This Irish actor gives good goosebump. Whether he’s making Julia Roberts jittery in Sleeping with the Enemy or stalking Sean Young in Love Crimes, spines tingle whenever his stone-cut features and intense blue eyes get a close-up. You may not root for him, but you root for more screen time. “Some women have responded very positively to the villains I’ve played,” concedes bachelor Bergin, 38, in a soft brogue. “They are attracted to that power. It’s incredible how many consider Anthony Hopkins sexy in Silence of the Lambs.” Notes Crimes director Lizzie Borden: “Patrick has a very aquiline nose and can be as dark and brooding as Heathcliff. With a mustache, he looks like he walked out of a romance novel. Without it, he looks like he could be in an Irish pub, singing songs.”
The 6’3″ former English teacher didn’t always play a wolf in creep’s clothing. Bergin, one of five kids, grew up in Dublin. “When I was in my 20s,” he says dryly, “I entered a brief period of being good-looking. Then I got ugly again. My nose is a bit twisted, so I lack that perfect symmetry to be considered beautiful.” But not too shabby to be given the chance to show he can swashbuckle with the best. Bergin portrayed explorer Richard Burton in Mountains of the Moon and Robin Hood in a version that was, in America, sidetracked to TV by the Kevin Costner movie. Yet at the moment, nasty roles seem to suit him. Come June, Bergin’s the head terrorist in the big-screen version of Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games. Count on more close-ups—and more chills.