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Sharon sheds Basic Instinct

Milan, Jan. 13 (Reuters): Sharon Stone, who shot to stardom in Basic Instinct, is revelling in her return to Hollywood following her recovery from a life-threatening brain aneurysm that jerked her out of the limelight in 2001.

Stone, often voted one of Hollywood’s sexiest stars, is now back to full strength, with a two-year-old toddler tearing around the house. She has shed her sultry “bad girl” image for her comeback movie, Mike Figgis’ Cold Creek Manor.

“The new film was intriguing to make because normally I would play the villain and instead I play the one getting chased,” Stone said yesterday at the men’s fashion week in Milan.

“It’s exhausting! Getting in the rain, being thrown down wells, getting chased around with an axe,” laughed the actress whose interrogation scene in Basic Instinct famously sparked a furious debate as to whether she was wearing any underwear.

The new film, which also stars Dennis Quaid, should come out in the US early this autumn “in that sort of scary season when it starts to get cold”, the 44-year-old said, regaling designer Donatella Versace with tales of filming in a haunted house.

The film is a thriller about a couple who buy a country house in New York, only to find the psychotic previous owner wants it back. The film was shot in a house in Canada, where Stone said the previous owners made their own strange comeback. “All the crew had this feeling like: ‘Did you see somebody in there'’, ‘Did you see a little girl'’, ‘That door closed by itself’ and we found out all this incredible spooky stuff had actually happened in the house it was shot in.”

In Milan for Versace’s autumn/winter 2003/04 show, Stone brushed off her vamp image as a means of making life easier and said it was no reflection of her true character. “Because Basic Instinct was the film I was presenting, my leeway (to create a public image) was much, much broader than most,” the former model and one-time Playboy poser said, sporting lace-embroidered jeans and a pale fur jacket.

“I didn’t have to be nice and good and not make mistakes. I could run down the street naked with my hair on fire and nobody was going to care. I thought it would be fun to present the image of someone who was bad so the paparazzi couldn’t find me doing something bad and buzz me.”

In September 2001, after suffering from severe headaches, she was admitted to a California hospital. Doctors identified the problem as an often deadly type of brain haemorrhage.

Being ill and adopting a son took Stone out of her slinky outfits and into “cargo pants and Birkenstocks (sandals) ... eating pasta in front of the TV in my flannel pyjamas”.

The one-time Oscar nominee is now having fun recreating her old look with a quirky take, cherry-picking from Versace’s often vampish wardrobe and adding a touch of humour.

“At Cannes (film festival), we took a leopard suit that might have been one way and put it with flip-flops and a white shirt and made it an intellectual joke. It was really fun,” the tousle-haired actress said, patting Versace on the knee.

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