Basic Instinct (Erotic 90’s, Part 6)
One of the biggest hits of 1992, Basic Instinct was sold as Michael Douglas’s return to Fatal Attraction territory, but its success owed to an alchemy of three other creatives: a writer (Joe Eszterhas) who was driven to become the highest-paid scribe in movies; a director (Paul Verhoeven) who was determined to redefine the amount of sex considered acceptable in a Hollywood movie; and a female lead (Sharon Stone) who had waited a long time for her breakout role, and finally found it in a bisexual murderess with the sheen of a Hitchcock blonde. We’ll talk about all of that, detailing the extremely messy production that was protested by LGBT activists – and its screenwriter – virtually from beginning to end, and examine Basic Instinct as a collision of toxicity and commerce that was emblematic of just-pre-Clinton era.
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