updated 09/22/2009 AT 5:55 PM ET
•originally published 09/24/2009 AT 10:15 AM ET
With his matinee idol looks, Jude Law is one of Hollywood’s reigning heartthrobs. But in the movie Rage, the handsome actor shows off his feminine side as a sultry transsexual supermodel named Minx.
Virtually unrecognizable in a black wig, a black strapless dress, scarlet lipstick and smokey shadow highlighting his blue eyes, Law, 36, delivers what may be one of his most dramatic screen transformations to date.
“You want to know the secret of my success?,” he purrs into the camera in a thick Russian accent. “I love myself.”
Going glam wasn’t easy, Law admitted at the film s premiere at The Box, a cabaret theater in Manhattan. “On the first day, it took a few hours because I had to remove all my hair,” he says. “I’m a bit of a coward. I didn t go for the waxing. I just shaved it.”
Wasn’t that awfully itchy? “When it grew back,” he admitted to PEOPLE.
The film, by British director Sally Potter, also stars Dame Judi Dench, Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Bob Balaban, Eddie Izzard and Dianne Wiest as fashion insiders being interviewed backstage at a New York fashion show.