American film debut of Heath Ledger, and also helped to launch the career of Julia Stiles. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew,  10 Things I Hate About You pits two sisters, Kat and Bianca, against each other as they romance high school boys. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) isn’t allowed to date until Kat (Stiles) does, so Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) pays Patrick Verona (Ledger) to take Kat on a date and to the prom. At first she despises him, but then they fall in love. Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith wrote the script and went on to pen Legally Blonde and The House Bunny. TV director Gil Junger helmed it, and rock band Letters for Cleo contributed some songs. Here are 10 non-odious facts about the iconic late ’90s teen flick.

1. SCREENWRITER KAREN MCCULLAH’S HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIEND INSPIRED THE TITLE.

During a Q&A with the screenwriters, Karen McCullah revealed where the title came from. “The title is based on a diary entry I made in high school,” she explained. “I had a boyfriend named Anthony that I was frequently unhappy with. I made a list called Things I Hate About Anthony. When Kirsten [Smith] and I decided to write this, I went through all of my high school diaries to bone up on the angsty memories, and when I told her about that list, she was like, ‘That’s our title.’” 

It turns out her ex-boyfriend likes the movie. “Anthony is very proud of that fact,” McCullah said. “We’re still friends today. And every now and then I’ll get a random phone call in the middle of night: ‘My nephew doesn’t believe that this title is about me. Tell him.’ On the phone, I’m like, ‘Yes, I hated Anthony in high school.’”

2. DIRECTOR GIL JUNGER INITIALLY TURNED DOWN THE GIG, AS HE WASN’T INTERESTED IN MAKING A “TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL MOVIE.”

When Gil Junger’s agent gave him the script for a teen version of The Taming of the Shrew, “I said ‘absolutely not,’” Junger admitted in the film’s production notes. “I had no interest in doing a typical high school film. I wanted to do a romantic love story. But, at the urging of my agent, I read the script. I loved it. The depth of it surprised me. It really is a romantic love story. The plot is beautifully interwoven and the humor works because it comes from the characters.”

3. HEATH LEDGER PLAYED PATRICK WITH A BIT OF AN “EDGE.”

YouTube

Patrick Verona was Heath Ledger’s first Hollywood role. “There was initial concern over Heath’s Australian accent, but I said, ‘Why? It makes him more interesting, mysterious and sexy,’” Junger said. The character of Patrick is based on The Taming of the Shrew’s Petruchio. “I’m using bits and pieces of Richard Burton’s portrayal of that character in perhaps the best known The Taming of the Shrew film, but my Patrick has also got a Jack Nicholson edge to him with his cheekiness and his smiles,” Ledger explained.

4. DAVID KRUMHOLTZ ATTRIBUTES THE FILM’S SUCCESS TO THE CAST’S GENUINE CHEMISTRY.

David Krumholtz, who plays Michael in the film, wrote a piece for Vulture explaining why he thought the movie worked so well. He stated the entire cast became fast friends. “Joseph Gordon-Levitt turned me on to Phish, and I turned him on to Wu-Tang,” the actor wrote. “Gabrielle Union had us in stitches, Julia Stiles brought her own brand of SoHo-bred artistic intellectualism (at only 17, mind you), Larisa Oleynik’s laughter filled the room, and we marveled at the tonedness of Andrew Keegan’s muscles (a great sport!).”

Filming began without Ledger, and the cast worried how his presence would change the dynamic. “This was a concern that was remedied a few days later, when he arrived and we found yet another comrade in sensibility. The group, with Heath, only got stronger. Before I knew it, the cast was experiencing what I’ve since found to be all too rare: a unified chemistry throughout the ensemble, without a single bad apple in the bunch. We all agreed that we were having the best summer of our lives.”

5. JULIA STILES CRIED REAL TEARS WHILE READING HER POEM.

At the end of the film, in a classroom, Kat reads a poem listing all of the things she hates about Patrick, and starts crying when she reveals she doesn’t hate him, “Not even a little bit, not even at all.” She told Cosmopolitan those tears weren’t “intentional.” “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,” Stiles said. “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.”

6. ANDREW KEEGAN DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO DRAW GENITALS.

In one scene of the movie, Krumholtz’s character approaches Keegan’s and convinces him to pay Patrick to date Kat. As he’s explaining the deal, Joey randomly takes a marker and draws a picture of a penis on his face. “I remember having to teach Andrew Keegan how to draw a proper d*ck on my face, which was a little strange to have to do,” Krumholtz told The Huffington Post.

7. THE HELICOPTER SHOT TERRIFIED LETTERS TO CLEO.

The band appears as themselves a couple of times in the film, including a scene on a rooftop, where they sing their Cheap Trick cover, “I Want You to Want Me.” Lead singer Kay Hanley told Popdose that the experience scared the band. They had to perform the song on a patch of roof the size of Hanley’s kitchen, and on a windy day.

“So they told us, ‘This is a helicopter shot, and it costs $500,000 every time the helicopter has to take off, so don’t f*ck this up!’” Hanley recalled. “As we started playing we saw the helicopter appear, off in the distance. It’s hard to say how far away it was at first, because we were so high up in the air. But then all of a sudden the helicopter does this dive bomb directly toward us! Is the helicopter out of control? Is it supposed to be coming at us like this? And I’m thinking, ‘Don’t f*ck up, keep singing the song, don’t f*ck up, it costs 500 grand every time the copter takes off.’ It was unbelievably scary—but it turned out to be such an amazing shot.”

8. THE MOVIE WAS SPUN-OFF INTO A SHORT-LIVED TV SHOW.

During the 2009-2010 TV season, 21 episodes of a 10 Things I Hate About You TV show aired on ABC Family. Junger directed the pilot, but Carter Covington created the show. Instead of focusing too much on the plot of the movie, Covington decided to make the show about two sisters. “I love the movie and I think a lot of people loved the movie,” Covington told The Futon Critic. “I know there can be a lot of backlash when you try to turn a hit movie into a television show, but I’d always wanted to do a show about siblings. I think the sibling dynamic is incredibly ripe for comedy.”

9. JUNGER WROTE AND DIRECTED A QUASI-SEQUEL, BUT IT’S NOT FINISHED.

Between 2012 and 2013, Junger wrote and directed 10 Things I Hate About Life, an unofficial sequel to the original. “It is the story of two relatable, ordinary people with normal jobs and normal desires whose seemingly great lives have become unmanageable,” he told Variety in 2012 about the plot. “Two people who go to the same place at the same time to end it … Their chance meeting is so awkward, so raw, and so funny, they postpone their intentions and go their separate ways.”

Hayley Atwell was attached at one point, but Evan Rachel Wood eventually won the female lead. In 2014, though, the producers sued Wood for more than $30 million because she dropped out of the incomplete film. She stated the film shut down production in 2013, and the producers weren’t able to pay her a salary.

10. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT THINKS THE MOVIE IS BETTER THAN CITIZEN KANE.

In 1999, the actor went on The Daily Show to promote the film. But what was supposed to be a routine interview turned a bit wacky. When Jon Stewart asked him about the movie, Gordon-Levitt became hyperbolic. “It’s the best movie of all time. It’s going to dethrone Citizen Kane,” he said. “There’s a girl called Julia Stiles,” he continued. “She’s the best actress ever. Anybody in this movie—top eight best actors of all time.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Disney/Marvel
arrow
entertainment
The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain
arrow
Weird
9 False Rumors With Real-Life Consequences
King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV of France
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain

Don’t believe everything you read—or everything you hear. Unverified but plausible-sounding rumors have been the basis for violent death and destruction throughout history, whether or not the stories had anything to do with the truth.

In their book A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall describe rumors as “stories of perceived importance that lack substantiating evidence.” They also note that the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani describes rumors as “improvised news,” which tends to spread when the demand for information exceeds supply. Such an information deficit most often occurs during wars and other crises, which might explain why some rumors have had such dramatic results. Here’s a selection of some of the most interesting rumors with real-life results collected in Bartholomew and Hassall’s book.

1. KING LOUIS XV WAS KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

In 1750, children began disappearing from the streets of Paris. No one seemed to know why, and worried parents began rioting in the streets. In the midst of the panic, a rumor broke out that King Louis XV had become a leper and was kidnapping children so that he could bathe in their blood (at the time, bathing in the blood of children was thought by some to be an effective leprosy cure).

The rumor did have a tiny kernel of truth: Authorities were taking children away, but not to the king’s palace. A recently enacted series of ordinances designed to clear the streets of “undesirables” had led some policemen—who were paid per arrest—to overstep their authority and take any children they found on the streets to houses of detention. Fortunately, most were eventually reunited with their parents, and rumors of the king’s gruesome bathing rituals were put to rest.

2. LONDON WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.

Two small earthquakes struck London at the beginning of 1761, leading to rumors that the city was due for “the big one” on April 5, 1761. Supposedly, a psychic had predicted the catastrophe. Much of the populace grew so panicked that they fled town for the day, with those who couldn’t afford fancier lodgings camping out in the fields. One soldier was so convinced of the impending doom that he ran through the streets shouting news of London’s imminent destruction; sadly, he ended up in an insane asylum a few months later.

3. JEWS WERE POISONING WELLS.

A deep well
iStock

Reports that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children were not uncommon during the Middle Ages, but things took a particularly terrible turn during the spread of the Black Plague. In the 14th century, thousands of Jews were killed in response to rumors that Satan was protecting them from the plague in exchange for poisoning the wells of Christians. In 1321 in Guienne, France alone, an estimated 5000 Jews were burned alive for supposedly poisoning wells. Other communities expelled the Jews, or burned entire settlements to the ground. Brandenburg, Germany, even passed a law denouncing Jews for poisoning wells—which of course they weren't.

4. BRIGANDS WERE TERRORIZING THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE.

In July 1789, amid the widespread fear and instability on the eve of the French revolution, rumors spread that the anti-revolutionary nobility had planted brigands (robbers) to terrorize the peasants and steal their stores of food. Lights from furnaces, bonfires, and even the reflection of the setting sun were sometimes taken to be signs of brigands, with panic as the predictable result. Provincial towns and villages formed militias in response to the rumors, even though, as historian Georges Lefebvre put it, “the populace scared themselves.” In one typical incident, near Troyes on July 24, 1789, a group of brigands were supposedly spotted heading into some woods; an alarm was sounded and 3000 men gave chase. The “brigands” turned out to be a herd of cattle.

5. GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE PLOTTING SNEAK ATTACKS ON CANADA.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marching in a Canada Day parade
iStock

Canada entered World War I in 1914, three years before the United States did. During the gap period, rumors circulated that German-Americans sympathetic to their country of origin were planning surprise attacks on Canada. One of the worst offenders of such rumor-mongering, according to authors Bartholomew and Hassall, was British consul-general Sir Courtenay Bennett, then stationed in New York. In the early months of 1915, Bennett made “several sensational claims about a plan in which as many as 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans who had been drilling in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, were planning to invade Canada from northwestern New York state.” Bizarre as it may sound, there was so much anxiety and suspicion during the period that Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden requested a report on the story, which the Canadian police commissioner determined to be without any foundation whatsoever.

6. THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT WAS HUNTING HEADS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

In certain parts of Indonesia, locals reportedly believe—or once did—that large-scale construction projects require human heads to keep the structures from crumbling. In 1937, one island was home to a spate of rumors saying that a tjoelik (government-sanctioned headhunter) was looking for a head to place near a local jetty construction project. Locals reported strange noises and sights, houses pelted with stones, and attacks from tjoelik wielding nooses or cowboy lassos. Similar rumors surfaced in 1979 in Indonesian Borneo, when government agents were supposedly seeking a head for a new bridge project, and in 1981 in Southern Borneo, when the government headhunters supposedly needed heads to stabilize malfunctioning equipment in nearby oil fields. Terrified townspeople began curtailing their activities so as not to be in public any longer than necessary, although the rumors eventually died down.

7. POWERFUL APHRODISIAC GUM WENT ON SALE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

An assortment of sticks of pink bubble gum
iStock

In the mid-1990s, the Middle East was home to some alarming rumors about aphrodisiacal gum. In 1996 in Mansoura, Egypt, stories began spreading that students at the town’s university had purchased gum deliberately spiked with an aphrodisiac and were having orgies as a result. One local member of parliament said the gum had been distributed by the Israeli government as part of a plot to corrupt Egyptian youth. Mosque loudspeakers began warning people to avoid the gum, which was supposedly sold under the names “Aroma” or “Splay.” Authorities closed down some shops and made arrests, but never did find any tainted gum. Similar rumors cropped up the following year in the Gaza Strip, this time featuring a strawberry gum that turned women into prostitutes—supposedly, the better to convince them to become Shin Bet informants for the Israeli military.

8. SORCERERS WERE PLAGUING INDONESIA.

In the fall of 1998, a sorcerer scare in East Java, Indonesia, resulted in the deaths of several villagers. The country was in crisis, and while protests raged in major cities, some in the rural area of Banyuwangi began agitating for restitution for past wrongs allegedly committed by sorcerers. The head of the local district ordered authorities to move the suspected sorcerers to a safe location, a process that included a check-in at the local police station. Unfortunately, villagers took the suspects’ visits to police stations as proof of their sorcery and began killing them. Anthropologists who studied the incident said the stories of supposed sorcery—making neighbors fall sick, etc.—were based entirely on rumor and gossip.

9. OBAMA WAS INJURED BY A WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION.

These days, rumors have advanced technology to help them travel. On April 23, 2013, a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account claimed that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. That lone tweet caused instability on world financial markets, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lost $130 billion in a short period. Fortunately, it quickly recovered. (Eagle-eyed journalists were suspicious of the tweet from the beginning, since it didn’t follow AP style of referring to the president with his title and capitalizing the word breaking.)

An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios