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Fact Check: This Is Supposedly a Real Polaroid Pic of Heath Ledger and '10 Things I Hate About You' Cast in 1998. Here's What We Know

Screenshot via Instagram
Screenshot via Instagram

Claim:

An old Polaroid photograph shows a young Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles and Larissa Oleynik of the 1999 film "10 Things I Hate About You."

Rating:

Rating: Mostly True
Rating: Mostly True

Context:

While the photograph is real, it was edited to look like it was taken with a Polaroid instant camera. The original, untampered-with image was shared by Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his verified Instagram account in 2018, without a Polaroid frame.

 

A picture of the cast of the 1999 teen comedy film "10 Things I Hate About You" went viral in 2016 and remains popular on social media. The photograph in question appears to be a vintage Polaroid selfie of the young cast members, Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Larissa Oleynick, from around the time movie was shooting.


(Screenshot via Reddit)

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While the above image is real, however, it appears to have been edited to look like a Polaroid. Gordon-Levitt shared the original image in 2018 on his verified Instagram account. The original does not exhibit the square format or washed-out colors that usually characterize vintage Polaroid photographs. As such, we rate this claim as "Mostly True."

Using Google's reverse image search tool, we found numerous reposts on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) over the years, many of which claimed this was a "Polaroid selfie."

We then looked at original cast members' social media accounts and found Gordon-Levitt often posted old photographs from the movie and his time on set. He posted the photograph in question with the caption, "I remember that day :) #tbt."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkSds2IgilU/?hl=en

Gordon-Levitt's original post shows the four actors in a wider shot, with Oleynick's blue T-shirt more visible. It appears to be a selfie, but without a Polaroid's characteristic white border.

That said, Gordon-Levitt did post Polaroid pics from the set of the film, writing in 2018, "Some continuity pics from '10 Things I Hate About You' back in 1998."

The film is widely considered a classic of the teen comedy genre and was released in 1999.

Sources:

10 Things I Hate About You. Directed by Gil Junger, Touchstone Pictures, Mad Chance, Jaret Entertainment, 1999. Accessed 2 April 2024.

Evon, Dan. "Snopes Tips: A Guide To Performing Reverse Image Searches." Snopes, 22 Mar. 2022, https://www.snopes.com//articles/400681/how-to-perform-reverse-image-searches/. Accessed 2 April 2024.

Wilkinson, Alissa. "10 Things I Hate About You Is as Fresh as Ever, Even 20 Years Later." Vox, 29 Mar. 2019, https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/3/29/18287403/10-things-i-hate-about-you-20-anniversary-heath-ledger-julia-stiles-shakespeare. Accessed 2 April 2024.