Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...

updated 08/04/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>Vincent D'Onofrio


CURRENTLY PLAYING THE EVIL intergalactic insect in the monster hit Men in Black, Vincent D'Onofrio is accustomed to alienating folks for the sake of his art. For his first major film role, as the hulking boot-camp grunt who goes homicidal in 1987's Full Metal Jacket, the handsome, 6'4" actor packed on 70 pounds—at considerable personal expense. "The girl I was going out with left me," says the 38-year-old character actor. "She couldn't deal with the weight."

Brooklyn-born and raised in Hawaii and Miami, D'Onofrio revels in oddball roles. After playing the lovable boy toy to Lili Taylor in 1988's Mystic Pizza, he says he faced a choice: commercially safe "brat-pack films" or darker roles. "I believed I was doing one of the most important things in the world," says the former student of Manhattan's American Stanislavsky Theater. "I wanted to do movies like Midnight Cowboy." Instead came 1991's Fires Within, during the shooting of which he fell for costar Greta Scacchi, ultimately fathering their daughter Leila, now 5. "The film was terrible," he says, "but I'm glad I did it because I wouldn't have my daughter." Split from Scacchi since 1993, he married Dutch ex-model Carin Van Der Donk, 27, last March. "I don't get jump-up-and-down excited about success," says the Hollywood resident, who also stars with Rebecca De Mornay in the new release The Winner. "What gets me emotionally are things like the time Carin told me she loved me. That was something to jump up and down about."

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