There was a lot of controversy surrounding the leg-crossing scene in actor Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct. Although it was one of her most iconic moments in the film, it wasn’t a shot she was particularly happy with.
So much so that her immediate reaction was to try and block the film’s release upon seeing it.
Sharon Stone dressed as her ‘Basic Instinct’ in character on ‘Total Recall’ to get an audition
As many know, Stone was originally far from the first choice as the manipulative Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. More popular names were tossed around for the role instead.
“In the beginning the names that came up were Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Geena Davis,” director Paul Verhoeven once told the LA Times. “It was like a package. You don’t think character, you think names. ‘Who would work with Michael Douglas?’ We had seen him with Kathleen Turner and Glenn Close. Now who?”
Verhoeven conceded that Stone wasn’t a popular enough of a name at the time to include in the movie. So Stone tried to convince Verhoeven to give her a chance. She achieved this by dressing up as Catherine Tramell while she and Verhoeven were working on a version of Total Recall.
“French twist, a Grace Kelly suit, the works,” Stone recalled wearing. “The Eszterhas script hadn’t gone to a bidding war for nothing . . . and I had gotten very far away from fulfilling myself as an artist. I was making between two and three movies a year, and I decided I wouldn’t work again unless it was something I cared about.”
Verhoeven decided to test Stone, but not only because of her looks. The director believed she had been mishandled throughout her career and wanted to rectify that mistake.
“I thought she had been degraded, fallen into the hands of people who abused her like a bimbo and that she had lost her confidence. But what I saw with her in Total Recall was that there was much more possible,” he explained.
Sharon Stone considered stopping the theatrical release of ‘Basic Instinct’ after her leg-crossing scene
Stone didn’t have a problem shooting some intimate and explicit scenes with her co-star Michael Douglas. Previous years of undressing for other films helped prepare her for the experience.
“I wore this glue-on cover thing, I don’t know what you call it,” she said. “And Michael was very chivalrous and the crew was unbelievably [supportive]. . . . The first time I did [a nude scene] in Irreconcilable Differences, where I dropped this cape and showed my breasts, I heard this sound that I realized was my heart pounding in my temples. It was so bizarre. Now, it’s kind of, well. . . .”
But if there was one scene she did have a problem with, it was her iconic leg-crossing scene. Stone initially did the scene wearing underwear. The underwear reflected a distracting light, however, and Verhoeven convinced Stone to remove it for the shot.
Verhoeven allegedly told Stone a shadow would mask her private areas, but the shadow didn’t do so completely. Still, Verhoeven allegedly included the shot in the movie without telling Stone. When the actor saw the shot in the movie during a public screening, she was humiliated at first.
“I think more I was just so shocked and I was embarrassed not to be able to process it alone with him than I was so horrified,” she once said on CNN’S Piers Morgan Tonight.
Stone had even considered putting a stop to the film altogether at one point because of the scene. But she soon changed her mind.
“After a week of considering to stop the release of the movie, I decided it fit the character in the film and it should stay in,” she once said at the Hamptons Film Festival (via Page Six).
Leave a Reply