Sharon Stone: Gets Into Character Demonically
We finally got to work together on a film called A Different Loyalty, based on the true story of the English spy, Kim Philby. I was playing Philby, Sharon was his American wife.
It was a great story and had the makings of a good film. Unfortunately, however, it was destined for a premiere on the shelf at Blockbuster video stores. The warning signs were there from the start.
For some reason, Sharon insisted on changing the names from the real characters to new, invented ones.
Equally problematic were the flat, overwritten dialogue, the ever-shrinking budget and the fact that —— purely for tax reasons —— we were filming in Montreal when the story took place in New York , London , Beirut and Moscow .
All of this, however, paled into insignificance when, at dinner with Sharon early in the rehearsal period, I realized something that had hitherto escaped me. She was utterly unhinged.
“Honey,” she said in the middle of the first course. “Have you let your character in yet?” “What do you mean, Shaz?” I replied, slightly wearily.
I always find that when another actor wants to discuss character, it means that they want to discuss your character —— and what you need to do so that they can play their character the way they want.
“How many dead people have you played?” “Tons. I only ever play dead people,” I said, gloomily. “So you know. Have you let him in?”. She spoke quietly and looked at me with a burning intensity. She had never looked better, even if she insisted on cutting her own hair with her nail scissors. She was a great beauty and her eyes were hypnotic. I was swept in by their drama, even if I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.
“Sort of,” I said, feeling my way. “Sure. I felt that,” Sharon replied. “Man, she came into me last night. She’s right there.” Sharon banged her chest with her fist, then opened her fingers and grabbed one of her breasts, shaking it with passion. A man at the next table nearly fell off his chair.
“You mean Mrs Philby?”. “Oh yeah! She is in such pain. I’m trying to live with her, but she’s gonna take over. I can feel it. Once they take over……” She whistled and shook her head.
I cleared my throat to deliver my next line. “No, Philby hasn’t come into me yet, thank God, and frankly I hope he doesn’t. He was a ghastly old lush, wasn’t he?”.
She ignored me. “The first time was on the film Casino.” Now she was speaking so softly that I could hardly hear and had to crane forward.Always speak as quietly as possible. It draws the listener in and makes you look riveting as well as beautiful to the on looking fans.
Because, make no mistake: Sharon ’s career was a 24/7 affair. She didn’t have to be on a sound stage to be filming. The world was her camera and her alarm clock was the clapperboard.
It was legendary stuff and I adored it. “Marty left the mad scene for last,” she continued. “You remember, when my character has that total meltdown?” “How could I forget? It was brilliant,” I replied, thinking back to Martin Scorsese’s mobster film.
“Well, she came inside me while I was in the trailer before the scene.” I giggled awkwardly. Sharon gave me a withering glare. “I was, like, completely possessed. She was right there. I was her. Bobby could tell straightaway. He said to Marty, “How much film do you have?” And Marty said, “We got a full mag!”
“So just keep rolling,” Bobby told him. “Trust me.” He knew. Bobby knew. “And when Marty said “Action”, I blacked out. I have no recollection. She took over. At the end of the scene I was on the ground. I couldn’t move and Marty said: “Don’t touch her. Leave her for a few minutes.”
The thing was, if you watched Casino, Sharon ’s performance was possessed. It was on a level few actors achieve, so it was difficult to know what to think. Maybe she was invaded by the dead. Maybe Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro believed it too.
“There was a pinkish mist over me” Sharon continued. “Everyone saw it. And it’s happened again on this film. This could be the last time we speak, you and I.” This girl was stark raving mad. I was scared of her.
Photo from Flickr.com | Siebi