January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

The year: 1977. The problem: serial killer Son of Sam, who’s been traumatizing New York. The message (this is a Spike Lee flick): Don’t judge a man by his haircut. In Summer of Sam, out in June, Adrien Brody plays a Bronx kid returning home. But he’s getting looks from his neighbors and best friend, John Leguizamo, because of his Mohawk. They ”think I must be a killer,” says Brody (whose mother took this photo after a fight scene). For inspiration, Brody, 26, looked to New York’s minister of paranoia. ”I got a spike necklace, silver hairspray, then put on my De Niro Taxi Driver shirt,” he says. ”I was fully prepared.”

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