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Sharon Stone Has High Praise For Robert De Niro And Joe Pesci, Less For Other Unnamed Parties

/Film 1/26/2023 Mike Shutt
Sharon Stone in Casino © Universal Pictures Sharon Stone in Casino

Sharon Stone is someone who should have had a far more robust career than she has had. She may have catapulted to superstardom after the release of "Basic Instinct" back in 1992, but that stardom always came with more than a heavy dose of scrutiny. Instead of being lauded for her truly outstanding performance in Paul Verhoeven's erotic neo-noir, all of the discussion about her work in that film focused entirely on the scene of her uncrossing and recrossing her legs in an interrogation scene where she briefly exposes her vagina. You take that and pair it with playing one of the great femme fatales in film, and the world is going to look at you as a sex object, an ice queen, or both.

Her filmography after "Basic Instinct" was a lot of people trying to capitalize on that persona. Stone took the work because it was work, but she knew it came from a misogynistic, type-casting place. They didn't think of her as an actor with range. They thought of her as Catherine Tramell, but really, they only thought of her as the iconography of Catherine Tramell.

There is one notable exception, and that came in 1995 with Martin Scorsese's crime epic "Casino." At the time, the film garnered a rather mixed reception, but what no one could deny was the work done by Sharon Stone as the hustler Ginger McKenna. That year, she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama and received her only Oscar nomination for her performance, being the sole representative from "Casino" at the 1996 Academy Awards ceremony. As the film is pretty inarguably her apex as a film actor, you would hope that her experience making it would be free from the behavior that hampered her career. Thankfully, it seems like it was.

Respecting Her As An Actor

Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro in Casino © Universal Pictures Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro in Casino

By 1995, the impact of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci on U.S. cinema had long been felt. De Niro had won two Oscars, Pesci had one, and Scorsese was known as the most overdue director in the business (okay, maybe Stanley Kubrick was). Plenty of people who have reached that kind of success and power in the industry often wield it to behave like complete a-holes. Sharon Stone has experience with a lot of those a-holes in her career, but it turns out that the top dogs on "Casino" were not among them. Speaking with Variety, she talked about her horrific experiences with other actors in the past and how De Niro and Pesci definitely didn't fit into that box:

"I've worked with some of the biggest stars in the business, who will literally talk through my close-up, telling me what they think I should do. They're so misogynistic — now, that is not Robert De Niro. That is not Joe Pesci, that is not those guys. But I have worked with some really big stars who will literally talk out loud through my close-up, telling me what to do. [...] That's not great acting."

Stories like this make me incredibly angry. Being able to make a living as a working actor is so difficult, and reaching the heights of the profession is rarified air. The ones that end up in that strata know the hard work it takes to get there, and yet they can't help belittling, demeaning, and disrespecting people doing the exact same job as them. For women and people of color, this vitriol is even worse. I'm happy to hear that the experience on "Casino" was positive for Stone. I'm heartbroken it was a rarity.

Read this next: Every Martin Scorsese Feature Ranked From Worst To Best

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