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Sharon Stone shines

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Everybody in Hollywood wants to get into bed with Sharon Stone. One year after her star-making turn as the villainess in the $118 million Basic Instinct, the 35-year-old actress has become Hollywood’s new It Girl.

Courted by studio heads, bombarded with offers, revealing all — well, some — to Barbara Walters (Stone’s a featured guest on Walters’ Oscar-night ABC special and a presenter at the March 29 ceremonies), she is, as her agent Guy McElwaine says, ”at the peak of her game.”

There’s mounting evidence that Stone has surpassed Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, and Geena Davis at the top of the Hollywood scoreboard:

*She’s the hardest-working woman in show business. After completing the voyeuristic thriller Sliver (due May 21) in February, she segued into the Richard Gere drama Intersection and will shoot the spirited romance Manhattan Ghost Story in early fall. She also makes an appearance in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero (out June 18) and will likely play a prehistoric sex bomb named Sharon Stone in next year’s The Flintstones. She’s even doing a tire commercial in Italy.

*Though Stone was paid only $350,000 for Basic Instinct, she now commands multimillion-dollar fees. A source close to the actress says she has been offered between $7 million and $8 million to star in the screen adaptation of the JFK-Marilyn Monroe novel, The Immortals, which, if accepted, would be a record amount paid to an actress.

*Her attachment to a project virtually guarantees a green light. Every month, according to an insider, brings an average of 12 ”firm” studio offers; most A-list actresses receive only half that.

Stone’s swift rise can be traced to a combination of talent, looks, luck, and old-fashioned moxie — with emphasis on the latter. One studio executive claims she’s the female equivalent of Schwarzenegger — she has shrewdly transcended the ”sex bomb” image the way he has surpassed the muscleman role.

Still, some question her choice of material. There are grumblings about Sliver being an exploitative spin on Basic Instinct, and Intersection director Mark Rydell has been hitless since 1981’s On Golden Pond. Nevertheless, Stone is making it big in a way that separates her from actresses of the past — not as a dreamy feminine icon but as a consummate operator. ”The key to her image,” says Manhattan Ghost Story producer Robert Lawrence, is that ”she’s a force of her own. That’s what people saw in Basic Instinct. That’s what she’s riding on top of now.”

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