| Not again: Michael Douglas has said no to a replay
London, July 20: Sharon Stone is to make Basic Instinct II — and for a woman who started out serving burgers and fries at a McDonald’s in Pennsylvania, she looks set to do rather well out of it.
Her pay will be £7.78 million but it is her requirements on-set that are causing a stir in Hollywood.
MGM passed up the chance to make the sequel, even though the original film, made in 1992 for £35 million, grossed £170 million. Paul Verhoeven, the director, said: “Our times have become very conservative. We couldn’t get away now with what we got away with then.”
In the film, former rock star and San Francisco night club owner Johnny Boz is found murdered in his bed.
Detective Nick Curran, played by Michael Douglas, is assigned to the case, with the prime suspect being Catherine Tramell, a manipulative novelist.
The scene that turned Stone, as Tramell, into a household name, shows her in the police interrogation room defending herself before somewhat nervous officers. Verhoeven says that the famous move — crisscrossing her legs to show she had no underwear on — was to throw the detectives off the scent.
Stone said this week: “I didn’t know what was happening. Paul Verhoeven told me I needed to take my underwear off because it was reflecting light, and that if we reflected the light, you would know I would have them on.
“But if I took them off, it would be just a shadow and you wouldn’t know. I said, ‘I am trusting you with this’. Then you saw my crotch, and I didn’t know that, until I was at a screening of the movie. I was pretty darned surprised.”
Verhoeven had a different explanation, saying that she agreed to undress. But in the editing room, she was “extremely angry and demanded I take out the shot... I refused.”
The new version, however, by producers Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna, will have to comply with Stone’s demands, as negotiated by her lawyer, the redoubtable Bert Fields.
A clause states: “No nudity, other than as exists in the current approved screenplay, without express written consent in the form of Sharon’s full nudity rider, and no use of a body double without express written consent.”
Stone also retains the right to approve the director and main cast. With Douglas now declining to reprise his role (Catherine Zeta-Jones, his wife, may not have been too amused), it is said that Aaron Eckhart, a star of Erin Brockovich, was approved and offered £4 million. But he said no.
Then Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, also backed out, saying that after a long shoot in New Zealand, he wanted a break. The line-up has now narrowed to Jude Law, Rupert Everett, Ewan McGregor, Kurt Russell, Benicio Del Toro, Javier Bardem and Gabriel Byrne.
| Actors Sharon Stone (left) and Halle Berry at the world premiere of their film Catwoman in California on Monday. (Reuters)
Stone, once said to have “the biggest balls in Hollywood”, is, according to her contract, to have armed bodyguards around the clock, costing £1,944 a week, maid service at a more modest £111 a week, and hotel accommodation that “must be a presidential suite with two bedrooms”.
A “first class” car has to be provided, with a “non-smoking driver to be approved by Sharon”, for travel between airports and sets, with a second sedan for her personal use, as well as Pilates equipment, and a Cadillac for “exclusive use” of her instructor.
Then there are the three nannies, two assistants, cell phones, chef and the deluxe motor home with air conditioning, heating, bed, private bathroom, shower, television, VCR, refrigerator, telephone, stove, couch, stereo and cellular fax machine.
Even more important are the credits. Her name, she says, must be in first position, “and should be at least 100 per cent of the size of the title”, both on screen and in adverts.
Her image “must also appear in substantially the same size as, or larger than, the likeness of any other cast member.”
Of course, she also keeps all the dresses and jewellery worn in the movie, unless it is rented.