Before becoming a star with claw, talent and that image of strength and overflowing sexuality that was given to her by her first great title, Basic Instinct , Sharon Stone was just a young actress looking for her definitive opportunity. When that title came to her, the interpreter was 32 years old and had already made 17 films. So Paul Verhoeven's film was seized upon as the ultimate opportunity to achieve the star status he always craved. He was not wrong. But he also did not imagine what he would experience on that shoot and what everything that surrounded that film would make him understand.
Stone tells all this and even more in his memoirs, The Beauty of Living Twice ( The Beauty of Living Twice, 256 pages edited by Atlantic Books), which will be published on April 1 and of which the US edition of Vanity Fair has obtained a long excerpt. In it, Stone explains that before facing that title she was a "shy and introverted" woman, and that it was thanks to her acting teacher, Roy London (who also taught Brad Pitt, Geena Davis and Robert Downey Jr. , among others), when he was able to face those interpretive challenges. "I knew it was my last chance," writes Stone.
Sexuality is a very prominent issue in Stone's memoirs; at least in the piece that has been released of the almost 260 pages of the volume. “Chuck, my agent at the time, told me that no one would hire me because I was not sexy. He was not, as they said in Hollywood at the time, 'fuckable'. Her teacher helped her to get rid of complexes and to launch herself to play Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct , a role that she had a hard time getting. For starters, his manager broke into the director's office and stole the script. It took her "seven or eight months" to get Verhoeven to see her, because co-star Michael Douglas didn't want to audition her. “I was nobody compared to him, and it was a very risky movie. The role was offered to 12 other actresses who turned it down and then Michael agreed to try me out. Now we are friends. He taught me a lot, ”he relates.
That 1992 film brought him fame and fortune. She says that when they went to the Cannes Film Festival she had to improvise a dress with a bikini and her sarong because some fans raided her suite and took her clothes, consolidating her status as a star … but also as a beginner, because she had no money to buy. Nothing else.
The one from Pennsylvania does not overlook the famous scene for which the film was forever marked on the retina of millions of viewers: that of its famous crossing of legs. She describes how she was called to see the film and that when she arrived she was met by "a room full of agents and lawyers who had nothing to do with the project." “And that's how I found a plane of my vagina for the first time, long after they had told me: 'You can't see anything, we just need you to take off your panties because white reflects the light, and you can tell you're wearing them. '. Yes, there have been many points of view on this subject, but since I am the one with the vagina in question, let me tell you: the other points of view are bullshit. ”
Afterwards, she says that“ nothing else mattered ”. “It was me and my parts there, I had to make decisions. I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul, left, got in the car, and called my lawyer, Marty Singer . He told me that they could not release the film like that, that he could request an order, which would qualify it as X to begin with, ”he explains, reporting that he would also have the actors' union on his side. Stone thought long and hard about it, he remembers in this autobiography. It had already been difficult for her to play that role, which involved connecting with very dark parts of herself, suffering panic attacks, waking up between nightmares at night … "and this was again a challenge." “After the show, I let Paul know about the options Marty had given me. Of course, he vehemently denied that he had any choice. She was just an actress, just a woman, what chance was she going to have? But he did. So I thought and thought and decided to allow the scene. Why? Because it was the right thing to do for the movie and for the character and because, despite everything, I had done it. ”
Forbidden to be sexy if you are a woman and over 55 Marty Singer, the lawyer who protects the damaged stars of Hollywood
This conscious taking of alternatives has accompanied her throughout her entire career. Not always with certainty, as she herself confesses: “I made decisions from the scars of an eight-year-old girl, and from those deep wounds that I had not learned to heal. I faked it until I made it ”. Throughout these decades he has not hesitated to position himself, for example, in pursuit of homosexual actors at times when they were marginalized from the industry, or in openly criticizing those who have worked with it "too high to talk, too drunk to lead". “I have never done very well with that, it is not a popular position, especially not then, not even as a woman. It would be fair to say that I screwed up myself. ”
Sex has been very present in her career:“ It has been something to take into account ”, she recounts in the book,“ and not only on screen ”. Although she also says that this is due to her condition as a woman and to always being surrounded by men, "only men, hundreds of men", since she used to be the only female on the set except for the costume designer, in general. "I don't think it's anything in particular about this business at all," he muses. In fact, it calls for more legal action for men and women who have suffered abuse, and claims that the lack of legal action "is a crime in itself."
For Stone, being an actress "was everything, absolutely everything," she says, explaining that she loved from reading the script to "the aroma of the set." He says that he has devoted himself 100% to all his projects, large, small, popular … "Even with the worst directors, like the one who said he would not direct me because I refused to sit on his lap," he recalls. "Yes, it was a multi-million dollar movie, I was the star and the studio did not say or do anything," he explains graphically, recounting that he spent the day in his caravan with his baby. The film, he says, was a failure. But as a superstar, which she was then, and as a woman, she had nothing to say. This was my day to day. Even a high and abusive director had more power than me. ”
The abuse has been experienced by producers, such as the one who suggested that he should sleep with his co-star“ to have chemistry ”. "What do you think, that because I sleep with him he will be a better actor? Nobody is that good in bed. I thought they should hire a more talented partner, who could take a scene and remember his text. I also thought they could fuck off and leave me alone. ”
Sharon Stone says she still likes to act and takes“ pride ”in her work:“ I've earned it ”. She says that being an actress is her passion, now even more than before, because she is comfortable, she has lived experiences that help her and everything is much easier ”. Also because he feels less pressure, it is no longer his only reason for living. "When the workday is over, good or bad – and it is usually good – I go back to a house full of love, so nothing happens."