So, yeah, you could say Stiles has some regrets.
Though none of them revolve signing on for the 2001 project, one she unwittingly auditioned for while filming 10 Things I Hate About You, her 40-second table dance at Bogey Lowenstein’s party providing director Thomas Carter with enough material to convince him she could nail the role of aspiring Juilliard ballerina Sara. “I didn’t know it was my audition,” she joked, “but apparently it was.”
And while the longtime dancer was eager to train one-on-one with Johnson (“I was like, ‘Yes, I would like to get private dance classes!'”), it was the story of Sara—uprooted from her suburban existence and dropped into an inner-city Chicago school where she gets a crash course in hip-hop and racial inequities from charming future doctor Derek—that had her eager to step into those pointe shoes.
“I was really kind of happy that we were able to sneak in bigger issues into what was otherwise a teen dance movie,” Stiles explained. “This subject matter makes it edgier or different from your average dance movie. You still get the entertainment, but there’s something bigger going on. And it opened my eyes to a lot of perspective that I had never really considered before, which I think is pretty cool.”