As part of the 2e edition of Red Sea International Film Festival 2022, Sharon Stone, best known for her role in Basic Instinct, but also for her commitment to humanitarian causes, including women’s rights and HIV, shared with Here Beirut, in a moment of emotion, his star experience and his perception of the essence of life.
Sharon Stone starts off with “Yaatikom al aafiaW”, in Arabic. “That’s all I know,” she continues. For her, having an intelligent conversation is essential “not to waste the time of the public”. Sharon Stone reveals herself as she is, without restraint, without censorship. As a free woman. She is characterized by her sense of humor, as well as her determination and the strength of her vulnerability.
Emphasizing her experience as a woman in the field of cinema, she attests: “I would have liked to be a director, after the shooting of Basic Instinct. I went to the studios to ask for a small budget. I was not let in because it is not a job for women. I had a double degree in finance and English literature… and I was a painter. I chose acting to make a living. I also practiced in modeling to have a lucrative job that allows me to eat my fill…”
Sharon and fame
Sharon Stone discusses fame and the other side of the coin: “For the projection of Basic Instinct in Cannes, I had lost my luggage. I asked the producers to buy me a dress for the premiere. I entered the room as an ordinary person and came out in ssuperstar. I was staying in a hotel on the Croisette and, on my return, I found nothing in my room; from my contact lenses to my underwear. I was then transferred to another hotel and bodyguards had to clear our way out. It was my introduction to stardom. I had no idea this was going to happen. One day on my way home, I stopped at a red light. People started jumping on my car… I wondered if there was a law to prevent people from jumping on cars. I restarted slowly… Another evening when I was at the cinema with my friend, there was a crowd at the exit. We started running to take refuge in a restaurant, under the kitchen table. I was afraid to leave my house. I went to a shrink to tell her that I had a phobia of opening the door! She turned around and asked me:
“Is that you on this poster?… Do you have a car with a bodyguard?… My advice? It is high time.” She charged me for the entire session: “You are prepared to become famous.”
Marylin Monroe debuted as Marylin with a fee of $500,000. Michael Douglas was paid $40 million and could afford a car and a bodyguard. I, on the other hand, couldn’t because I was a woman in the film industry. I then thought it was time for me to win a million dollars. Did I have to look like my character in the film, vulgar, serial killer, revealing all the parts of my body?
I had a dramatic life. I lost custody of my child after my divorce. I had to break down barriers to get women paid fairly in an industry that favors men. I was punished by fame. My personal space, my life, my rights, the idea that people had of me according to my role. For years, I was not recognized for the quality of my work. At the ceremony of Golden Globe Awards, people laughed at me. It wasn’t until years later that what I had done for women’s rights was applauded.”
Sharon and success
Faithful in her collaborations, the actress adds: “I appreciate a good director, a good script and a good actor. I work with the same interior painters from father to son. I have worked with the same team for 33 years. You have to close the circle, action after action, to excel in a field and stay there. Time passes. You have all your life to become rich, etc. When the time comes, you’re ready. I don’t stay the surface. This is my success.”
Sharon and spirituality
Revealing a spiritual side of her personality, Sharon continues: “God created us all equal. He made no mistakes. He created a life of service. Women serve men. Men also serve women. They are there to serve humanity and not cruelty and disrespect They are there to observe the love and grace that God has given us I have worked all over the world I have known the best and the worst. The best comes when we are not afraid to be at the height of grace and love that we possess.”
Painting is an art that Sharon Stone has long neglected to focus on her acting career. She shares her passion for colors: “The pandemic allowed me to get back to painting. I got up and started painting until I was exhausted. You need 10,000 hours to perfect anything. My goal is to complete those 10,000 hours.”
Recounting her life as a mother after the hardships she faced, Sharon enthusiastically says, “My first child is currently living with me. I adopted two children after my divorce. my son. I currently have four sons in my care. I try to protect them from fame. When my son is asked “Do you know what your mum does on Mondays?”, he answers: “Yes, cakes.””
Sharon and prejudice
Regarding her visit to Saudi Arabia, for example, she says: “I’m not afraid of what I don’t know. I’ll go see for myself and let you know. See for yourself , that’s where the truth lies. How can you understand a person and their choices when you haven’t known their mother, shared their food. You don’t have to worship God the same way. I had a stroke at the age of 41. I had nine days of bleeding, I had a 9% chance of survival and I came out of it. I am in perpetual conversation with the Spirit. I am a being lonely. When I paint in my room, with every stroke of the brush, I speak to Him out loud and He answers me. And no, I’m not crazy!”
Sharon and “the thinking heart”
It has been discovered that there are reflective cells in our heart. My youngest son is determined to become a heart surgeon “because even if the brain dies, as long as you keep the heart alive, all the other organs will be good for other people,” he said. At 14, he began his studies at Oxford. At 16, he was on an internship.” Then, the actress shares, not without emotion, a personal experience: “My nephew was not even a year old when he died. He was put on a ventilator for five days. We were able to donate his organs and now he lives through four other people. His heart beats… He will continue to live in other people’s bodies. I’m relieved, in a way. I feel that he is not completely gone. He was called River. And, in my spirituality, I believe in it; the river does not stop…”
Sharon and her struggle with HIV
A journey that Sharon Stone pursued without batting an eyelid. She testifies: “I had great icons as a source of inspiration for humanitarian causes: Audrey Hepburn, Liz Taylor… I was offered to replace Liz Taylor in her foundation to raise awareness and fight against AIDS: Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. I mentioned it to my publicist, Cindy Roger, who replied, “If you do it, it will destroy your career.” I told him that I knew, but I would do it anyway. I started by putting a hazmat suit and enter a laboratory to observe under the microscope this tiny thing so dangerous and terrifying. The subject was still taboo at the time. My involvement in this vital cause damaged my public image and my career, but I held on to it. Since then, 49 million people have died, yes, but another 47 million with HIV are living and leading normal lives.”
Sharon and her screen icons
In all modesty, Sharon Stone does not hide her admiration for other actors and actresses: “Amazing Kate Winslet; Shah Rukh Khan, who sat next to me at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea International Film Festival…I didn’t hide my reaction when I realized it was him; my friend Rossy De Palma… and an African actress who is my namesake. I’ve seen all her films, she’s a very good actress!
There are also the legends I knew as a child: Humphrey Bogart, Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Julie Christie, Sean Penn… Because of cell phones, there is no longer that mystery that hovered around the stars of the 70s. I don’t think there are any more movie stars today that we identify with. Having started my career at a young age, I had the good fortune to know Frank Sinatra and to have dinner with Shirley MacLaine at her home on the floor. That was something!”
And to conclude: “I am just a child from Pennsylvania who never thought that I could one day travel to Saudi Arabia and know you.” Sharon Stone gets up and leaves, to the clicks of the cameras…