In an interview with CBC, Sharon Stone discussed what it was like having little money but sudden fame following the release of the 1992 erotic thriller Basic Instinct and the pay disparity between her and costar Michael Douglas.
“I didn’t get paid to do ‘Basic Instinct,’” she said. “I made a little bit of money. Michael made $14 million and has points.
The term “points” refers to the percentage of box office revenue received beginning from the first day of the film’s release.
The actor continued, “I made not enough money to buy my dress to go to the Oscars the next year. I was in this weird limbo where I was suddenly famous, but didn’t have any money.”
“It’s Friday and you’re you. Tuesday, you’re the Beatles,” she said. “People are climbing all over your car. You try to walk down the street and suddenly 30 people that were shopping are running, chasing you. You’re running and locking yourself in stores and the people are like, ‘Wait, don’t lock the door,’ and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ll buy something. Please help me.’ Suddenly you’re in this weird chase.”
Stone did not disclose her earnings from the film, but given her relative obscurity at the time, it is likely she didn’t get a big payday.
Stone recalled a particularly “insane” incident that occurred during the 1992 Canne Film Festival, just over a month after Basic Instinct had been released in the US.
“I got back to my hotel and all of my belongings had been stolen except the clothes on my back. My contact lenses, my film out of my camera, my toothbrush – everything was gone,” she said.
In an effort to leave the hotel without the protection of security, the hotel staff “created this big circle that I and my two girlfriends were inside of and then they try to take me through the lobby”.
“There were so many people, hundreds of people, pulling at us and going berserk. So this was our introduction, ‘Hello, you’re famous.’ We had no idea,” said the actor.