While living in Europe, she decided to quit modeling and become an actress. "So I packed my bags, moved back to New York, and stood in line to be an extra in a Woody Allen movie," she later recalled. Stone was cast for a brief role in Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror film Deadly Blessing (1981). French director Claude Lelouch cast her in Les Uns et les Autres (1982), starring James Caan. She was on screen for two minutes and did not appear in the credits.
Her next film role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and a young Drew Barrymore. Stone played a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. In 1984, she appeared in a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., titled "Echoes of the Mind", where she played identical twins, one a love interest of Tom Selleck's character. Through the remainder of the 1980s, she had roles in such films as King Solomon's Mines (1985) and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987), and played Steven Seagal's wife in Above the Law (1988). In 1988, she played Janice Henry for the filming of the miniseries War and Remembrance.
Stone in France, 1991
Her appearance in Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Stone's career a boost. To coincide with the film's release, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the film (she lifted weights and learned taekwondo). In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy. In another Verhoeven film was the role that made her a star, playing Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual, alleged serial killer, in Basic Instinct (1992). Several actresses at the time turned down the role, mostly because of the nudity required. In the film's most notorious scene, Tramell is being questioned by the police, and she crosses and uncrosses her legs, exposing her genitalia, which are not covered by underwear. According to Stone, she agreed to film the flashing scene with no underwear, and although she and Verhoeven had discussed the scene from the beginning of production, she was unaware just how explicit the infamous shot would be:
"I knew that we were going to do this leg-crossing thing and I knew that we were going to allude to the concept that I was nude, but I did not think that you would see my vagina in the scene. Later, when I saw it in the screening I was shocked. I think seeing it in a room full of strangers was so disrespectful and so shocking, so I went into the booth and slapped him and left."
Stone claimed in an earlier interview, however, that "it was so fun" watching the film for the first time with strangers. Verhoeven has denied all claims of trickery and said, "As much as I love her, I hate her, too, especially after the lies she told the press about the shot between her legs, which was a straight lie". Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who later befriended the actress, also claimed in his memoir, Hollywood Animal, that the actress was fully aware of the level of nudity involved.
Stone at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
Following Basic Instinct, she was listed by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. In 1992, photographer George Hurrell took a series of photographs of Stone, Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, Raquel Welch, Eric Roberts, and Sean Penn. In November 1995, Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. That same year, Empire chose her as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history. In October 1997, she was ranked among the top 100 film stars of all time by Empire.
In 1995, she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Motion Picture for her role as Ginger in Martin Scorsese's Casino, in which she...
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