BASIC INSTINCTS AROUSED AGAIN
by Brad Balfour
For Sharon Stone, the first Basic Instinct film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, was quite an odyssey; it established her as a provocative sex symbol, an actress willing to open herself up (and her legs) for the camera. In that film, she played a lesbian crime novelist accused of acting her tortured murder mysteries; along the way she had rough sex with the police detective investigating her (Michael Douglas).
Nearly fifteen years later, Stone grapples with getting older and finding age appropriate roles. In the meantime she finally has this chance to reprise her character of Catherine Trammell as older, deadlier and campier as well – and in England no less.
As time has passed since the last movie, what have you added to the character of Catherine Trammell?
Well… [long pause] With a character like that over time, she becomes so much more observational and much more dangerous, because of her need and desire to be loved and her desperate disability to accomplish that. So I thought at the beginning of the movie, she really truly was suicidal, and it really was… Wow! Even here, I’m not really feeling that much, and even here, it’s just another buzz and it really isn’t going to get me. It’s like playing with the police is as little buzz but it’s not much anymore, so to find someone that maybe understands her and gets her is like a dim flick of a light of hope. It takes a while for her to engage, which is very risky in a movie like this, because she’s a little bit out of it. You want the character to be interesting, but you have to find a way to make her interesting while she’s disparate and disconnected.
Why did it take so long to get the sequel going and why did you stick by it while others dropped out?
Well, 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 into 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?
Like a year or 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 was the actress?
I don’t think it’s appropriate to say.
Last year was Hollywood’s “gay year” and now Basic Instinct 2 is coming out…
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 this in the context of today’s society?
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. Because of that, we have broken all kinds of boundaries and are afforded all kinds of things to be spoken about and done in filmmaking. I’m really proud of the boundaries we broke. You know, when I was nominated for a Golden Globe for the first film, people laughed in the room, because they couldn’t cope that a film of our kind of controversy got critical acclaim. But you know what? Who’s laughing now? The film is still playing. It’s still being rented. People still know that character by name, and look at the kinds of films that are being made as a result of taboos being broken in the theatre. I’m thrilled.
Do you think there is less taboo breaking in BI2?
Well, I mean, jeez, what are you going to do? 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.
So in the place of male protagonist played by Michael Douglas we have English actor David Morrissey?
You know 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 1, 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. So I got to have David Morrissey, because I feel about him, like I think Mario Cassar feels about me in Basic Instinct 1. I couldn’t be more thrilled that every single person turned down Basic Instinct 2. I’d like to write them a thank you note; because there isn’t anybody I’d rather have in that 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, and there isn’t anybody that would have caused me to be more challenged and on my toes and on my game than David Morrissey. That guy is a giant star. He is super talented, super smart, witty, interesting and fabulous, and even more. He’s a spectacular human being, and I loved working with him.
How different was director Michael Caton-Jones approach to making this film from Paul Verhoeven?
Night and day. That was also very challenging and interesting, because you know, 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. I just adore him. 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. You just kind of watch them like a rat in a maze. And so, Paul totally understood that, because he pushed me to be that, but coming to work as that, was someone who didn’t invent that with me and for me is also very different. 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.
The lesbian aspect was played down a bit.
Well, you know 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 and that was one of the things they made us cut out. I think it’s been on the internet, and you can see her there. She was so lovely and pretty and talented and interesting and hot.
So this wasn’t Sony’s decision?
No, no… We had a limit and we were over it.
Do you think that part will be on the DVD?
I think they’ll do a director’s cut.
Being older and having more years of experience, does that add new qualities to Catherine Trammell?
I hope so, I hope that I was a little more like Michael than in the first one, where I came to work a little more relaxed and more generous and more able to be there for other people and more comfortable in general as an artist. When I came to work on the first one, I was paralyzed. I kept waiting for them to replace me with the actor they really wanted. You know, why me? Why did I get so lucky that I got the part? In this one, who else were they going to get? So I’ll probably get to play it all the way through. I was able to be more sure, and I think over time, you come to understand that a movie’s just a movie, and it isn’t everything.
Will there be a Basic Instinct 3?
(crazy laugh) 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… wow… At the beginning, when we left for the first country, I thought “NO! God!” and now like six countries later, I’m like “Oh my God… what if they really want to do that?”
Would you bring anything different to the character if you did 3?
Yeah, my wheelchair… (laughs)
|#1 © 2006. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures. All rights reserved.|
|#2 © 2006. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures. All rights reserved.|
|#3 © 2006. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures. All rights reserved.|
|#4 © 2006. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures. All rights reserved.|
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 11, 2006.