Sharon Stone Doesn’t Look Back Fondly on That ‘Basic Instinct’ Scene

In a new memoir, the actress writes of her traumatic childhood, #MeToo moments, and how she nearly died

Sharon Stone became famous by revealing herself on the big screen. Now the 63-year-old is doing the revealing on the page. Here’s what to expect in the Basic Instinct icon’s new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, out March 30.

It’s not a tell-all.
Although she shares an anecdote or two about her famous roles in Casino and Basic Instinct, Stone’s book is fairly light on insider Hollywood gossip. While she isn’t exactly known for being demure, here she plays it nice.

It’s a survivor’s story…
In a horrifying chapter, Stone recounts a heartbreaking story of how her grandmother forced her at age eight to watch her grandfather molest her five-year-old sister. On later attending that grandfather’s funeral, she writes, “It’s a very weird thing when you’re a kid and the first experience you have of death is glee and relief. And emptiness.” Stone goes on to say that she tapped into the anger she felt toward her grandfather to play serial killer Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. “To know that I was so angry that I would have loved to stab [my grandfather] to death,” she writes, “was incredibly freeing.” In addition to the childhood abuse, Stone crossed state lines to get a secret abortion at 17, and, later in life, suffered three miscarriages—each after five months of pregnancy.

…in myriad ways.
The book opens dramatically with Stone in a hospital bed after suffering a stroke in 2001. Even in convalescence, she stays true to her sex-symbol status. “There is a very good-looking doctor here,” she tells a friend sitting by her bedside. “Sadly, I might not be able to flirt with him.” While recovering, Stone “loved watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and committed to leading a simpler, kinder, and more spiritual life.

sharon stone book

Penguin Random House

But, of course, she talks about that shot.
The leg-uncrossing scene in Basic Instinct made Stone a household name (and got millions to press pause on their VCRs), but she doesn’t recall it fondly. “There have been many points of view on this,” she writes, “but since I’m the one with the vagina in question, let me say: the other points of view are bullshit.” Ultimately, Stone says she was tricked into doing the shot, and slapped the director, Paul Verhoeven, when she saw the final cut. But she allowed it to stay in the movie “because it was correct for the film and for the character, and because, after all, I did it.”

And there’s plenty of name-dropping.
Stone gushes about various celebs she’s crossed paths with. Faye Dunaway took her to the Basic Instinct premiere. While she was shooting Casino, Mick Jagger told her to cover her windows with foil so she could sleep during the day. She ran into Patti Smith and Donna Karan at a New York restaurant, and they all ended up eating together. Arnold Schwarzenegger taught her how to fight with a knife on the set of Total Recall.

She talks #MeToo but doesn’t name names.
The actress expresses solidarity with the #MeToo movement, but she doesn’t see herself as a victim. She claims that some producers, none of whom she names, would try to get her to sleep with male costars to improve on-screen chemistry. She had her own way of handling things. “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. That leaves us all with a little bit of our dignity.”

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