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Sharon Stone - Idol Chatter
Sharon Stone - Idol Chatter

The cool blonde muses on Basic Instinct, bad decisions, and getting her claws out for Catwoman

Hallelujah. After playing a slew of mother types, it seems the Sharon Stone of yore is prowling again as Halle Berry’s nemesis in Catwoman. Is this your way of announcing, “Hey, y’all, the bitch is back”?
I’m not allowed to say, but I can say that I’m not Catwoman, I’m not the kitty. [laughs] Let’s just say she’s the kind of character people like me to play.

Which, since Basic Instinct’s Catherine Tramell, has been a woman bad to the bone. I watched that nasty piece of work the other night and loved it anew. But why do people still not give it any respect?
I think it really unnerves them. They need to say that I got so famous because I crossed and uncrossed my legs because they can’t face the fact that my character was so empowered—that she spoke “man” and just said, “You can kiss my ass!” I mean, I got nominated for a Golden Globe, and when they announced it, people laughed in the room. People couldn’t give it up for me. To

this day people can’t let me have it. They can’t take that I owned that much male energy.

But, after years of toiling in trash like Police Academy 4, it made you a “star!” Was there a moment when that really hit you?
Probably when I was at my friend’s house on the French Riviera, and some guy helicoptered in for lunch from, like, two blocks away. [laughs] Or when some foreign queen sent me a birdcage full of exotic birds. Or when another fan sent me a Renoir in the mail. Those are the up things; I’m not gonna tell you the down things, which are equal.

Like lots of prison proposals?
Yeah! [laughs] And those are the good ones.

So was Basic Instinct a blessing or a curse?
Well, my best friend always says to me, “Honey, it’s your gift curse.” But after Casino, that kind of little Pigpen cloud lifted. People understood that I’m not out to kill anybody and that I just wanted to play with wonderful, poetic people, and try to be as good as they were.

So why, my dear, after Casino, did you choose the jaw-droppingly campy Diabolique—a film that includes lines to Isabelle Adjani like “keep praying—wear your knees out that way for a change”—as your follow-up?
’Cause I thought the director was intriguing and I was gonna get to work with Isabelle, who’d done such great work in movies like Camille Claudel. But sometimes people aren’t in that same head space as they had been in other times, and when I finally looked at the situation, I thought, “I’m in Pittsburgh. This is not gonna be Camille Claudel. I might as well be a drag queen.” [laughs]

And then there was Last Dance, which seemed to be your bid for Susan Hayward–dom.
It wasn’t, but I can watch Susan Hayward movies on a 24/7 loop. In I Want to Live! when she paints her nails and gets in the gas chamber? How fabulous is that?! God, I love her so much.

Makes sense: She was a real “movie star,” and so are you. In fact, your director for The Muse, Albert Brooks, said of you, “Like Elizabeth Taylor, her celebrity is almost her real profession.”
Well, I suppose there was a time when there was a ton of truth to that—when I ran my celebrity like a business—but those days are over. I had a marvelous time doing all the great “Sharon Stone” things, and I love being an actor, loved achieving in that world, but I don’t really feel the need now to stand in the line going “pick me, pick me!” anymore. “Sharon Stone” was one of the things that I did, but I don’t think it’s the only thing that I’m ever gonna do or the only thing I ever want to do.

While you are still doing “her,” answer this: What three things should a movie star have?
An unknown address, friends they knew before they were famous, and people who love them enough to tell them they’re full of shit.

And finally, my little sex bomb . . . why does sex sell?
[laughs] Because it’s so very rarely free.

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