Wood's father David (a theater director) and mother Sara (an actress) put their baby daughter in his productions. "Once I was old enough to walk and talk, I was pushed out on stage, and I just kind of did it ever since," she tells the Los Angeles Times in 2005. "It wasn't until I was about 9 or some thing that I realized that this was a really special thing I was getting to do and I wanted to keep doing it." In 1995, she appears in the supernatural series, American Gothic.
After her parents' divorce, Wood moves to L.A. with her mother, where she is cast as Billy Campbell's daughter (right) on the ABC drama, Once and Again. As Jessie, Wood tackles an eating disorder and an attraction to a female classmate. "I remember the first episode I directed after the pilot," the show's producer Marshall Herskovitz tells Newsweek. "There was a scene where she had to break down and cry. I'm sitting there watching her in the monitor, and I started to cry. That was the first time in 25 years of directing that I cried on the set." After three seasons, the critically acclaimed series is cancelled due to low ratings.
Wood, 11, makes her feature debut as a girl who befriends a mentally handicapped Kevin Bacon in Digging to China (left). In the coming years, she appears with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic and Cate Blanchett in Ron Howard's The Missing. "I think she is scarily good," Andrew Niccol, who directed her in S1m0ne, tells the Los Angeles Times. "The great thing about Evan is that there is an intelligence behind her eyes. There is something going on. The thing about her is, I don't know where she gets it from. She has amazing maturity."
"I put it down. I was afraid of it for a while because of the subject matter. It was so intense," Wood tells the Los Angeles Times of reading the screenplay for Thirteen, in which she plays a teen who changes overnight from polite girl-next-door to having sex, shoplifting and doing drugs. "I had never really done anything like that. I phoned my agent and, right then, I said, 'I have to do this movie.'" The film, which also stars Holly Hunter and Nikki Reed (right), introduces Wood to a larger audience of critics and indie film directors.
Wood plays Joan Allen's youngest daughter in The Upside of Anger with Keri Russell and Erika Christensen (right). "It was nice to play a sane girl for a change, nice to have this sweet film to balance everything out, because everybody thinks I just go for extreme roles," Wood tells L.A.'s Daily News.
Wood appears in Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" music video alongside Billy Elliott star Jamie Bell (left). They begin dating, and step out together as a couple at the premiere of 2005's King Kong. "I think Jamie is awesome. And it's even better when you know him because he's just a completely different person on screen," Wood says.
In Pretty Persuasion, Wood plays a 15-year-old mischievous vixen who frames a teacher for sexual harassment. L.A.'s Daily News says the film makes Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams' Mean Girls "look like a Girl Scout Jamboree," while the New York Times says Wood "is a screen monster worthy to stand beside Suzanne Stone, Nicole Kidman's fame-obsessed television weather reporter in To Die For."
Alongside Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow, Wood plays the bold daughter of an eccentric psychotherapist in the film adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' bestselling memoir Running with Scissors. Of playing another dark teen, she tells Newsweek, "There are plenty of movies about teens and proms. That's what I want to shy away from, to show there's many more levels."
Weeks after Marilyn Manson, 38, files for divorce from Dita Von Teese, 34, Wood, 19, is linked to the rocker. Sources tell PEOPLE that their relationship was a factor in Manson's divorce. "I've found my double, my twin," Manson tells France's Le Parisien newspaper. "She's l9 and certainly that's very young, but that's not a problem for me." Wood, who appears in Manson's "Heart-Shaped Glasses" music video (inset), tells the British edition of Elle that he is "lovely, really human and just amazing. It may surprise you just how healthy and loving our relationship is."
Wood sings Beatles hits in the musical drama set during the Vietnam War protests in Across the Universe with Jim Sturgess (right). "The hardest part is singing live and acting at the same time," Wood, who sings "If I Fell" in the film, tells USA Today. "You have to show emotion and sing the song well. These are the most well-loved songs, so you don't want to disappoint." Director Julie Taymor adds: "She's the best young actress out there...she has been doing this since she was a child. She's like an old-time movie star."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): ABC; Everett Collection; Twentieth Century; Everett Collection; Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic; Alan Markfield/Samuel Goldwyn Films; Everett Collection; Stefan Trautmann/WENN; Revolution Studios