10 Things I Hate About You

Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona with a seductive look on his face. He is dressed in an orange singlet.
10 Things I Hate About You
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For his first big Hollywood role, Heath Ledger played Patrick Verona in the film 10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger, USA, 1999). The film is a modern reworking of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (circa 1590-1) retold in the setting of an American high school and was a box-office smash.

Complete here with tattoo, necklace, an intense expression on his face and a seductive reclined pose, Ledger plays the part of a laconic Aussie-through-a-Hollywood-lens 90s hunk perfectly. The circles tattoo is Ledger’s own.

This was a breakout role for Ledger, reluctantly turning him into a teen idol and sex symbol and it’s easy to see why, with his good looks and affable charm. Determined to be more than a heartthrob, the part also gave Ledger the opportunity to show off his singing and dancing chops.

Ledger could have played a string of these hunky roles but he was determined to not get typecast and instead to follow the path of the great character actors. Leaving us with only 18 films it is poignant to imagine the roles he could have gone on to inhabit.

Notes by Beth Taylor