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'Basic Instinct' sequel on the way

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One of the hot rumors going around Hollywood these days is this: A Basic Instinct sequel is in the works, with Sharon Stone reprising her role as the sexually ravenous, ice-pick-wielding femme fatale Catherine Tramell. But the original came out in March. Why a sequel so soon? Because Carolco Pictures, which produced the wildly successful Instinct (it has made $110 million domestically), is too heavily in debt not to make it.

Stone and Instinct screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, says one inside source, are ”definitely” committed to the sequel, even though Eszterhas (who got $3 million for the first installment) ”wants more money than God.” Stone’s fee hasn’t been decided yet either, says the source, despite a printed report that her agents had negotiated a $7 million deal.

Stone, 34, whose star went ballistic when Instinct became a hit, will go it alone in the sequel. San Francisco detective Nick Curran, the character played by Michael Douglas, ”will probably be killed off,” adds the source. Which is fine, since Douglas is both uninterested and very expensive. Original director Paul Verhoeven, who is said to be working on another project, the mythical fantasy Rune, is also out of the picture. But Stone and Eszterhas have already banged out a story line; Stone, explains the source, ”has a lot of ideas and has been involved every step of the way.”

How will Basic Instinct 2 play? The mere thought of a sequel about a homicidal bisexual who doesn’t wear underwear brings the creative juices to a mad boil. We asked a few screenwriters (and one producer) for some high concept:

Wesley Strick (Cape Fear; script doctor, Batman Returns): Nick and Catherine are happily married, despite Nick’s having developed leads implicating Catherine in 400 or so unsolved murders. After Nick finds an ice pick under the bed, he confronts Catherine with his suspicions. She claims she’s writing a novel about a cop who suspects his wife of committing 400 or so unsolved murders. Nick believes her. Jealous of his wife’s imminent literary triumph, Nick succumbs again to cocaine and, one night, wades into the Pacific and drowns. When Catherine takes the stage to accept the Pulitzer Prize in the new Best Fiction/Best Alibi category, she proudly calls herself ”Mrs. Nick Curran.” There isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Will Aldis (Stealing Home): Nick, married to Catherine, has been made San Francisco’s police chief. And just in time, because new ice-pick murders have been discovered. Suspicion grows that Catherine may be up to her old tricks, but Nick’s judgment is again clouded by their terrific sex life. He finally determines that the killer is Dorothy Malone and chases her into an abandoned warehouse. A shoot-out results; Dorothy falls to the floor. Lying in Nick’s arms, her white wig falls off, revealing that she’s really Karl Malden. ”I killed them all!” he whispers into Nick’s ear. ”Why did you leave me? Why?”

Lynda Obst (producer, The Fisher King): I’m calling it Baser Instinct. In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco is polarized into two warring camps: psychopathic lesbians who have whimsically murdered their families, and drunken male vigilantes. When night falls, they engage in coital and homicidal skirmishes. Then the final conflagration: Rich white women with perfect breasts destroy the patriarchy, and the city is cleansed by a new serenity.

Tom Rickman (Coal Miner’s Daughter): Fade In: Pre-title darkness, sounds of heavy lovemaking. Then silence, screams, sounds of death. For Acts I, II, and III, see original Instinct script. Ain’t broke, don’t fix it — know what I’m saying? Fade Out. The End.

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