Although Kate Hudson is best known as a rom-com staple, she missed out on one of the genre’s classics because she took her mother’s advice. Apparently, back in the late ’90s, Hudson was up for a role in the now canonical teen film 10 Things I Hate About You. Ultimately, though, she passed on the opportunity after her mom, Goldie Hawn, read the script.
The film’s casting director, Marcia Ross, dropped that revelation when discussing the lingering impact of the film. Before Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik were locked in as the leads, Kate Hudson and Katie Holmes were in the running. “We screen-tested Josh Hartnett, Eliza Dushku, Heath and Julia,” Ross told The New York Times. “But Julia and Heath just had the best chemistry together. I loved Katie Holmes. She was about to get Dawson’s Creek, and we had to make a decision really fast. The other person I loved was Kate Hudson. But her mom [Goldie Hawn] didn’t like the script for her, so she passed.”
Can you imagine Hudson as Bianca in 10 Things I Hate About You? The movie would have looked a lot different. Obviously, passing on the role didn’t hurt her career, though. One year later, she went on to play maybe her most iconic role to date: Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous. A few years after that, she starred in one of the most memorable rom-coms of the aughts: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
On the other hand, the rest of the cast of 10 Things I Hate About You could have looked different too. Oleynik and Stiles both auditioned for the other’s part at first. “I auditioned for both Kat and Bianca pretty much up until the very end, and I really wanted Kat,” Oleynik says. “I think I was so obsessed with wanting to prove to them that that’s who I was, that by the time I’d get to the Bianca stuff, I’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure, whatever.’ And I’m sure that’s why it worked, because I was super-relaxed about it.”
As for the male lead, Joseph Gordon-Levitt wanted to go for another role, too, if not skip the film altogether. “If I’m really honest, I didn’t want to do a high school romantic comedy,” he says. “I wanted to do Sundance movies. I’m very lucky that five years later, I got to do that. The truth is, I was a naive or stuck-up 17-year-old.” Clearly, it all worked out for the best.