Sharon Stone speaks about fame and that “Basic Instinct” role in her new memoir, The Beauty Of Living Twice.
The actress discusses her early career days, writing how she struggled to find jobs.
Stone says in an exclusive excerpt published by Vanity Fair, “Sometimes it is the part of us that is not like others that makes us special, that is our talent. I would go so far as to say that sometimes it is the antisocial piece, the part that makes it hard to be the hit of the party, that makes us wonderful. It was very hard for me to get to that part and make it my own.
“Chuck, my manager at the time, had told me that no one would hire me because everyone said I wasn’t sexy. I wasn’t, as they liked to say in Hollywood at the time, ‘f**kable.'”
She continues, “I was still so shy and introverted. But Roy [London, her acting teacher] kept badgering me. Roy would ask me, ‘If you keep leaving your sexuality at the door, how do you expect to play anyone at all?’
“Six weeks later I was cast in ‘Basic Instinct’.”
Stone continues of her nabbing her famous role as Catherine Tramell, “That makes it sound easier than it was. It was not easy. Chuck had to break into the casting director’s office with his credit card and steal the script so we could read it, as no one would give it to us.
“I knew right away that I wanted to play that part. Chuck then called the director, Paul Verhoeven, every day for seven or eight months to get me a screen test. I had already done ‘Total Recall’ with Paul, but Michael Douglas didn’t want to test with me. Hey, I was a nobody compared to him, and this was such a risky movie. So Paul tested with me, and kept playing my test after those of everyone else who had tested.
“Eventually, after they had offered the part to 12 other actresses who had turned it down, Michael agreed to test with me.”
Stone shares in another part, “After we shot ‘Basic Instinct’, I got called in to see it. Not on my own with the director, as one would anticipate, given the situation that has given us all pause, so to speak, but with a room full of agents and lawyers, most of whom had nothing to do with the project.
“That was how I saw my vagina-shot for the first time, long after I’d been told, ‘We can’t see anything—I just need you to remove your panties, as the white is reflecting the light, so we know you have panties on.’ Yes, there have been many points of view on this topic, but since I’m the one with the vagina in question, let me say: The other points of view are bulls**t.”
The star writes, “Now, here is the issue. It didn’t matter anymore. It was me and my parts up there. I had decisions to make. I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer, Marty Singer. Marty told me that they could not release this film as it was. That I could get an injunction. First, at that time, this would give the film an X rating. Remember, this was 1992, not now, when we see erect penises on Netflix. And, Marty said, per the Screen Actors Guild, my union, it wasn’t legal to shoot up my dress in this fashion. Whew, I thought.
“Well, that was my first thought. Then I thought some more. What if I were the director? What if I had gotten that shot? What if I had gotten it on purpose? Or by accident? What if it just existed? That was a lot to think about. I knew what film I was doing. For heaven’s sake, I fought for that part, and all that time, only this director had stood up for me. I had to find some way to become objective.”
Stone talks about the role being “by far the most stretching” thing she has done in terms of releasing the darker side of herself. She discusses having to deal with fake blood and stabbing scenes, as well as her name not being at the top of the poster with Michael Douglas’.
Stone says, towards the end of the lengthy piece, “So, the acting thing: I do still like it. Actually, I like it more than before. I feel much more comfortable in it, and it’s a whole lot easier to do. I feel less pressure when I do it now, as it is not my entire world. I have also had more profound life experiences to bring to it. When the workday is over, good or bad—and it’s mostly always good—I go home to a house full of love, so no big deal,” insisting the industry loves “hungry” actors.
Read the full excerpt here.