The Basic Instinct interrogation scene has become one of the most memorable moments in movie history—but one of the most upsetting for Sharon Stone.
In her upcoming memoir The Beauty of Living Twice, the 63-year-old actress claims she was misled into removing her underwear for the scene and had considered taking legal action after realizing her genitals were exposed in the final cut.
“After we shot Basic Instinct, I got called in to see it,” she wrote in an excerpt published by Vanity Fair. “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.’”
Stone, who played the film’s villain protagonist Catherine Tramell, says she immediately went into the projection room and slapped Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven, and then went to her car and called her lawyer. The actress said her attorney had informed her she could get an injunction, as “it wasn’t legal to shoot up my dress in this fashion.” She later approached Verhoeven and laid out her legal options; However, the director allegedly told her she had no choice.
“But I did have choices. So I thought and thought and I chose to allow this scene in the film,” she continued. “Why? Because it was correct for the film and for the character; and because, after all, I did it.”
Verhoeven addressed Stone’s allegation in a 2017 interview with ICON.
“Sharon is lying. Any actress knows what she’s going to see if you ask her to take off her underwear and point there with the camera,” he said, before speculating about what prompted Stone’s reaction during the screening. “I think it had to do with the director of photography [Jan De Bont] and I am Dutch, so we act with total normality towards nudity. And Sharon was carried away by this relaxed attitude. But when she saw the scene surrounded by other [American] people, including her agent and her publicist, she went crazy. Everyone told her that this scene would ruin her career, so Sharon came and asked me to take it away. I told her no. ‘You accepted, and I showed you the result,’ I said, and she replied, ‘Fuck you.’ But Sharon is not going to tell you that, surely not.”
In her memoir, she acknowledged that “there have been many points of view on” what exactly happened during the screening, but stressed that her view was the only one that mattered: “… Since I’m the one with the vagina in question, let me say: The other points of view are bullshit.”
The Beauty of Living Twice is set to release on March 30.