It's been fourteen years and the actress is still not afraid to bare it all
Sharon Stone looks like a movie star. It always surprises me how famous actors and actresses don't look anywhere near the part in person. This is not the case with Sharon Stone. She is stunning, radiantly beautiful and glamorous. She's also quite intense. She didn't have any qualms about answering the hard questions. Here's Sharon Stone on making a sequel fourteen years after the original, working with co-star David Morrissey, and her upcoming film slate.
Why do you think it took so long to get the sequel going? What was your motivation to stick by it while others dropped out of it?
Sharon Stone: They tried other things over the years. They had all these different ideas. They even sold it to a different producer who wanted to make it with a different actress. He called me in to have a meeting, and talk to me about it, and I explained to him, "Great idea, let's do it."
How long ago was that?
Sharon Stone: Like a year and a half ago. I said, "Great idea, let me tell you my take on the character and if you want me to take her out to lunch and talk to her about it, I will. She's great." And then he got completely freaked out.
Who is the actress they had in mind?
Sharon Stone: I don't think it's appropriate to say.
How has this character changed in the fourteen years since the first film?
Sharon Stone: With a character like that over time, she becomes so much more observational and so much more dangerous, because of her need and her desire to be loved and her desperate disability to accomplish that. I thought at the beginning of the movie that she really, truly was suicidal. It's just another buzz and it really isn't going to get me. It's like playing with the police is a little buzz. So to find someone that maybe understands her and maybe gets her is like a dim flick of a light of hope, so it takes a while for her to engage, which is very risky in a movie like this. You want the character to be interesting, but you have to find a way to make her interesting while she's disparate and disconnected.
Whose idea was it to move the setting to London and how did that change the dynamics?
Sharon Stone: We got a list of places with tax shelters and a financial exchange that made it become financially viable to shoot. I think there was a list of seven choices. I had just made 152 movies in Canada, and I was like "Let's go somewhere else." Not that we don't love Canada, but I just thought, "Let's go somewhere that looks different and looks more Basic Instinct." I don't think I can see Catherine Tramell going, "Why don't I move to Canada?"
It seems like the casting was based on the location. Was the script done when you made that decision?
Sharon Stone: It was already written, and so of all of the possible choices, London just seemed to weave more realistically to the characters.
It's interesting that Basic Instinct 2 is coming out now because last year was Hollywood's "gay year"...
Sharon Stone: This year can be Hollywood's "sex year".
When the first movie came out, there was a big controversy about evil lesbians. How do you see the sequel in the context of today's society?
Sharon Stone: What's so terrific is that I think we did break those borders, and break the boundaries of sexuality and homosexuality and all of these kinds of things that were so taboo. I'm really proud of the boundaries we broke, and you know, when I was nominated for a Golden Globe for the first film, people laughed in the room. Who's laughing now? The film is still playing. It's still being rented. People still know that character by name. I'm thrilled.
Was there less in Basic Instinct 2 in terms of breaking taboos?
Sharon Stone: Jeez, what are you going to do? I mean, we are able and allowed and afforded the possibility of being who and what we are as humans in filmmaking. And you know what? I couldn't be more pleased. We had a ménage a trois scene with this glorious French actress, but when we took everything to the ratings board, they just made us cut out a bunch of stuff. I think it's been on the Internet. You can see her there. She was so lovely and pretty and talented and interesting and hot.
Do you think that part will be on the DVD?
Sharon Stone: I think they'll do a director's cut.
Did you have any hesitations about the nudity?
Sharon Stone: I don't, because it's so appropriate to the character. It's the way she chooses to be manipulative. It's one of her ways to be incredibly irritating. She uses sex and nudity as a weapon. She's not a gunslinger. She's a sex-slinger. We've all seen these movies where the character is supposed to be nude and the actress refuses to do it. It's all about, to me, being in the movie completely.
Talk about the casting of David Morrissey. There was a lot of press about other actors turning down the part.
Sharon Stone: What's really interesting is that they like to talk about who turned down the part. I'd like to thank the thirteen women who turned down Basic Instinct because I was the fourteenth choice. They want to say so-and-so turned down being in Basic Instinct 2. I'd like to thank each and every one of them for turning it down. I got to have David Morrissey. I'd like to write them a thank you note; because there isn't anybody I'd rather have in the movie then David Morrissey. There isn't anybody who could play that part better, and there isn't anybody who is more handsome and sexy and talented and interesting. That guy is a giant star. He's a spectacular human being, and I loved working with him.
How was Michael Caton-Jones different in his approach to the material than Paul Verhoeven [the director of Basic Instinct]?
Sharon Stone: Night and day. Paul Verhoeven believed in me and trusted me and brought me to this movie when I don't think anyone else would or could have. I was very lucky and enormously indebted to Paul. Playing Catherine Trammell, you're in a very peculiar and weird headspace, and it's not an affable place, because you bring out the darkness in everybody, and then you don't have any compassion for them. Paul totally understood that, because he pushed me to be that. Michael wanted me to be that, but I can't say he liked me very much when I was being that. When the movie was over, we liked each other really a lot, because we both respected and admired each other for staying in our game and doing a good job. But it's not pretty to be Catherine Trammell.
David Cronenberg was initially attached to direct the sequel. Why did he leave the project?
Sharon Stone: We love him, of course. He's so talented and so amazing. How great was Crash? It's a little private thing, but I'll share it with you. Marty Scorsese wanted to see Crash, so I made a surprise dinner party for him and invited David Cronenberg over to the house and screened the movie. Oh, what a fun night! David had really great ideas, but that would have been a very different kind of movie. I think that in the end, people just got kind of afraid that maybe it wouldn't be so commercial. What's funny is that some of his ideas that they were the most afraid of remained in the movie.
That's interesting, could you point out what scenes?
Sharon Stone: I don't think it's fair to say. I also don't think I have that permission, but I think they just got afraid. He's so inventive. They just got afraid that his ideas weren't going to be mainstream.
How much were you concerned about your look, fashion-wise, in the film?
Sharon Stone: I thought she should be really fashion forward, and yet have her look. So, "I get to pick the wardrobe person!" I just think that Beatrix Pasztor is the most fascinating, interesting, amazing wardrobe person. Look at some of the things she's done. Look at Vanity Fair for example, and that was not a big budget movie. You look at those costumes and it's mind blowing.
Do you see a Basic Instinct 3 happening?
Sharon Stone: (Laughs hysterically) You know, it's really funny. It never crossed my mind and then on this press tour, people keep asking me that and I keep thinking, "Oh my God...what if they really want to do that?"
Would you bring anything different to the character if you did another sequel?
Sharon Stone: Yeah, my wheelchair! (laughs)
What else do you have coming up?
Sharon Stone:Alpha Dog, that I did with Nick Cassavetes. And Bobby with Demi Moore. This is a Demi Moore you've never seen, and she is going to knock your socks off! It's unbelievable the performance she does. I run the beauty shop in the Ambassador Hotel. It's the sixteen hours leading up to when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Bill Macy is my husband, who runs the hotel, and Christian Slater works for him, and Anthony Hopkins is the retired doorman who doesn't leave and stays, and Harry Belafonte is his friend that he plays chess with at the hotel, and Laurence Fishburne runs the kitchen and Lindsay Lohan, and Heather Graham and Holly Hunter, and Elijah Wood. I mean, this is a cast!
Basic Instinct 2 hits theaters this Friday and is rated R.