e! Online - January 2000

 Sizzling sixteen 

"I love Shakespeare," gushes 19-year-old Julia Stiles.

Good thing, seeing as the native New Yorker has recently undertaken not one, not two, but three updates of the Bard's works. She was seen last year in the home-run update of The Taming of the Shrew, turning Kate to Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You. This year, she'll be Ophelia in a New York-set Hamlet, alongside Ethan Hawke and Bill Murray, and she takes on the role of Desi (Desdemona) in the Othello-goes-to-high-school flick O.

Yep, this girl's got it bad for the Bard, and she can blame it on her parents.

Raised in SoHo by artists (her folks make and sell pottery), Stiles was encouraged early on. "I played dress-up a lot," she says. "I would act out scenes from movies and television shows, and I'd get up on tables and pretend to be a rock star."

Mom saw the potential and enrolled Stiles in dance class, a move that at least partially prepared her for the role she's currently filming, a young hoofer in Save the Last Dance.

"It's going well," says Stiles, "but we had to do a combination across the floor, and they put me with, like, a principal from the Geoffrey Ballet, which made me look worse!" And then there was the hip-hop dancing. "I didn't expect it to be so hard. I've never felt more white in my life."

Stiles, who also appeared in last year's miniseries The '60s, already has a full dance card for 2000: Among the half dozen films on her slate are Down to You, a romantic comedy with Freddie Prinze Jr. (and fellow Sizzlers Ashton Kutcher and Rosario Dawson); and David Mamet's State and Main, a satire about a film company that goes to a small town and ends up corrupting it. The latter put her in some pretty heady company: The film costars Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker and William H. Macy.

"It was the greatest learning experience for me," says Stiles. "I was around all these skilled actors. I felt really humbled."

Article by Jeffery Epstein
Originally published at e! Online - Posted on January 2000