Siren of the silver screen Sharon Stone dishes on her latest role in the comedic romance All I Wish, why she's no longer taking anything for granted, and the importance of the #MeToo movement.
Sharon Stone as Senna Berges in the comedy film All I Wish, a Paladin/Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release.
You're a big get for any film, I imagine, but how did the director, Susan Walter, appeal to you to get you to star in All I Wish?
SHARON STONE: Susan sent me the script, and I met with her, and she’s so marvelous. She’s just so fabulous and I loved the script but I was offered to play the mother. And so I thought about it and it just didn’t seem current to me. It didn’t seem like it was at the heartbeat of a really modern woman’s story. But I liked the script so much and I thought about it for a month, and then went back to Susan and said, “I don’t think we care if a 20-something-year-old girl doesn’t have her life together and isn’t married. I certainly wouldn’t be care concerned about my daughter in a case like that. I don’t think we’re at a place where we’re pushing our young daughters to find a man, this isn’t a secretarial pool. And I’d like to play the daughter so that there are stakes, so that the mother is, when she gets sick, we know that the mother really could die and may die because the mother’s in her 80s, so that when illnesses don’t go away, we know this is a really critical time in someone’s life. This is a time when things really, really do have to go away.” I wanted the stakes of the movie to be higher. I think comedy is funnier when the stakes are bigger, and I felt like it was more in keeping with the true stories of women, and I wanted a comedy to tell the truth. I wanted one of these romantic comedies to be more real. I wanted it to be something that women could watch and really, not just watch and think, “That’s so awesome. That’s so darling. Let’s all watch it and cry, and have popcorn and martinis,” but something that just had a little bit of resonance, just a little bit more heart.
I’ve heard people characterize your latest string of projects as a comeback. Whether it's Agent X, Mosaic, or this movie, is that a word that resonates?
SS: When I was sick, it just stopped everything in its tracks and there were a few years when I couldn’t work at all. And then I adopted my kids and I had, at one point, a six-year-old, a one-year-old, and a newborn, and so I wasn’t really working then. And so I had a big time out, and I had a serious brain injury so it takes quite a long time for, I mean, the first couple of years for sure, but it takes another few years for it to really seriously to be all the way better, to feel fully feet on the ground. So, for me, it feels like I came back because I came back from the edge of not living. So I think that for the world, they may not feel that way because I did little projects here and there, and tried to get myself straightened out, and tried this, and tried that, and saw what I could do, and worked my way back to this point now where my kids are old enough, and I am well enough and organized enough to work in a principle position. So it probably doesn’t feel like it as much to other people because I didn’t talk about it, but from the point of working through all these things, it kind of feels like it because it was a huge goal for me, because when I had the stroke and the brain hemorrhage, I was scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall. I was the vocal part of the Peter and the Wolf presentation, and that was very exciting for me to perform at Carnegie Hall. I was just thrilled about the concept of it and I worked so hard those first few months thinking, “I’m going to make it, I’m going to do this. I’m going to get well enough that I’m going to make that performance,” and of course, that was a no-way-in-hell thing. I was wasn’t even really out of bed at that point. And so to be able to, not only be out of bed, but to be on stage, working with the charities that I work with, to be able to do 30 pages of dialogue a day, to be able to work on these kind of films, and shoot with a wonderful, young, first-time female director, to be able to make interesting choices, and work with top people, that feels like a big comeback from where I was. But I’m sure to the outside world, they’re like, “Oh, she always seems like she was kind of around” because I do a lot of service work, and in the meantime, I tried to continue, whenever I was well enough, to continue doing my service work.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I also heard there’s a Martin Scorsese project down the line and a comedy with Bette Midler coming, no?
SS: Well, I did something with Marty a couple years ago and it’s whenever he gets it edited but it’s not about me; I’m just a supporting person in this project. And, yes, I have a project with Bette Midler. Bette Midler and I are going to do a comedy but it’s an absolutely spectacular script.
You’ve worked with so many great actors and actresses: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Bette Midler was just mentioned, has there been anyone you’ve found most complementary to your own acting style?
SS: Well, I learn from everybody I go to work with and that’s the most rewarding and thrilling part. It’s very exciting now that I’m going to go to work with one of the great female legends because, until now, I worked with the great men of the business. So I’m excited that I’m going to go to work with someone who’s such an extraordinarily talented woman. I mean, her performance in The Rose is unbelievable. The fact that a woman who’s primarily a singer and a great comedian made a dramatic film of that nature says a lot about the level of her talent.
I read an interview you recently gave, where you mentioned that the audience at the Golden Globes had actually laughed when they read out your nomination for Basic Instinct. Did that moment shock you?
SS: Well, in those days, the kind of work that I did in Basic Instinct was such a boundary breaker because, prior to that, women in film were only allowed to behave in certain ways. You have to remember that, when I started making film, we had to cross our feet at the ankles, and sit in a certain way, and conduct ourselves in a certain way. There were a lot of rules about how women could behave on film, and all of a sudden, here I was not behaving at all in the aforementioned standard. So I’d done this very different, very modern performance that was not in keeping with the previous standards. Now, of course, those standards have radically changed, and what I did, you would see on episodic television, it wouldn’t mean anything. But in those days, it meant a lot and it made people incredibly nervous. It made people feel like, in some way, it discounted the actual performance itself or the work that I had done.
Looking back at moments like that, do you feel as though those barriers have been lifted now?
SS: I think that we see now much more intrinsic kind of work in general from men and women. I think we look at television now and it’s so, so extraordinary, the kinds of stories, the kinds of regular series that are on television, particularly now that we have so many kinds of programs that we can watch. We’re starting to see, not just women, but women and men tell much more truthful and searching stories about our humanity and our desire to live more sincerely with each other.
Could you have predicted a moment like this? Like the #MeToo movement and beyond?
SS: I think that these girls that started this movement are such champions. I think they’re such heroes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get nominated for the Nobel Prize because they’re changing the way the world looks at each other and I think that they are looking, they’re standing so tall, and they’re doing something so much deeper than the surface of what it seems to be. It will afford women and girls the opportunity simply to be seen and experienced, to be able to be truly and wholly who they are without fear of persecution or retribution. I can see women walking down the street much more in themselves wholly and fully, and expressing themselves as a true person. I sit in my car and watch women cross the street, and every day, women look more joyful and more true. And I think that this is going to allow and afford men the same thing. It’s going to be good for everyone, it’s going to be good for expression of our real selves, and I think it’s going to allow a more loving environment to bloom. Once we start to understand each other and a way to communicate, especially in a time when people are communicating and believe that sending texts is real communication, I think we’re going to start to see, and to find, and define a new way of being together. And I think that that’s going to affect all things in a very positive way.
Photography by: Photo courtesy of Paladin/Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.