From 'X-Men''s Magento to 'Shaft''s Peoples Hernandez, this summer's best evil roles

By Dave KargerJeff JensenFred Schruers and Daniel Fierman
August 11, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Jeffrey Wright

VILLAIN Shaft‘s Peoples Hernandez
EVIL DEEDS Leads a notorious gang; pushes drugs; kills cops
JUICIEST LINE ”Yo, Shaft. I’m gonna put so many lawyers in your ass, you’re gonna think they opened a branch office up there.”
NASTIEST MOMENT After Shaft offs his brother, Peoples stabs himself with an ice pick over and over again. Bleeding and furious, he then turns his attention to our hero.
COMEUPPANCE Peoples faces down the private dick in a High Noon-style showdown. And just who do you think wins? (Ya damn right.)
ON BEING BAD ”I hung out in [Manhattan’s] Washington Heights with Dominican friends,” says Wright. ”They live this classic immigrant story — hard work and a nightmare. But what drew me was the chance to play that opposite Christian [Bale’s] character. Kind of American Psycho meets Dispossessed American Psycho.”
Daniel Fierman

Rebecca Romijn-Stamos

VILLAIN X-Men‘s Mystique
EVIL DEEDS Uses her shapeshifting ability to infiltrate school for mutants and booby-trap a computer; hijacks a boat; likes to hiss and lick lips while kung fu fighting
JUICIEST LINE ”It was people like you who made me afraid to go to school as a child.”
NASTIEST MOMENT Stomps on X-person Rogue’s fragile little heart by impersonating the troubled mutant’s boyfriend.
COMEUPPANCE Sniffed out and snuffed out by Wolverine
ON BEING BAD ”She kicks butt,” Romijn-Stamos says. ”I thought it was so cool they wanted to cast me as a villain — a lot of people think of me as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, [the] girl next door. I’m not some repressed mass murderer, but everybody’s got a dark side, right?”
Jeff Jensen

Jason Isaacs

VILLAIN The Patriot‘s Colonel William Tavington
EVIL DEEDS A commander of the British forces during the Revolutionary War, he mercilessly kills the hero’s young son, among other innocent civilians.
JUICIEST LINE ”That stupid little boy … did he die?”
NASTIEST MOMENT Locks an entire village of colonists in a church and makes their turncoat neighbor set it ablaze.
COMEUPPANCE He tastes rebel steel.
ON BEING BAD ”People like Tavington rise to the top because they can make the enemy subhuman in their minds and do what needs to be done to win at all costs,” Isaacs says. ”The audience has to think that Tavington is every bit as good a warrior as [Mel Gibson’s Benjamin Martin] — he has to be as tough and as hard and as frightening and as mad.”
Fred Schruers

Larry Miller

VILLAIN Nutty Professor II: The Klumps‘ Dean Richmond
EVIL DEEDS Schemes to attach his name to a scientific formula worth $150 million; interrupts romantic liaisons between Professor Klump and his fiancée; constantly mocks Klump’s weight problem
JUICIEST LINE ”I’ve been looking forward to saying something to you for 15 years, and here it is: You’re fat. And dumb. And fired.”
NASTIEST MOMENT When a botched experiment causes Katie, one of Klump’s beloved hamsters, to balloon to elephantine proportions, Richmond orders a security guard to shoot her.
COMEUPPANCE Katie lives to exact her revenge — and for the balance of the film Richmond is known as ”the hamster’s bitch.”
ON BEING BAD ”Richmond’s sort of like a door-to-door salesman,” Miller says. ”’Just keep listening to me — maybe I can hypnotize you with enough words so you’ll buy something before you realize that you don’t need any of this crap.”’
Dave Karger