Sharon Stone Says "Basic Instinct" Producer Couldn't Remember Her Name: "I Carried That Humiliation"
She also revealed her salary for the film—which was nowhere near her co-star's.
In 1992, Sharon Stone landed her breakout role in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct, launching her to stardom and making her a household name. Stone's performance as psychopathic novelist Catherine Tramell captivated audiences, with a particular scene often cited as one of the most controversial (and iconic) of all time. Recently, Stone spoke out on her experience shooting the film, including her interactions with a producer who repeatedly called her the wrong name. Read on to find out why the actor said she "carried that humiliation."
A line producer kept calling her "Karen."
Stone was honored at the New York Women In Film & Television's (NYWIFT) 43rd annual Muse Awards lunch on March 28, where she spoke candidly about Basic Instinct.
During filming, the actor said she felt disrespected due to one line producer's inability to remember her name. Throughout the "entirety of the film," the producer (whom she didn't name) kept calling her "Karen," Page Six reported.
"Even at the Governor's Ball [after the Oscars], he still called me 'Karen'!" Stone told the crowd. "And I carried that humiliation really deeply within me—even though my name wasn't on the poster."
In her 2021 memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, she also addressed this snub, noting that her name wasn't included with Michael Douglas' on the Basic Instinct poster. In an excerpt published in Vanity Fair, Stone noted that during an introductory meeting, the same line producer addressed her as "Karen"—and told her that she was their "thirteenth choice" for the role of Catherine.
Stone wrote that she "left that meeting so messed up," she backed her car into a semi-truck "three feet behind her."
She also revealed her salary for the film.
Stone dropped another Basic Instinct bombshell at the NWIFT luncheon, revealing that she made millions less than her male co-star, Page Six reported.
"Michael Douglas made $14 million. Now, I was new. I was new and he was a very big star," she said, noting that her pay paled in comparison. Stone said she was only paid $500,000.
Interestingly enough, in her memoir, Stone revealed that Douglas didn't want to screen test with her at first. "Hey, I was a nobody compared to him, and this was such a risky movie," she wrote, per an excerpt published in Vanity Fair.
Stone originally screen tested with director Paul Verhoeven (whom she previously worked with on Total Recall), and after 12 other actors turned down the role of Catherine, Douglas finally agreed to test with her.
The rest is history—and Stone wrote that she and Douglas are friends to this day.
Stone previously addressed that scene.
In her memoir, Stone described her experience seeing her infamous interrogation scene for the first time. Like many viewers, Stone was in shock, but that's because production had previously assured her that "we can't see anything."
"It was me and my parts up there. I had decisions to make. I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer," she wrote.
Verhoeven told her that she didn't "have any choices at all" in regards to the scene, and that it would be in the movie regardless of her feelings. "I was just an actress, just a woman; what choices could I have?" Stone wrote.
In the end, Stone said she did make a choice, approving the scene's inclusion "because it was correct for the film and for the character; and because, after all, I did it."
She said that Basic Instinct was panned at first, but now it's respected.
Stone also wrote about the stress that playing a serial killer put on her, calling the role of Catherine "by far the most stretching I had ever done in terms of considering the dark side of myself."
And while the film was initially met with "horrible reviews," Stone says that Basic Instinct has stood the test of time.
"Do you have any idea how many people have watched Basic Instinct in the last 20-something years? Think about it. It's about more than just a peek up my skirt, people. Wake up," Stone wrote.
Today, she feels that people have "a certain respect" for the movie, but she's still "processing some pent-up female rage" she felt in relation to the film.
"Now, only now, do I go to events and there is a certain respect about that film. Oh, that film is coooooool," the actor wrote. "But when I went to the Golden Globes as a nominee in 1993 and they called my name as a glamorous finalist, everyone laughed. Well, not everyone, but enough of the room so that I was told where I sat."