Why we can?t seem to take our eyes off the ''Girl, Interrupted'' star

By Fred Schruers
Updated December 23, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

”Basically, every character I’ve ever played is me,” says Angelina Jolie, 25. ”There are, like, 40 people inside me, and I just take away 39 of them for a particular role.”

Indeed. In the year 2000, we’ve enjoyed getting to know the personalities that live vividly inside Jolie: The Academy Award winner (supporting actress for Girl, Interrupted), the box office siren (earning $102 million with Gone in 60 Seconds), the passionate sibling (her Oscar-night canoodling with brother James left viewers…uneasy), the no-frills bride (she abruptly wed director-actor Billy Bob Thornton May 5), and, of course, the tattoo devotee (her left forearm is stamped with Tennessee Williams’ ”A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages”). And they all come wrapped in the same startling package: juicy lips, crazy eyes, and the occasional head-turning Goth ensemble.

But along with her appetite for the less conventional, there’s little doubt that Jolie has become Hollywood’s go-to girl for parts where hard-bitten ways disguise a fragile heart. Even in the low-brow 60 Seconds, she pierced the cliches of the moll role (”Service department’s over there,” she spits at surprise visitor — and ex-lover — Nicolas Cage). With a rawness that goes hand in hand with her unapologetic lust for life, the actress should continue to captivate long after her headline-seeking personas fade from view. Next year she’ll get steamy with Antonio Banderas in Original Sin, then play cyberbabe Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, and she’s set to shoot Oliver Stone’s romance Beyond Borders.

Still trying to make sense of her many lives? She sums it up best: ”People either like me or don’t like me for being honest and flawed and a little crazy. But I’ve been around long enough, and there’s been so much that’s come out about me, that at least people know I’m human. That’s the greatest part of my life, that I get to share it with everyone in the world. It’s also the worst part.”