February 10, 1995 in Seven

Stone Just A Normal Human Being, No Matter What Roles She Plays

Luaine Lee Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Sure enough, they shot a nuzzling love scene for Sharon Stone’s new movie, “The Quick and the Dead,” but you won’t see it in the film.

“We always knew it wouldn’t be in the movie,” confides Stone, who coproduced the picture. “The scene would just not be appropriate.”

Citing the incendiary mixed-race love scenes between Ellen Barkin and Laurence Fishburne in “Bad Company,” Stone says the schoolmarm mentality in Hollywood was raising the red flags about that before the film was loaded in the camera.

She figures she was lucky that she could fill the pantyhose of a smoldering femme fatale even for a little while. “I was fastly approaching middle age when this happened to me. … But we have to grow. I have to grow. And you have to let me. I have to be the best I can be. That means I can’t keep being the thing I was last year and the year before. We’ll all be better people because we keep trying new things.”

Stone doesn’t mind that the studios want the obligatory “Sharon Stone Sex Scene” in every movie. What bothers her is that they’re not honest about it.

“If they would say, `Look, we raised this foreign money and we told them that you would be naked for 37 seconds and they agreed to give us $26.2 million. What do you think?’

“And I could figure out whether I thought that had validity as a professional and as co-producer on the picture. But when you come to my trailer and tell me you need it for the `aesthetics,’ then I just want to (gag). `Oh, really? How about the aesthetics of this?”’ she says giving a sharp right to an imaginary foe.

“They want to tell me that it lends to the aesthetics and the character and likability and I just say, `C’mon, guys. Why don’t you just tell me what the deal was?”’

You have to hand it to Stone. She’s one of the first sex-goddess movie queens who hasn’t let it go to her head. If anything, she’s more downto-earth and solid than she was eight years ago when I first met her while she was making “Action Jackson.”

The visionary Sam Raimi directs her in “The Quick and the Dead,” but in this case it was Stone who chose him and not the other way around.

“I got a note that Sharon Stone called and I said, `Aw, quit kidding, fellas, get outta here.’ But actually her people called and said she wanted me to direct this picture.”

It was Raimi who directed the stylish “Darkman,” “The Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness.”

“I don’t know why she wanted me to direct it. I didn’t want to say to her, `Are you sure you’ve got the right guy?’ So I just played along.”

Raimi met with Stone to discuss the script. “She seemed to be very intelligent and have a rooted sense of herself and she was very savvy and tough.

“I thought, `Gee, this woman really seems to know what she’s doing and she’d be a good collaborator. And that was very important to me because I was worried that she was both the producer and the star. And if I didn’t hit it off with her and if we got in some horrible fight, it would be a nightmare for me because I’d be overpowered by her. But she seemed so intelligent and reasonable.”

Still, Raimi was petrified by that first meeting. “I was summoned to Vancouver to visit her at some fancypants hotel with a big breakfast spread. I went there and I thought, `What should I do? Should I pretend I’m really smart? Should I wear cologne or …? I got so tired of worrying about it I decided to just go and tell her what I thought about the movie. I was so terrified. I felt like Dorothy going to see Oz.”

But Oz turned out to be an ordinary person behind that screen. Raimi says he finds Stone to be “quiet and normal. When the cameras roll a certain dynamic quality comes out of her that it’s hard to imagine that she would be so normal. But she’s just a human being, even though she’s electric on screen, in person she’s just a normal human being.”

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