Julia Stiles says her “10 Things I Hate About You” character is fierce and we couldn’t agree more

Throughout a career that has already spanned over two decades, Julia Stiles has always chosen very strong roles— active characters who have something to say.

Although she’s probably best known for playing covert agent Nicky in the Bourne franchise, it’s impossible to forget her early ’90’s roles, you know, like fierce Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You. And, not surprisingly, Julia’s got plenty of thoughts on Kat Stratford.

Blockbuster comedies set in a high school don’t typically offer characters with a ton of depth. That’s why it’s surprising that Stiles was able to identify with her character on a real emotional level, and why she was excited to take the role.

“I remember finding that character very refreshing, because she was so angst-ridden,” Stiles told The Telegraph. She goes on to say, “Or just brassy and more fierce than any other example of a teenage girl that I had seen.”

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When asked if Stiles thinks people are afraid of serious female characters, she brings up the Bechdel Test, a polarizing theory developed by the graphic novelist Alison Bechdel. The theory is straightforward, asking that films have a minimum of two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Although as Stiles points out, most films actually don’t pass this test—which is extremely worrying for the state of the movie industry.

Stiles seems to keep the Bechdel Test in mind when choosing her roles, because whether she’s a playing kick ass agent in a blockbuster movie or a mother who doubles as a prostitute in a webseries, her work is always varied and memorable.

The best part is, she’s  paving the way for other actresses to do the same. So here’s to Julia, and here’s to Kat Stratford. You’ll always be our favorite ’90s movie heroine.

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