Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction
Tagline: Everything interesting begins in the mind.
Novelist Catherine Tramell is once again in trouble with the law, and Scotland Yard appoints psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Glass to evaluate her. Though, like Detective Nick Curran before him, Glass is entranced by Tramell and lured into a seductive game.
Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell relocates from San Francisco to London and quickly finds herself on the wrong side of the law. David Morrissey plays a criminal psychologist assigned the task of evaluating her by Scotland Yard. She may finally have met her match in the shrink.
In the sexy and sleek psychological thriller Basic Instinct 2, after re-locating from San Francisco to London, best-selling crime novelist Catherine Trammel (Sharon Stone) once again finds herself on the wrong side of the law.
Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), a respected London criminal psychiatrist, is brought in by Scotland Yard detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) to perform a psychiatric profile and evaluation of Tramell following the mysterious death of a top sports star. Physically drawn to Tramell and mentally intrigued by her, Glass, against the advice of his mentor, Dr. Milena Gardosh (Charlotte Rampling), is quickly sucked into her web of lies and seduction. The professional boundaries between Glass and Tramell are obliterated when she uncovers his basic instincts. A deadly battle of wits ensues, climaxing as Glass faces a choice that will change both their lives forever.
Celebrated London psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey) is at the top of his game. Charismatic and successful, he has a thriving practice, he is highly respected by his peers and his academic articles win him praise and accolades. When Detective Superintendent Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) asks Glass to evaluate a beautiful and captivating woman who has been linked to the mysterious death of a famous sports star, his entire world is turned upside down.
The woman in question is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a best-selling American crime novelist whose grisly fictional crimes take place in real life with alarming frequency. The magnetism between the two is immediate and Glass is intrigued by Catherine both mentally and physically. Quickly sucked into her web of lies and seduction, Glass’ own basic instincts are uncovered as professional boundaries are obliterated.
As people around him are murdered one by one, a deadly battle of wits ensues between Glass and Tramell, leading to a startling climax in which he must make a choice that will change both of their lives forever. A slick psychological thriller, Basic Instinct 2, explores what happens when the darker side of human nature is uncovered. Has the intelligent, seductive and manipulative Tramell finally met her match?
Basic Instinct 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the worldwide smash hit Basic Instinct, which grossed more than $350 million at the box office. Set in contemporary London, the film was shot at Pinewood Studios and on location in the UK, with Sharon Stone reprising the role that put her on the road to international superstardom in 1992, that of seductive novelist Catherine Tramell.
David Morrissey, one of the U.K.’s most versatile and respected acting talents, portrays Dr. Michael Glass, a brilliant and charismatic psychiatrist who becomes entangled in Catherine’s erotic and deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
Joining Stone and Morrissey in the cast are David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) as Scotland Yard’s Detective Superintendent Roy Washburn, Charlotte Rampling (Spy Game, The Wings of the Dove) in the role of Milena Gardosh and Hugh Dancy (Shooting Dogs, King Arthur, Black Hawk Down) as journalist Adam Tower.
The History of Basic Instinct 2
Original plans for a sequel to the box office smash hit Basic Instinct started around eight years ago. “We went to the New York-based husband and wife writing team of Leora Barish & Henry Bean who came up with this idea that Catherine Tramell would get involved with a psychiatrist,” says producer Mario Kassar. “We thought it was a really compelling concept. We originally thought we’d do it in New York, then we figured it might be interesting to change it to a European city, so it was eventually changed to London”.
Kassar recalls the early days when Sharon Stone won the role that set her on the road to movie stardom, “Sharon worked very hard to secure the role of Catherine Tramell in the original Basic Instinct. You had the combination of Michael Douglas starring and Paul Verhoeven directing, and back then everyone was looking for an established star name for the female lead. However, many actresses were not prepared to undress. Verhoeven tested Sharon for the role and she looked exactly like Kim Novak in Vertigo and everyone who saw the tape agreed that she was perfect. She won the role, and Catherine was born. When we took the movie to Cannes, Sharon says that she went up the red carpet as an actress and a movie star.”
For the sequel, Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones was chosen, a decision Stone favored, having responded strongly to his earlier work like the acclaimed Scandal, another film with erotic overtones. “Michael’s very organic in the way he works,” says Kassar. “He’s natural, low-key and very stylized. His movies always have a certain look. He’s also very good at getting the performances out of his actors, because they like him so much and work hard to please him.
Producer Joel B. Michaels was equally enthusiastic. “Michael delivers and then he delivers some more. He has a really good eye and he’s just amazing with actors. I’m actually fascinated with the way he works with them. He has a singular technique for extracting very solid and complex performances. All good directors have to tap into the people they’re working with and different actors require different treatment in order to get them relaxed and comfortable enough to draw good performances from them. Michael excels at that.”
Casting the Movie
Having decided to shoot the movie in London, Caton-Jones’ reputation as an “actor’s director” put the production in a good position to attract the cream ofBritain’s acting talent. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Liverpool-born actor David Morrissey has built a roster of critically acclaimed film, TV roles, and Caton-Jones thought him an ideal fit to portray the clean-cut doctor who falls victim to Catherine Tramell’s machinations.
“David had totally the right upstanding look,” says producer Kassar. “On the surface he is the opposite of all the bizarre things that go on in Catherine’s psyche. As he slowly he falls under her spell, he is transported to that dark place you only go to when morbid curiosity gets the better of you.”
“The chemistry between Sharon and David was evident from the outset,” adds producer Michaels. Sharon responded to him immediately.”
Kassar and Michaels admit they’ve both been itching to do a movie with veteran British actress Charlotte Rampling for more than 20 years, “Finally we got her!” says Kassar. “Charlotte adds so much to a movie and she’s played so many memorable characters over the years.”
“I’ve been a big fan of Charlotte Rampling’s for a long time, so I was thrilled when Michael said that he wanted her,” says Michaels. “As a director, he has a great eye and always casts his films beautifully, so we all have him to thank for bringing Charlotte to the film. She’s a very elegant and intelligent woman and the absolute epitome of professionalism. She was completely charming and letter perfect every day she came to work.”
As for the leading lady, says Michaels, “I love Sharon. Who doesn’t? She’s very smart and savvy and she really knows this character. After all, she invented Catherine with her performance in Basic Instinct.”
The Look, Feel and Style
When quizzed on what words he’d use to describe the look of Basic Instinct 2, veteran production designer Norman Garwood’s choice is quite simple: “Cool, classy and stylish. It’s a London movie and we wanted to make the city look the coolest place in the world. We were under strict instructions from Michael not to show a ‘picture-postcard London’ and that meant no Big Ben, no Tower Bridge. We wanted to champion the amazing new architecture that’s emerged in the city over the last 10 years and blend it with the classical, established London.”
“Michael’s been an incredibly interesting guy to work with,” Garwood continues. “I really enjoyed the experience. I would present lots of ideas to find out what he did and didn’t like. Rather than doing drawings, I found that he liked to look at models, so we built quarter-inch and half-inch scale models so that he could look at everything three-dimensionally.”
The lead character’s personal style was intrinsic to the overall look, design and feel of the film, observes Garwood. “Catherine is very vampish, icy cool, dark in character and mysterious. We wanted to avoid masses of color, and dark red seemed to be a recurring theme. We referred to it as ‘dried blood,’ which is appropriate considering the subject matter.”
Tramell’s apartment reflected that approach, according to Garwood. “It was almost like a lair, with lots of shadowy corners and darks areas. It was almost monochromatic — with shiny surfaces, cold icy finishes and an edgy dangerous feel.”
In reprising the role that shot her to international stardom, Stone had a certain amount of input on the look and feel of her immediate environment. Garwood had a model of the apartment made for her, which she loved, and Stone was also very involved in the selection of the art in Catherine’s apartment. “Sharon has very good taste, and it was important that she felt comfortable with a selection she genuinely liked,” explains Garwood. “So we decided to go with her favorite artists, Egon Schiele and Fritz Balthaus.
In sharp contrast to Catherine’s lair, Garwood envisioned Michael Glass’s environment as much more in keeping with what he calls his “bookish” character. “We established that Sir Norman Foster’s famous Gherkin Tower that towers over the city of London would be where Dr. Michael Glass’ office would be situated,” says Garwood. “We filmed inside the actual building on one of the empty floors, then recreated his office at Pinewood Studios. We had to make itpretty dramatic, as there are areas in the Gherkin with huge double-aspect windows. So, creating the architecture of a famous piece of architecture was something of a challenge, especially with all that glass.”
One of the key ingredients in captivating global audiences, in the same way that Basic Instinct did 13 years ago, was the “S” word… Sex. Sharon Stone’s leg uncrossing during the interrogation scene in the original movie has become legendary, because of the style, class and eroticism Stone brought to the moment.
“Of course, Catherine is older in this film and the situations are different – she’s challenging the whole psychoanalytic system,” Kassar continues. “Normally, you’d go to a shrink, sit on the couch and the shrink would listen to you for hours and try to make sense of what you’re saying. When Catherine visits Dr. Michael Glass, however, she manipulates him, and instead of extracting things from her, she only gives him what she wants. In so doing, she takes him into her world. The shrink becomes hooked on her and the eroticism comes from the danger, obsession and risk in him when he crosses the professional boundaries.”
Actor David Morrissey felt that the original Basic Instinct broke boundaries because of the sexually explicit nature of what you could see in a mainstream movie. “It was also a great thriller and for me, almost like a Hitchcock film, especially the camera angles and the music,” says Morrisey. “It was a wonderful film, so I was really excited when I was offered this. But, it’s been more than a decade between the two films and, as with any good sequel, it has to exist on its own. And this one does. It’s the same central character, the same tone and it’s a sexual thriller, but the location makes it very different and the supporting characters are also very different.”
“Catherine’s craftier now than she was in the first story,” says producer Michaels. “She lives in an in-between world and that’s what makes her fascinating, scary and dangerous. She has the ability to hone in on someone with whom she knows she’ll be able to wage her psychological war of wills. She never takes the easy route. In the first film Michael Douglas’ tough guy character would give her as good as he got. In this film, it’s a mental game and so she goes after someone who has a superior intellect — a highly respected psychiatrist.”
On the obvious debate on sequels, Michaels responds quite simply: “You make a sequel on the premise that the first film worked and was successful. So now there’s a bar that’s been raised and you’ve got to do better because you’re always going be measured against the first film. This script was written as if there hadn’t been a Basic Instinct. It doesn’t operate as a sequel. It’s such a strong story that it really stands alone and could have been made on its own merit.
Director Caton-Jones’ original brief for location manager Keith Hatcher was to find locations that reflect the changes that London has undergone over the past decade. The London that has perennially been portrayed in movies is all about red double-decker buses and Big Ben. But Basic Instinct 2 takes place in a cool, contemporary London. The locations for this much-anticipated sequel were chosen to mirror the sexy style of its protagonist.
The stunning opening sequence features Stone and former soccer star Stan Collymore driving the Spyker C8 Laviolette sports car (which was custom-built in the Netherlands and has never before been seen on screen) at break-neck speed around the Thames-side areas of east London’s Canary Wharf and features the eye-catching Gherkin building in the heart of the city — complete with 360 degree panoramic views of the high-tech, minimalist office. The area southwest of Tower Bridge, close to Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s headquarters, was selected as an ideal cityscape location for Catherine’s apartment.
Other slick hot-spots in the movie include the fashionable Soho celebrity haunts of Hakkasan, The Atlantic Bar and Titanic Bar. By contrast, the seedy side of Soho is depicted in nighttime sequences on Brewer Street and Hanway Street featuring a host of colorful characters from the Soho underworld including drag queens, prostitutes and transsexuals.
The Natural History Museum in South Kensington, which rarely grants permission for filming, is also featured, as is the Old Billingsgate Market, which doubled as Holloway Prison, and Lincoln’s Inn, The Masonic Hall close to Covent Garden, County Hall on the South Bank, Imperial College, the amazing Tanaka Business School built by a Japanese millionaire, and the breathtaking Gothicstyle Royal Holloway college near Egham in Surrey.
The new-look London depicted in Basic Instinct 2 is more akin to the architecture of Sir Norman Foster than Sir Christopher Wren, says Kassar. A frequent visitor to London over his long career, the producer feels that there’s a certain magic about the mixture of old and new in the movie. “It’s fascinating and beautiful and it just works so well for this story. The city is like another character in the story.”
“If you’re going to move the story to Europe, it’s just more comfortable to move to a city where the language isn’t going to an obstacle,” adds producer Michaels. London just made sense, and it’s one of the great cities in the world. Architecturally it’s beautiful and varied. Norman Garwood, Michael Caton-Jones, our talented director of photography Gyula Pados, with his amazing eye, managed to collaborate on the perfect locations giving the film a memorable look.”
“When you live in a city, you tend to take it for granted and forget about how great it is,” observes actor Morrissey. “With this film, it was like looking at London through new eyes.”
For Hungarian costume designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor, her starting point was a meeting with Sharon Stone at her Los Angeles home to discuss ideas for the Catherine Tramell’s wardrobe. “Sharon and I talked about the character and decided to approach her in a very classy, artistic way. Sharon had a lot of ideas based on her own fabulous personal style. We started piecing it all together from ideas sparked by the photography of Helmut Newton, the paintings of Schiele and classic film-noir,” explains Pasztor.
“In addition to her great sense of style, Sharon also has a great body and she really knows how to carry herself,” continues Pasztor. “So she was pretty easy to dress. She particularly loves vintage clothes, so we decided to mix some really old couture vintage clothing with contemporary designer pieces. The BBC is one of my favorite places to dig around for great stuff. We discovered some particularly good 1970s vintage clothing there and also pulled in pieces from a very good company called Whitaker. Most of the wardrobe came from L.A., London, Milan and Rome.”
Jewelry also played a major role in Tramell’s wardrobe, and apart from a few unique and bizarre pieces from a flea market, London’s Chopard jewelers supplied most of the signature pieces. “Their jewelry was fantastic. It gave the character a rich, luxurious look, which gave a very cohesive feel,” comments Pasztor.
Director of photography and fellow Hungarian Gyula Pados worked closely with Pasztor on the selection of fabrics. “Gyula asked me to find fabrics with a shine,” she says. “The film is quite low-lit, so it’s good to have the pieces shining a little. All of Sharon’s clothes were pretty tight-fitting and made from very interesting fabrics, and I think the textures and her silhouette give a sexy and interesting look,” says Pasztor.
“As for David Morrissey,” she continues. “We decided to give him an elegant, classy, film-noir look, in the vein of a Humphrey Bogart. I used a lot of designer high-fashion suits for him because they fit him best. His character isn’t extravagant, so we wanted to make him classic in a very solid, sober way. It’s a good contrast to Sharon’s eccentric and artsy look.”
These production notes provided by Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction
Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Flora Montgomery, Anne Caillon, Andre Schneider
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Screenplay by: Leora Barish, Henry Bean
Release Date: March 31th, 2006
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content.
Studio: Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Box Office Totals
Domestic: $5,971,336 (15.5%)
Foreign: $32,658,142 (84.5%)
Total: $38,629,478 (Worldwide)