20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

Sharon Stone was only offered the role of Catherine Tramell after 13 actresses had turned it down, including Julia Roberts.


Mom and Dad wouldn't let me watch it. Obviously.

Basic Instinct was the movie of 1992 (with apologies to Wayne's World) thanks to tons of crazy sex and nudity. That rarely happened in popular movies back then. I was 12 years old in '92, and in the prime of my "this looks like it has breasts, let's rent it!" phase with my wastrel friends. We would watch anything — shitty horror, exploitation, even (gasp) melodrama — if it meant a possible glimpse of a naked female body. 

Basic Instinct was a sure thing. Starring the hottest woman I had ever seen, Sharon Stone, the movie was a shocker. Not only was Stone nude for half the movie, she took part in crazy sex scenes usually reserved for the "adults only" section of my local Blockbuster Video. I had to see it. And then see it again. 

Mom and Dad wouldn't let me watch, but I finagled my way to see it at a friend's house during a sleepover. That's how important it was. We centered a whole night around it. And let me tell you: Basic Instinct did not disappoint.

Thanks to horny young pre-teens like me (and most everyone else) flocking to it, Basic Instinct raked in huge money at the box office. Grossing over $350 million worldwide, it also garnered two Academy Award nominations! Bet you didn't know that. Here's some more stuff about Basic Instinct you never knew:

1. Sharon Stone was only offered the role of Catherine Tramell after 13 actresses had turned it down. Director Paul Verhoeven suggested her for the part after the two worked together on Total Recall, But star Michael Douglas wanted a bigger name. He wanted Julia Roberts and others, but no famous actress would play the role. Eventually Verhoeven won out and Stone was cast.

20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

2. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Ray Liotta, Patrick Swayze, Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Charlie Sheen, Michael J. Fox, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Al Pacino, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Sheen, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Quaid, Jeff Bridges, John Travolta, Richard Dean Anderson, Don Johnson and Chuck Norris were all reportedly considered for the role of Detective Nick Curran. Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington turned it down. Douglas would eventually win it.

3. No body doubles were used in any of the sex scenes, but Douglas refused to go full-frontal. He also refused to allow his character to be bisexual.

4. Douglas and Stone wore flesh-colored genital pads during their sex scenes. 

5. The first major sex scene between Curran and Tramell took five days to film. Verhoeven shot hours of footage thinking the MPAA would make him edit the scene to get a R-rating, which they did.

20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

6. The sex scenes were so choreographed Stone referred to herself and Douglas as "the horizontal Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the '90s."

7. The famous leg-crossing scene was included in the movie without Stone's approval, according to the actress on Inside the Actors Studio. She claims when she saw it, she slapped Verhoeven across the face. Verhoeven claims Stone was told about the shot, and it was her agent who changed her mind afterwards. 

20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

8. Verhoeven was on record when he first signed to do the film as saying that he wanted to make Basic Instinct the first Hollywood mainstream film with an erect penis in it. He didn't get his wish, but he did get a penis on screen—on Boz's cadaver when the police examine his body.

9. Writer Joe Eszterhas penned the script in ten days while listening to The Rolling Stones non-stop. The movie was initially called Love Hurts, but he then sold it three days later at auction as Basic Instinct.

10. The script sold for a then-unheard-of sum of $3 million.

11. Eszterhas has admitted his story has a major plot hole: DNA evidence. Police had used DNA evidence since the mid-'80s, but there's no mention of it in the movie.

12. Eszterhas originally wrote Nick Curran as a lesbian cop. He imagined Kathleen Turner in the role.

13. Douglas and Jeanne Tripplehorn's wild sex scene was filmed during a rehearsal and Verhoeven liked it so much he kept it in the movie. The actors did not know they were being filmed.

20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

14. Basic Instinct is Tripplehorn's first feature film.

15. Brooke Shields turned down the role of Roxy because she wasn't interested in nudity. Been there, done that, I guess.

16. Basic Instinct opened the Cannes Film Festival in 1992. 

17. Douglas, who raced cars in his younger years, did most of his own stunt driving in the film.

18. Catherine's last name comes from Alan Trammell, the longtime star shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. Stone discovered that a "trammell" was also a Scottish death shroud and complimented Eszterhas on his subtlety with the choice, not believing the truth.

19. Thanks to a script leak, gay and lesbian activists protested the filming in San Francisco constantly. SFPD had to deploy 50 riot police to every location during the duration of the shoot.

20. When Nick is tailing Catherine on Highway One, he passes a car with the license plate "OUTTA TM," a presumably unintentional reference to the "OUTATIME" license plate in Back to the Future.

20 Things You Never Knew About 'Basic Instinct'

h/t to IMDb & Wikipedia

Managing Editor, Zimbio — entertainment writer, critic, and reporter since 2011. Bay Area. Origin: Shark City.