Close-up: Valeria Golino |


Close-up: Valeria Golino

Close-up: Valeria Golino -- We talk to the actress from ''The Indian Runner''

It’s all in her eyes. There’s a scene in Valeria Golino’s latest film, this month’s The Indian Runner, when she looks down from a second-story window at her husband (David Morse) in their garden; she catches his eye, motions toward her heart, and in a split-second stare reveals a lifetime of feeling — her character’s and her own. The 24-year-old part-Italian, part-Greek actress (born in Naples, raised in Athens) was eye-catching herself early on. At 16, at her uncle’s house in Rome, Golino met director Lina Wertmuller, who cast her in A Joke of Destiny; Americans have seen her as Big Top Pee-wee’s love interest (1988); as Tom Cruise’s Rain Man girlfriend (1988); and especially as the wacky psychologist in this summer’s sizzling Hot Shots! She’s an actress who’s taken small roles and made them big, a quietly rising star.

Golino spends most of her time ”vegging and reading” in her Hollywood Hills home, and she admits she’s got a lot to learn. She says, ”I really taught myself on the set — from my own mistakes and from seeing much better people work.” And you can tell she appreciates her good fortune — it shows in her eyes.