One of the reasons for the massive cult success of Basic Instinct has to be the incredible on-screen tensions between the stars, Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. The erotic neo-noir thriller was a huge commercial and critical success when it was released in 1992, and has remained a centerpiece in the Hollywood canon ever since.
But in a recent interview, Stone has shared that this wasn’t just an example of their highly skilled acting prowess. In fact, the tension and chemistry between the pair were all too real…
“No wonder she stabbed him all those times,” joked one Basic Instinct fan.
“Same for Jody Foster when filming Silence of the Lambs. She said she was terrified of Anthony Hopkins from the first reading of the script and that after she avoided him and never spoke to him outside of filming,” another revealed.
In the movie, Stone’s character Catherine is under investigation for the murder of her boyfriend. The chief detective, Nick Curran, is played by Michael Douglas. But as Nick investigates Catherine, he can’t help but find himself attracted to her, in spite of her dangerous exterior. We all remember that iconic (and much-parodied) interview scene, in which Catherine uses her … ahem … feminine wiles to distract the authorities and put them off the scent.
Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas’s careful balance between sexual tension and fear is the heart of this classic movie. And since the pair have to be at odds throughout the film, it makes sense that they kept this tension up while off-camera, too.
But it seems this discomfort and awkwardness was actually a deliberate choice by both actors.
“I had met him on two or three occasions in social situations before I tested with him for this movie,” Stone admitted, as per Unilad.
“I really felt that he and I could have a certain strange, dynamic energy together. I was never comfortable around him, and I don’t think he was comfortable around me, “Stone continued.
“It was a primal thing for me. It was all about watching him, observing his movements, provoking him.”
Stone explains keeping things uncomfortable between the two was the reason that their “energy together was strong.” And it seems that she was happy with their decision to keep tensions high, because she believes it “works very well” on screen.
Have you ever watched Basic Instinct? And do you agree that the tension between the pair is what makes the movie such a classic?