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The final Fifty Shades movie hits theaters this weekend steaming up cineplexes everywhere. These days, “sexy” movies are a rarity. But not so long ago, movies were filled with racy scenes that were rumored to be the real deal. In this article from Movieline’s 1993 “Sex” issue, Martha Frankel and her friends try to figure out how much Method acting went into some famous sex scenes.
Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!
You’ve got a hot date with Sharon Stone. Not present-day Stone, but Stone just before she became a star. Basic Instinct was about to be released and the Hollywood gossips were going to town. The movie was controversial for its depiction of Stone as a bi-sexual psychopath and rumors were flying around about what she had done to get the part. But the buzz was positive enough to get Stone a cover story with Movieline magazine and to get her star treatment at the historic St. James Club.
Looking back at the October 1995 issue of Movieline Magazine, there were lots of Halloween goodies. At the time Paul Verhoeven sat down for this interview, he was coming off three box office hits in a row. The director was promoting his follow-up to Basic Instinct. Showgirls was already generating controversy for its racy content and the potential to become the first NC-17 movie to receive a wide release. Verhoeven seems optimistic that American audiences are ready for sexy movies while bracing for the political attacks he expects will come from Senator Bob Dole and his followers. Of course twenty years later, we now know that Showgirls was a massive failure that contributed to the downfall of its studio, director and starlet not to mention the viability of the NC-17 rating.
In this pre-Showgirls interview from Movieline Magazine from 1995, Verhoeven discusses the dark side of Vegas, describes a lap dance and talks about the joys of working with young, unknown actors whom he can mold. The director, who also has a PhD in math, also describes his love of nudity – especially female nudity and confesses that he never saw Saved By the Bell. He also calls out Sharon Stone for her version of the famous leg-uncrossing scene from Basic Instinct.
Actors careers are shaped by choices. Their performances are made up of small choices; how a character should move, what they should sound like, how they should react. Then there are the big choices like what roles to take and who to work with. When an actor commits to a movie, they are dedicating a chunk of their lives to preparing for the role, filming the movie and then doing the promotion circuit. For a lead actor, each movie can be a year-long commitment. For an actor who is in demand, this can lead to some tough choices which will ultimately shape the course of their career.
As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” Sometimes, an actor’s choices look foolish in retrospect. Other times, it seems like they dodged a bullet. Either way, movie fans love looking back and wondering what might have been.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Meg Ryan was America’s Sweetheart and the reigning queen of the romantic comedy. For a time, Ryan had her pick of projects which means she had the opportunity to pass on a lot of movies that went on to become hits. The means lots of opportunities to wonder about what might have been.
Hollywood is a treacherous place. It take a certain kind of person to make it as an actor. But however hard actors have it, actresses have it that much worse. For an actress to make it in Hollywood, well, they have to be strong. Some might even say they need to be made of stone (Get it? I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.) Whatever it takes to climb to the top of the A-list, Sharon Stone had it in spades. She had the looks, the talent, the determination and she was more than a little crazy.
For a time, Stone was the among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She had the power to get a project green-lit. She could choose her directors and co-stars. Stone was A-list. But her time atop the A-list ended quickly. As the 90’s ended, Stone’s spotlight faded with it.
What the hell happened?