Her beauty, frankly, is obscene. But for all of Angelina Jolie's lanky allure and opulent curves and famously full lips, she's a screen siren because of her gift for self-conscious animal energy: When, in a scene in Girl, Interrupted, she's hissed at by a pussycat, she gamely screeches back. Playing the sociopathic comrade of Winona Ryder's high-strung psychiatric patient, Jolie is polymorphously feline - a languid-limbed sex kitten, a big cat with big eyes spying hard from under black lashes, and also a whimpering stray. As Girl director James Mangold told EW, he cast her, seeking someone "dangerous, highly verbal, and sexy."
"Lisa is somebody who lives completely on impulse," Jolie has said of the part. "She just wants to shake everybody. So the character allowed for a certain amount of freedom on my part." Jolie is 24, meaning that she was born about halfway between her father, Jon Voight, getting an Oscar nod for 1969's Midnight Cowboy and his winning one for 1978's Coming Home. She started collecting her own awards in 1998. That year, the Hollywood foreign press gave her a Golden Globe for playing the governor's racy bride in TV's George Wallace. Another Globe - and a Screen Actors Guild award - came the year after for HBO's Gia, in which Jolie blew TV tubes as the titular bisexual junkie supermodel.
When she accepted a third Globe in January for her Girl turn, she showed up - with her brother in tow - looking unlike the pansexual voodoo priestess you've read about (interest in S&M, knife collections, a belly tattoo reading, in Latin, "That which feeds me destroys me"). She looked, instead, like a sleek young Faye Dunaway. Among actresses of her generation, maybe only Jolie has the combination of arrogant cool and erotic power needed to play Dunaway's Joan Crawford or Bonnie Parker or Evelyn Cross Mulwray, and maybe only she could make them suitably kittenish or catty. But is there any other young actress you'd rather see incarnate a predatory beast?