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May 30, 2003

Sharon's new and darker age

Rebeca Mowling - Evening Standard

SHE is better known as the man-eating blonde bombshell who famously uncrossed her legs in Basic Instinct. But Sharon Stone is almost unrecognisable in a new look for her latest movie. With dark brown curls and wearing a long, Fifties-style patterned skirt, the 45- year-old cut a more demure figure when she was pictured yesterday.

Currently filming in Islington, the former model was on the set of her latest movie, A Different Loyalty.

The spy thriller, which also stars British actor Rupert Everett, is a dramatic fictional account of the true story of Kim Philby's wife. The wife role is portrayed by Stone as a spirited woman who turns her life upside down to be with the man she loves. However, her love is put to the test when she discovers her husband is a Russian spy.

The film is written by scriptwriter and actor Jim Piddock, whose previous credits include Best In Show and A Mighty Wind. The film also reunites Everett with director Marek Kanievska, who helped him rise to stardom in the 1984 hit Another Country.

Philby was one of the Cambridge five recruited in the Thirties by the Soviets as moles in MI6.

Philby's self-imposed exile in Moscow after he defected from the British secret service ended in a lonely death in a KGB hospital.

The film is certain to be controversial because the Philby episode remains one of darkest moments of Britain's Cold War history.

The BBC's own recent attempt at the story, the pounds 6 million Cambridge Spies attracted a barrage of criticism.

The BBC's preview publicity described the spies, who infiltrated the British Security Services to betray their country to the Kremlin, as heroic.

But for Stone the portrayal of the woman based on Philby's wife was clearly so tempting that she had gone back on her prediction that she would no longer take starring roles.

Last year she said: "I now have no desire to always be doing the big Hollywood leading lady parts. I can do cameos and I can do good supporting roles. If a lead comes up, then fine, but if it doesn't then it doesn't matter."

The production has already shot key scenes in Greenwich and moved to Islington's Cloudesley Square yesterday. Filming is expected to continue in Hyde Park later today. The film is a major departure for Stone, the ex-Playboy centrefold who shot to fame in 1992 alongside Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct as bisexual novelist Catherine Tramell.

Two years ago the actress nearly died from a brain aneurysm. The married mother of an adopted son took over a year off work to make a full recovery from her illness.

Meanwhile, across London another Hollywood film crew were at work as Bridget Jones's Diary star Colin Firth was on the South Bank filming scenes for Trauma with his co-star Mena Suvari the blonde actress who shot to fame in American Beauty.

And over in west London, filming was taking place for The Life And Death of Peter Sellers, a controversial American production starring Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush as the comic genius.

Charlize Theron, who plays Sellers's actress wife Britt Ekland shot a scene outside the old Masonic Hospital in Chiswick.




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