Dangerous Liaisons' Violated Beauty, Uma Thurman, 18, Is a Little Risky Herself
Obviously, this Uma may be young, but she's pretty outspoken and self-assured. "She's 18 going on 40. She's far more worldly than I am," says Liaisons director Stephen Frears. "There is nothing twitchy teenager-ish about her," agrees co-star Malkovich. "I haven't met anyone like her at that age. Her intelligence and poise stand out. But there's something else. She's more than a little haunted."
Blame it on a spirited childhood. Her father, Robert, a religion professor at Columbia University, named her Uma after a goddess in Hindu mythology. The Thurmans—her father, mother Nena and three brothers—led an itinerant life. Uma was born in Boston, where her father was a grad student at Harvard. Sabbaticals were spent in Europe and India. Says Thurman: "I didn't completely belong at any of the schools I went to. I had a funny name, a funny face, big nose, and people told me I was more ugly than pretty." Uma developed a tough, independent personality. At 15, she left Woodstock, N.Y., where her family was living, to pursue acting in Manhattan. She supported herself by modeling and washing dishes.
No more. Next she'll be seen as Venus in Terry Gilliam's comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, due out in March. Her offscreen romances may not be as heated as her onscreen romps. Does she have a beau? "What? Do you think I'm a lesbian?" she barks. Pressed, she says, "I'm a neuter. I'm not dating anybody now. I like my jade plant, Henry." Any other questions?