Sharon Stone wasn’t comfortable facing Michael Douglas

The tension between Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas is palpable in “Basic Instinct”, the thriller masterpiece by Paul Verhoeven. Behind the scenes, the discomfort is real between them, as the actress explained in 1992.

Basic Instinct : sex, ice picks and bloody murders

The opening of Basic Instinct sets the tone. In a Californian villa, a former rockstar and a young woman are having sex when, suddenly, the latter begins to pound her partner’s face with an ice pick and reaches orgasm. A bloody introduction through which Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers, Benedetta) immediately announces that his film released in 1992 deals with two of his favorite themes, sex and violence.

Brutal and addicted police officer who drags heavy pots, Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) finds himself in charge of the investigation with his colleague Gus (George Dzundza). They quickly suspect Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), novelist specializing in macabre tales who had a relationship with the deceased.

Basic Instinct
Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) – Basic Instinct ©STUDIOCANAL

Unable to curb his attraction to Tramell, Curran begins a dangerous affair with her. The cop is, however, warned several times by Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), a psychologist who follows him and with whom he also has an ambiguous relationship, to say the least.

Surrounded by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, cinematographer Jan de Bont and composer Jerry Goldsmith, Paul Verhoeven signs a thriller peak with Basic Instinct. In addition to its virtuoso staging, its alternately enigmatic and cruel soundtrack or its tense erotic sequences, the feature film owes a lot to the troubled relationship between its two main characters.

Permanent discomfort

If the distrust between Catherine Tramell and Nick Curran is tangible, thus serving wonderfully the suspense of the film until its unforgettable denouement, it is because it is not feigned by its two actors. Originally, Michael Douglas wanted give a reply to a star of his caliber In Basic Instinct. But after several months of research, the team was unable to find the ideal interpreter for Catherine Tramell.

Paul Verhoeven insists actor tries out Sharon Stonestill little known but with whom he worked on Total Recall, his previous project. If he appears reluctant at first, the actor ends up accepting. During their meeting for the feature film, Sharon Stone was particularly nervous, as she explained during an interview with Playboy :

I always get nervous around people like that. Michael is a big movie star. He didn’t need me.

Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct ©STUDIOCANAL

Before that, the two actors had already crossed paths and neither was “comfortable” with the other according to Sharon Stone. She specifies that this discomfort continued subsequently and was beneficial for Basic Instinct :

I think that kind of unease is useful for these kinds of films. Tension is beneficial. (Working with him) was something primal for me. It simply consisted of watching him, observing his movements, provoking him. (…) Our energy together was powerful. I’m still not comfortable, but I think it works very well for our work together.

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