Michael Douglas, whose production talents might even exceed his acting skills, knows when a script has the potential to translate into box office success. So when he was cast as the lead detective in Joe Eszterhas’ sexy thriller Basic Instinct (coming to Netflix on October 1), he wanted everything done just right, particularly the casting of his co-star.
Douglas wanted Kim Basinger to play Catherine Tramell, the crime novelist suspected of a vicious and bizarre murder.
He really, really wanted Basinger, as many men in Hollywood did at the time, I might add.
Kim Basinger In 9/12 Weeks.
In the early 1990s, the curvaceous Kim was one of Hollywood’s top femme fatales, climbing her way from the pages of Playboy to box office gold. She was a feature player in such hits as 1984’s The Natural and 1989’s Batman.
Basinger would be perfect for the role, Douglas thought. Her natural seductiveness could persuade any audience that he would fall for her despite knowing that she could be a killer.
However, Basinger said no. We don’t know why, but she had started dating a guy named Alec Baldwin who she later married (and divorced after much public acrimony). Alec is an emotional type; perhaps the idea of his soon-to-be betrothed romping in bed with the likes of Michael Douglas was too much for him to handle.(After all, Michael has confessed to being a ‘sex addict.)
Undeterred, Douglas then pushed for several other A-list actresses including Meg Ryan, Geena Davis, Ellen Barkin and even Julia Roberts. They all declined, apparently nervous about the film’s nudity and kinky bedplay. Douglas could sympathize; he was a tad anxious himself about the sex scenes.
“I need someone to share the risks of this movie,” Douglas recalled. “I don’t want to be up there all by myself. There’s going to be a lot of s— flying around.”
After receiving rejection after rejection from big-name actresses, director Paul Verhoeven suggested hiring a relative unknown, someone who would put aside her career anxieties for the chance to hit it big. He remembered an actress who worked in his 1990 film, Total Recall.
Her name: Sharon Stone.
Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct.
Stone, who played Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife in the film, exhibited a compelling mix of tenderness and temptress in the film, the ideal combination for Catherine Tramell. Knowing that his dream of playing opposite a major star was in flames, Douglas relented and the rest is history. Stone went on to steal the movie and become a star.
It’s hard to imagine any other actress playing the role as courageously as Stone, particularly the police interrogation scene which still generates controversy. (Did she know, or not know, that viewers could see her, well, you know…).
Seriously, can you imagine Julia Roberts doing this scene?
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