Basic Instinct shows that Michael Douglas used his A-list status make bold choices and movies which would have been turned down by most stars. His Curran is an antihero, a man who does drugs, drinks heavily and sleeps around – he’d be the villain of the piece in most other movies. Sharon Stone was a relative unknown before the film was released in 1992 and it shot her into the stratosphere. Many of Hollywood’s leading actress rejected the explicit role, but Stone excels as the femme fatale. They say that casting is key – they’re right.
Paul Verhoeven‘s film and Joe Eszterhas‘ script took the Hitchcockian thriller, removed a lot of the Hitch and added more cock. The shadow of Hitchcock’s Vertigo looms large over Basic Instinct – from Jerry Goldsmith‘s Bernard Herrmann style score to the film’s San Francisco setting. Even cinematographer Jan de Bont‘s camera traverses the windy coastal roads of California in a similar fashion.
Verhoeven’s 1992 film, Basic Instinct is a seminal erotic thriller. The neo-noir effectively kick-started the thriller sub-genre in the 1990s and made a star out of Sharon Stone in the process. The middle instalment in what Michael Douglas calls his ‘pants down trilogy’ (alongside Fatal Attraction and Disclosure), Basic Instinct caused controversy and made headlines crossed the globe. It was all good press for the film which was a huge hit at the box office, grossing $117.7 million in the US and $352.9 million worldwide.