Sharon Stone Says She Was Misled About Her Iconic 'Basic Instinct' Scene

Kayleigh Roberts
·5-min read
Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images


Sharon Stone is speaking out about her experiences in Hollywood.

In her upcoming memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, the 63-year-old actress writes about the story behind her iconic, explicit scene in 1992's Basic Instinct, in which Stone's vagina was exposed during a scene in which her character, Catherine Tramell, is interrogated by police.

In an excerpt from the book published by Vanity Fair, the actress writes about the first time she saw the now-infamous scene—and her surprise at its explicit nature. Of the experience, Stone writes:

'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. 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.' 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.

Now, here is the issue. It didn’t matter anymore. It was me and my parts up there. I had decisions to make. I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer, Marty Singer. Marty told me that they could not release this film as it was. That I could get an injunction. First, at that time, this would give the film an X rating. Remember, this was 1992, not now, when we see erect penises on Netflix. And, Marty said, per the Screen Actors Guild, my union, it wasn’t legal to shoot up my dress in this fashion. Whew, I thought.'

Ultimately, Stone, who fought hard for her role in Basic Instinct, decided to allow the scene to be included in the film.

'Well, that was my first thought,' she wrote. 'Then I thought some more. What if I were the director? What if I had gotten that shot? What if I had gotten it on purpose? Or by accident? What if it just existed? That was a lot to think about. I knew what film I was doing. For heaven’s sake, I fought for that part, and all that time, only this director had stood up for me. I had to find some way to become objective. I had spent so long coming to the project that I had fully examined the character and the dangerousness of the part. I came to work ready to play Catherine Tramell. Now I was being challenged again.'

In the excerpt, Stone also reveals that producers on other projects pressured her to have sex with male costars, ostensibly to increase their onscreen chemistry.

'I had actor approval in my contract. No one cared. They cast who they wanted. To my dismay, sometimes. To the detriment of the picture, sometimes. 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. 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. Then I realised that she also had to put up with him and pretend that he was in any way interesting.

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 f*ck him, he will become a fine actor? Nobody’s that good in bed. I felt they could have just hired a costar with talent, someone who could deliver a scene and remember his lines. I also felt they could f*ck 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.

Naturally I didn’t you-know-what my costar; he was baffled enough without me confusing him some more. But he did make a few haphazard passes at me in the upcoming weeks, I’m sure spurred on by this genius.

I’ve had other producers on other films just come to my trailer and ask, 'So, are you going to f*ck him, or aren’t you? … You know it would go better if you did.' I take my time and explain that I am like the nice girl they grew up with, and get them to recall that girl’s name. This leaves us all with a little bit of our dignity.'

Stone's memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice is out March 3o.

Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

In need of more inspiration, thoughtful journalism and at-home beauty tips? Subscribe to ELLE's print magazine today! SUBSCRIBE HERE

You Might Also Like