It’s a famous, queasy Hollywood anecdote that Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone didn’t know that the 1992 erotic thriller’s famous interrogation scene featured a shot directly up her skirt until she saw the completed film. “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,” the actress says, in a new excerpt from her forthcoming memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, out March 30, published in Vanity Fair. “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 bullshit.” The story is just one example of the gauntlet Stone describes running as an actress working in the industry in the 1980s and ’90s, perhaps best exemplified by her revelation that a producer allegedly attempted to strong-arm her into sleeping with a male co-star to foster “onscreen chemistry.” Can we not just let the actors act, people?!
“I had a producer bring me to his office, where he had malted milk balls in a little milk-carton-type container under his arm with the spout open,” the actress recalls. “He walked back and forth in his office with the balls falling out of the spout and rolling all over the wood floor as he explained to me why I should fuck my co-star so that we could have onscreen chemistry. Why, in his day, he made love to Ava Gardner onscreen and it was so sensational! Now just the creepy thought of him in the same room with Ava Gardner gave me pause.”
Says Stone, “I watched the chocolate balls rolling around, thinking, You guys insisted on this actor when he couldn’t get one whole scene out in the test … Now you think if I fuck him, he will become a fine actor? Nobody’s that good in bed. I felt they could have just hired a co-star with talent, someone who could deliver a scene and remember his lines. I also felt they could fuck him themselves and leave me out of it. It was my job to act, and I said so. This was not a popular response. I was considered difficult.”
While Stone herself doesn’t name names, the New York Post says they’ve reached out to the actress and her Sliver co-star William Baldwin for comment on the story. The Post points out that the 1993 thriller’s producer, the late Robert Evans, co-starred across from Ava Gardner in 1957’s The Sun Also Rises during his career as an actor.
“I’ve had other producers on other films just come to my trailer and ask, ‘So, are you going to fuck him, or aren’t you? You know it would go better if you did,’” says Stone, noting that still others “have threatened to fire me if I didn’t put out.” Still, the actress is optimistic about the effects of Me Too on the industry, and, boy, it’s hard to imagine things getting any worse than they have been.
“Thank God it is not that way now,” Stone says of Hollywood in 2021. “The whole system is changing. The financial burden is real, and the old boys’ club isn’t covering for this anymore. There are more women at the helm, and they aren’t in the pocket of the men, forced to play along or be canned.”