Sharon Stone is holding nothing back.
In an excerpt from her upcoming memoir The Beauty of Living Twice shared with Vanity Fair, the actress opens up about the role that made her a star and several different exploitative #MeToo moments she’s experienced as a woman in Hollywood.
In one instance, she reveals that an unnamed producer brought her into his office to suggest she sleep with a male costar so that they’d have more chemistry. “He explained to me why I should f— 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,” she wrote.
She says she recalls 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— 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— him themselves and leave me out of it. It was my job to act and I said so.” As a result, Stone says she was labeled “difficult.”
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Stone, who says she was told by her former manager no one would hire her because she wasn’t “f—able,” also recalls working with a director whom she refers to simply as a “#MeToo candidate” who refused to shoot her because she wouldn’t “sit in his lap and take direction.” According to Stone, the studio did nothing.
The Oscar-nominated actress also details her time working on her star-making turn in Basic Instinct, which she says she had to fight tooth and nail for. Her manager had to break into the casting director’s office to get a copy of the script, and then called the director, Paul Verhoeven, “every day for seven or eight months” to get her a screen test for the part. “I had already done Total Recall with Paul, but Michael Douglas didn’t want to test with me,” she wrote. “Hey, I was a nobody compared to him, and this was such a risky movie. So Paul tested with me, and kept playing my test after those of everyone else who had tested.”
She continued, “Eventually, after they had offered the part to 12 other actresses who had turned it down, Michael agreed to test with me.” [Stone says that nowadays she and Douglas are friends, and she says she learned a lot from working with him.]
And of course, there’s the film’s most infamous scene, in which her character Catherine Tramell is being interrogated and she uncrosses her legs to reveal that she is not wearing any underwear. In her memoir, Stone says the first time she saw her “vagina-shot” was in a room full of agents and lawyers, most of whom had nothing to do with the making of the film, after she says, “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.” She says she slapped her director across the face when she saw it and called her lawyer, who said she could file an injunction against the film and stop its release.
Stone ultimately decided against that. “After the screening, I let Paul know of the options Marty had laid out for me. 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?” she recalls. “But I did have choices. So I thought and thought and I chose to allow this scene in the film. Why? Because it was correct for the film and for the character; and because, after all, I did it.” [Verhoeven has denied Stone’s claims, saying that she knew what she was doing in the scene.]
Stone’s memoir will be available March 30 via publisher Knopf.