Sharon Stone was in show business long before she ignited the screen in Paul Verhoeven's steamy Basic Instinct. She battled Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall, was part of the Police Academy series, and had numerous TV gigs on various sitcoms. But her performance as the manipulative Catherine Tramell was so mesmerizing and white-hot, we basically break down her career to pre-Basic Instinct and post-Basic Instinct. Stone nailed the role from the get go, as evidenced by this early audition tape, which she just shared:
I might need a drink and a cigarette after watching Sharon Stone burn through that scene. The actress shared the clip as part of #WaybackWednesday, taking us all the way to 1992 -- or the months before it -- when she was preparing to step into the role of Catherine Tramell, a crime novelist accused of killing a rock star, mainly because the guy died in a way that's described in one of Catherine's books. Michael Douglas stars as Nick, the beleaguered detective investigating Catherine's involvement. To the surprise of no one, they engage in a steamy affair.
Basic Instinct was a culture-shaking movie event back in 1992. Not for this audition. Rather, for a controversial scene where Sharon Stone is interrogated by detectives and decides to distract the men by crossing and uncrossing her legs... all while wearing no underwear, whatsoever. Relive that NSFW scene below:
But as the clip proves -- and as the audition tape proves -- Basic Instinct wasn't JUST a hit because it dabbled in the taboo. Plenty of films do that without ever climbing above their basic-cable, late-night aspirations. This one connected on a deeper level because Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas were bringing a palpable, sweaty heat to their roles, and Basic Instinct tapped into a dangerous current of sex and murder. You felt dirty while watching it, and that was by design of director Paul Verhoeven and, especially, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.
Basic Instinct turns 25 this year, which helps explain why Sharon Stone was feeling nostalgic for her time wielding the ice pick. This also means that a several years from now, we'll be celebrating the anniversary of 2006's ill-fated Basic Instinct 2. That's less sexy. I wonder what Sharon Stone can share on social media from that movie? Were there auditions? If so, they likely ended up in a Hollywood Boulevard dumpster.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.