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Monday, April 17, 2006

The Rolling Stone


The wait is over. For those who couldn’t get enough of Basic Instinct, the much-awaited sequel to the Michael Douglas-Sharon Stone-starrer is playing on the city screens. Original plans for a sequel to the box-office smash hit had started around eight years ago.

“We went to the New York-based husband and wife writing team of Leora Barish and Henry Bean who came up with this idea that Catherine Tramell would get involved with a psychiatrist,” says Basic Instinct 2 producer Mario Kassar.

“We thought it was a really compelling concept. We originally thought we’d do it in New York, then we figured it might be interesting to change it to a European city, so it was eventually changed to London”.

Kassar recalls the early days when Sharon Stone won the role that set her on the road to movie stardom: “Sharon worked very hard to secure the role of Catherine Tramell in the original Basic Instinct. You had the combination of Michael Douglas starring and Paul Verhoeven directing, and back then everyone was looking for an established star name for the female lead. However, many actresses were not prepared to undress. Verhoeven tested Sharon for the role and she looked exactly like Kim Novak in Vertigo and everyone who saw the tape agreed that she was perfect. She won the role, and Catherine was born. When we took the movie to Cannes, Sharon says that she went up the red carpet as an actress and came down a movie star.”

For the sequel, Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones was chosen, a decision Stone favoured, having responded strongly to his earlier work like the acclaimed Scandal, another film with erotic overtones. “Michael’s very organic in the way he works,” says Kassar. “He’s natural, low-key and very stylised. His movies always have a certain look. He’s also very good at getting the performances out of his actors, because they like him so much and work hard to please him.”

But the spotlight remained on Stone all right, what with her character of best-selling crime novelist once again finding herself on the wrong side of the law. In the sequel, Dr Michael Glass (David Morrissey), a respected London criminal psychiatrist, is brought in by Scotland Yard to perform a psychiatric profile and evaluation of Tramell following the mysterious death of a top sports star.

“Catherine Tramell is very dangerous, but dangerous women are the most interesting,” says Kassar. “Sharon made Catherine her own and there are few other actresses and few cinematic characters that can compare. She appears pleasant, smiling and sexy even though she’s conniving and manipulative underneath.”

“I think Catherine has evolved since the first film,” observes Stone’s co-star Morrissey. “You can’t play the same mystery again and certain things are punctuated because of that. She’s a whirlwind force — someone who is amazingly sexually liberated. She is not about to be constrained by the conventions of English society. Refusing to play by the rules makes Catherine a wonderful character for people to be around and a frightening person as well. Her great energy and eroticism are completely captivating.”



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