Discussing her career at Zurich Film Festival, Sharon Stone also commented on the referendum taking place on the same day in Switzerland, with nearly two-thirds of Swiss voters backing the introduction of same-sex marriage.
“It should be more because when is anyone else’s sex life your business? You may not like it, you may not understand it, but it doesn’t belong to you,” she said.
This year’s recipient of the Golden Icon Award, Stone picked Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” as the accompanying screening, calling it a “sensational film.” It earned Stone her only Oscar nomination to date.
“I have three kids; I have been in lockdown with three teenage boys. I live in a fraternity house with smelly socks – I forgot I was a movie star.”
The actor, who grew up in Pennsylvania, also opened up about her parents, calling her father “an extreme feminist.”
“He came from wealth, from oil drilling, and when he was little, there was a huge accident. His father died three months later and all the money went to another family. He thought it was so wrong that his mother didn’t get half of it, just because she was a woman. My dad was insistent that I have this feminist attitude. So much so that I never thought of myself as a feminist. These were the rules of my household,” she said, mentioning it was her recently published memoir, “The Beauty of Living Twice,” that helped her understand her mother.
“She was tough. I asked her: ‘Why you never let me lean on you?’ She said: ‘Because I taught you to stand on your two goddamn feet.’ When I wrote this book and read it to her, she told me about her life. I realized that for my mother, teaching me to stand on my two goddamn feet was teaching me to love myself.”
Coming back to her beginnings, Stone recalled roller skating into the audition for Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories,” and learning a lot from her “Total Recall” co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom she called “an astonishing professional.” But she was a “muscle star” too, she said, admitting it was Paul Verhoeven who really appreciated her looks.
“In Los Angeles, they were always trying to make me very feminine. ‘Don’t be so aggressive, Sharon. Don’t be so loud, don’t have so many opinions.’ With him, I went in looking like a 9-foot tall Viking. He said: ‘You are big, you are strong. I like that.’ We were on.”
The collaboration continued with “Basic Instinct,” which turned Stone into a household name overnight.
“We went in, saw the movie, came out and it was pandemonium. The next morning, I went to the pool and everything I had in my hotel was stolen. My clothes, contact lenses, my underwear and toothbrush. Some guy ran to me and ripped out my toenail,” she said, recalling the frenzy following the Cannes screening of the film.
“Everyone has this idea that they want to be a movie star, but when it actually happens, you go: ‘Holy fuck.’ One day, you are driving down the street, you stop at the ‘stop’ sign and nobody cares. A week later, 30 people climb on top of your car. And you go: ‘Do I drive? Will they fall off?’ You don’t know what the rules are anymore.”
Stone also discussed her struggles, first as an actress demanding better pay after Michael Douglas took home $14 million for “Basic Instinct” and then as a producer on Western “The Quick and the Dead.”
“I had so much resistance on that movie. I wanted Leo DiCaprio: ‘Pay him out of your own money.’ I wanted Russell Crowe: ‘Why do you want this guy who has only played a skinhead before?’ I wanted Sam Raimi to direct: ‘Sharon, why do you always shoot yourself in the foot?’ They banned me from the studio for eight years after that,” she said.
“I am grateful that women get to work now, but I didn’t – not for 20 years. I looked at that video yesterday. There was all this work, then no work, then “Ratched.” Because when I turned 40, that was it. No more work for Sharon,” she said, mentioning that as a result, she could devote more time to her humanitarian work and to her family.
“Karmically, it worked out great. Financially, not so much. I feel that my biggest accomplishment is surviving. It’s a big deal surviving in a business like this.”
Just like her friend Faye Dunaway, whom she ended up taking to the “Basic Instinct” premiere. “The movie ends, there is complete silence. I was freaking the fuck out and Faye says: ‘Don’t move.’ Then the audience erupts in screaming applause and she goes: ‘Now, smile – they can all kiss your ass. You are a big fucking star, baby!”