There's something so delicious about rewatching a movie you can quote by heart. I have a few standbys: Some are classics for my age, like Mean Girls and Legally Blonde; others are personal outliers like Pineapple Express and Call Me By Your Name (we all have our niches!). Still, there's something about a late 1990s, early 2000s rom-com that hits differently. Scenes are more memorable, dialogue more quotable — so memorable and quotable that Sarah Ramos, actor and pop culture obsessive, has made it her mission to recreate as many of those stuck-in-your-head scenes as possible with her project called, "Quaran-scenes."
Over the last couple of months Ramos has brilliantly garnered a whole new spectrum of fans who tune in weekly to see her recreate scenes from their favourite movies, TV shows, and pop culture moments.
Born out of a little quarantine boredom, combines decades of fanning out to her favourite movie scenes, Ramos stars, directs, and edits all the clips herself, and has even recruited a few friends, like Dylan O'Brien, Elle Fanning, and Max Minghella, to join in on the recreations. And though Ramos has a long resume of her own, appearing in American Dreams from 2002 to 2005, Parenthood from 2010 to 2015, and films like How to Be Single, The Boy Downstairs and the upcoming HBO Lakers project, her ability to transform into beloved movie and TV characters is unmatched.
Because of her impeccable taste and range, it only made sense that Ramos recreate a scene for R29 Movie Club's rewatch of the 10 Things I Hate About You. Starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, Allison Janney, and Gabrielle Union the 1999 movie is teeming with potential quaran-scenes, but only one scene became a cultural reset; only one scene was so iconic that any person who has seen the movie remembers it — except for the very woman who stars in it.
Refinery29: Why did you choose to recreate a scene from 10 Things I Hate About You?
Sarah Ramos: “I have a long history with 10 Things I Hate About You. It is one of these movies that I have scenes memorised from. I can recall the exchange between Bianca and Gabrielle Union at the drop of a hat, where they’re like, “I like by Sketchers, but I love my Prada backup.” And Gabrielle’s like, “But I love my Sketchers,” and Bianca’s like, “That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.” This movie is extremely quotable. You also have Heath Ledger dancing and singing that song on the bleachers. It’s hilarious. The scene I chose to do is the one with Allison Janney where she is writing her romance novels and then she gives Julia Stiles advice. Movies in the 2000s and late 90s — they don’t have the right to be this funny. They certainly don’t write like scenes like this anymore that go beyond the duty of moving the story forward and they actually crystallise diamonds themselves.”
I love that you chose that scene — I knew you weren’t going to do the “10 Things I Hate About You” poem because it’s too... basic.
“It’s not funny enough.”
Is that part of the qualifications of what you choose for a “Quaran-scene”?
“I try to choose scenes that feel symbolic to me for various reasons. It’s not that I wouldn’t do the 10 Things I Hate About You poem, I just don’t want to do that. Do I want to do Allison Janney trying to write a romance novel trying to find a different word for engorge? Yeah. I love Allison Janney. I think she said she forgot she was in 10 Things I Hate About You. [Editor's note: She did.] I have also been trying to do scenes where I don't need another person there, so the actual context of the scenes actually guide my choices, too."
How long does a scene typically take you?
"It definitely depends. When I did the Legally Blonde scene with Chloe Fineman, I had to play like 11 to 15 characters so I spaced that out over the week. I was like Okay, I'll do Ali Larter and Linda Cardellini today and tomorrow I'll do the jury. It ends up being an hour or so at a time, and it depends on how many takes I do, because then I have to go through all the clips for editing. It's a push-pull of me being a perfectionist, and me being like let's just get it done. I'm my own worst enemy in that sense."
How would you describe your sense of humor?
"It's interesting — with the Big Little Lies scene I just did where I'm Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, I got so many different reactions from, Oh my God you nailed the Merylisms! to You shouldn't have touched Meryl to being like This show was so crazy!. To me, that is funny and crazy, seeing that everyone is a critic. [Laughs]. I have all these people in my DMs and they all consider themselves the authority not realising that the person that is commenting right above them completely contradicts them.
"I like unintentionally funny moments. When taken out of context, something really dramatic feels awkwardly bizarre and makes me laugh, which I guess is just the internet."
Everyone is going to have their opinions.
I thought that one was really good!
"I am trying to evolve the project and not just do the same thing. When I first started doing it I was like, I shouldn't do anything that was intentionally comedic because that is going to hard to top. Then I wanted to, and people wanted me to. For the Taylor Swift [one], her talking about being in her own house stuck out in my mind. Someone commented, 'This feels mean!' and I was like, 'Well, wait until you find out about actually mean people.' I try to not repeat exact scenes."
Are you taking audience requests for future scenes?
"I love the audience requests. I am a pop culture obsessive so I like connecting with other pop culture obsessives and I love getting recommendations, that's why I started asking people to guess who the character is [for each video]. There's always some that are really funny and wrong, and then there are a ton that are accurate and that is an amazing feeling and it is such a twisted... I think we are all losing our minds together, but it's entertaining. I wanted to crowd source people telling me what Pretty Little Liars scene I should do.
Is there a most requested scene?
"There have been a ton of Erin Brockovich requests and I will get to that."