Julia Stiles takes on Shakespeare -- The star of ''10 Things I Hate About You'' adds a few more of the Bard's plays to her repertoire

By Jessica Shaw
Updated April 02, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

In Hollywood, it’s good to focus. Jamie Lee Curtis is a scream queen; Robert De Niro’s made a career out of playing mobsters. Newcomer Julia Stiles (The ’60s) has already established an intriguing specialty: Bard-for-teens films. Over the next year she’ll star in three Shakespeare-in-high school adaptations, beginning with this month’s Taming of the Shrew-inspired 10 Things I Hate About You. ”I didn’t set out to be in three Shakespeare movies,” says Stiles, 18, who’ll also appear in the upcoming O (an update of Othello) and Hamlet (opposite Ethan Hawke). ”But just because I had done [10 Things], I wasn’t going to turn down the acting experiences of my life.” Besides, the scripts are better than the slasher-crazed roles offered most teen stars. ”There’s nothing wrong with a lot of them,” she notes, ”they just seem redundant.” With her growing resume, Stiles shouldn’t have to resort to Scream rip-offs. ”She brings depth and understanding to a part,” says 10 Things director Gil Junger. ”She’ll have her pick of roles pretty soon.”