Track the 14-year odyssey of ''Basic Instinct 2.'' The twisted tale behind spring's most dubious sequel

By Dade Hayes
Updated March 03, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Sick of Oscar-season filet mignon? This spring, Hollywood will serve up its most deliciously cheesy dish in years: Basic Instinct 2. Ice-pick-brandishing temptress Catherine Tramell’s 14-year odyssey back to the big screen could be its own movie — complete with legal battles, bodyguards, and private jets. So as you await the film’s March 31 release, here’s a recap.

1992 Basic Instinct collects $353 million worldwide, and sequel talk begins. Sharon Stone insists her leg-uncrossing scene resulted from a trick played by director Paul Verhoeven. (Verhoeven has denied this.) Still, it catapults her to megafame, at least until Sliver.

1997 MGM buys Basic Instinct sequel rights from bankrupt Carolco Pictures, the notoriously free-spending company behind the Rambo and Terminator movies. (The company would reemerge in 1998 as C2 Pictures.)

1999 MGM told Variety that it plans to ”create our own star with the brand of Basic Instinct,” i.e., make a cheap sequel without Sharon Stone.

2000 With Stone back on board thanks to a rich offer from C2, which reacquired the production rights to the project, David Cronenberg, John McTiernan, and Lee Tamahori would all be considered to direct. The job goes to Michael Caton-Jones (Scandal).

2001 Stone sues C2’s Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar, saying they reneged on a verbal guarantee of $14 million and a percentage of profits. MGM drops the sequel from its distribution slate.

2004 Stone settles her suit. Terms are not disclosed, but reportedly Stone’s perk requests included a private jet for seven and a 24-hour, armed bodyguard. Multiple sources say C2, rather than simply paying off Stone, decides to pay her to make the movie instead.

2005 After a search involving Benjamin Bratt and Aaron Eckhart, the Michael Douglas replacement part goes to David Morrissey (Derailed).

2006 Sony, which acquired MGM in 2005, says the MPAA threatened Basic Instinct 2 with an NC-17 rating and that sex scenes were recut to get an R. The studio also (wisely) ditches the subtitle Risk Addiction. A promotional reel of softcore sex scenes surfaces online — so even if the film bombs, there’s always late-night Cinemax.

Basic Instinct 2

  • Movie
  • R
  • 114 minutes
  • Michael Caton-Jones