There is heroism hovering behind Goran Visnjic's darkly exotic good looks. When war broke out in his native Croatia in 1991, the Sibenik-born actor had just finished his required stint in the army, but he voluntarily stayed on for three more months. "When somebody is attacking your hometown and you're just sitting in the basement, you feel really useless," says Visnjic, 26. "I felt I had to do it to defend my country."
Now the 6'4" Visnjic has only to defend himself against the bevy of young women who discovered him as Nicole Kidman's cowboy-booted boyfriend in Practical Magic. "Women go crazy for him," says Magic costar Aidan Quinn. "At the premiere, women were saying, 'Oh my God, who is that?'" Visnjic, who also had a small role in 1997's Welcome to Sarajevo, was dubbed the Tom Cruise of Croatia by Vogue in December. He now splits his time between rental apartments in Croatia, L.A. and New York City. Engaged to a Croatian sculptor, he prefers to shrug off all the breathless hoopla about his Heathcliffian visage. "Lots of people want to be movie stars," Visnjic says. "But they don't realize that to be a celebrity is not that beautiful if you can't go to the store to buy toothpaste."