One of the most titillating, and most iconic shots of the 1990s, Sharon Stone’s leg-crossing scene in Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct became the most memorable scene in the otherwise rather forgettable erotic thriller.
Though in the memoir of the actress, named The Beauty of Living Twice, released in March 2021, Stone recalls that she’d been reluctant to carry out the scene which showed her character, Catherine Tramell expose her crotch during a police interrogation. She wrote that Verhoeven had assured her that her crotch would not be visible on screen, despite the fact that in the final version, it of course is.
Director, Paul Verhoeven, has recently spoken out about this claim, noting that “my memory is radically different from Sharon’s memory…her version is impossible”.
Continuing, the director commented that, “She knew exactly what we were doing. I told her it was based on a story of a woman that I knew when I was a student who did the crossing of her legs without panties regularly at parties. When my friend told her we could see her vagina, she said, ‘Of course, that’s why I do it.’ Then Sharon and I decided to do a similar sequence”.
Though Stone’s recollection of events do not match, noting, “That was how I saw my vagina-shot for the first time, long after I’d been told, ‘We can’t see anything – I just need you to remove your panties, as the white is reflecting the light, so we know you have panties on'”. Stone added that after she’d seen this, “I went to the projection booth, slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer, Marty Singer”.
Despite this shocking claim, Verhoeven looks back on his time working with Stone, fondly, stating, “That does not stand in the way and has nothing to do with the wonderful way that she portrayed Catherine Tramell…she is absolutely phenomenal. We still have a pleasant relationship and exchange text messages”.