SET VISIT: ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You!

10 Things I Hate About You

Over the years, there have been countless reimaginings of Shakespearean plays.  With stories being retold in every possible setting and time period, Baz Luhrman popularized the concept for a young adult audience with his 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, complete with guns instead of swords and a Miami-esque setting in place of familiar fair Verona.  In 1999, Gil Junger’s 10 Things I Hate About You took the same idea a step further, bringing Shakespeare to an even younger audience: high schoolers.  Largely remembered as the late Heath Ledger’s breakthrough performance and with characters that were simultaneously relatable and iconic teen movie stereotypes, 10 Things I Hate About You became an instant classic for Generation Y. 

Now, ten years later, ABC Family has resurrected the film with a TV show by the same name.  I recently had the opportunity to have breakfast with lead actor Ethan Peck, as well as visit the set of the show, where I was able to observe production and participate in interviews with writer and executive producer Carter Covington (Greek), actors Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You, Boston Legal), Lindsey Shaw (Aliens in America), and Meaghan Jette Martin (Camp Rock, Dear Lemon Lima).

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting the highlights of breakfast with Peck, as well as the highlights from interviews with Covington, Miller, Shaw, and Martin.  After the jump, my experience on set and observing production.


10 Things films in Santa Clarita, California, about forty-five minutes north of Los Angeles.  It’s hot, stifling, and all in all, overwhelming.  Step into the studio, though, and it’s a different world.  The lighting might not be right.  There might not be any students around, or ceilings, for that matter, but make no mistake: you’re back in high school.  How’s it feel? 

Hallway for 10 Things set

Carter Covington (third from right), with former Melrose pool turned stairwell to the right.  Photo courtesy of ABC Family/Adam Rose.

Padua High School is no longer a preppy, towering prep school castle in the middle of a suburb as it was in the movie; it’s a public high school in the suburbs with Spanish feeling architecture and handmade posters everywhere. A fun fact: the Padua High set used to be the set of Melrose Place.  The school’s stairwell used to be Melrose’s infamous pool, much to Covington’s delight: “Every time I walk by [the pool], I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s where Sydney threw Jane into the pool!’”

The quad is the epitome of high school – fenced in by lockers, decorated with chewing gum-lined water fountains.  This is, according to Covington, where he wanted a large amount of the scenes to take place: a setting where all characters could be present without being directly involved with one another.  There’s a trophy case in the main hall, burgundy and gold lockers at every turn.  Surprisingly, there is only one classroom, which is redecorated and used for every classroom scene in the series. 

Carter Covington and the classroom set.

Covington discusses the sole classroom on set.  Photo courtesy of ABC Family/Adam Rose.

Not only were we allowed to tour the set, but we also observed production.  The episode being filmed, as well as several others within the season, is directed by the director of the original film, Gil Junger.  Junger is a director who seems to know exactly what he wants, running an efficient set that’s still able to laugh at itself when appropriate.  It’s hard to describe at the moment after being asked to keep the scene under wraps by ABC Family, but filming was taking place in the Verona household, where Bianca is shown spending time with a friend.  With a brief appearance by Miller as Martin’s father, the scene is hysterical – and decidedly un-ABC Family. 

While the network’s other show, Greek, has pushed some limits, this scene pushed things even further. When the idea of Bianca selling her panties to Japan was turned down, this scene was written to replace it.  The biggest hint I can give?  Webcam. 

Meaghan Jette Martin and costar speak to press.

Meaghan Jette Martin and costar break between filming to speak to press.  Photo courtesy of ABC Family/Adam Rose.

Feel sufficiently teased?  The scene shows up in episode six. 

The set visit cannot fully be described without Covington, whose commentary gave every item on set a bit of history, humor, and insight to the show.  Every piece had a purpose or a story, an anecdote to bring back Carter’s own memories as well as those of the television viewer.   Tomorrow, more of his thoughts on the set, as well as his thoughts on the show itself.