Nearly 30 years after the release of Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone is reflecting on her iconic role in the erotic thriller. In her new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, an excerpt of which was published in Vanity Fair, Stone claims that Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven tricked her into removing her underwear ahead of her infamous leg crossing scene, which she was initially told would be far less revealing. “It was me and my parts up there,” recalls Stone. “I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer.”
In the excerpt of The Beauty of Living Twice published by Vanity Fair, Stone details the experience of seeing her Basic Instinct crotch scene for the first time. “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,” she writes. “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’.”
Stone adds that her lawyer, Marty Singer, said “that they could not release this film as it was,” as the scene in question would give Basic Instinct an X rating. “Remember, this was 1992, not now, when we see erect penises on Netflix,” she writes. “And, Marty said, per the Screen Actors Guild, my union, it wasn’t legal to shoot up my dress in this fashion.”
The Casino star claims that she and Singer discussed getting an injunction or pursuing other legal options, but when she approached Verhoeven, he was dismissive. “After the screening, I let Paul know of the options Marty had laid out for me,” she says. “Of course, he vehemently denied that I had any choices at all. I was just an actress, just a woman; what choices could I have?”
“But I did have choices. So I thought and thought and I chose to allow this scene in the film,” concludes Stone. “Why? Because it was correct for the film and for the character; and because, after all, I did it.”
Paul Verhoeven’s representatives declined to comment on this story.
Stone’s alleged conflict with Verhoeven isn’t the only bombastic claim made in The Beauty of Living Twice. Earlier in the excerpt, Stone writes that a producer told her to sleep with her co-star in order to develop “chemistry” for their on-screen love scenes. “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. 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 costar so that we could have onscreen chemistry,” she says.
The actress doesn’t specify which producer told her to have sex with her co-star, or who he was referring to at the time. However, she writes that when she refused, she was “considered difficult,” as, “Sex, not just sexuality onscreen, has long been expected in my business.”
“Naturally I didn’t you-know-what my costar; he was baffled enough without me confusing him some more,” concludes Stone. “But he did make a few haphazard passes at me in the upcoming weeks, I’m sure spurred on by this genius.”