In high school the gangly egghead with stringy blond hair was always the last team pick in gym class. And until this year, Hollywood eyed Sharon Stone no differently; she'd been passed over for Fatal Attraction, Dick Tracy and Batman. The fact is, when director Paul Verhoeven first began looking for an actress to play Catherine Tramell—the bisexual bad girl in what became this year's naughtiest blockbuster, Basic Instinct—she wasn't even in his lineup. But Michelle Pfeiffer wasn't interested in the role. Julia Roberts
didn't want it. Neither did Geena Davis. Verhoeven was down to fourth string. Then, from relative obscurity, came Stone: sexy, steely, scary. Onscreen, drop-dead chic in her white sheath sans underwear, she silenced a roomful of lusty police investigators merely by uncrossing her ladylike legs. With murderous cool she convinced a nation of blanching, blushing moviegoers that you can, in fact, get blood (and passion) from a Stone. "Fine," clucks costar Michael Douglas to the stars who walked away (what were their names?). "We just created some competition for all of you."
And what an edge. Stone, 34, keeps her words—like Tramell's weapons—sharp and to the point. The suddenly A-list actress from Meadville, Pa., dismisses talk of money because "it's vulgar." For the record, she'll earn a reported $2.5 million for her role opposite Billy Baldwin in next summer's thriller Sliver. As for her romance with country crooner Dwight Yoakam earlier this year, you can almost hear her sardonic yawn. "We went on a few absolutely not intriguing dates," she says. "People thought it was important because he had that big hat." Still, even this ice princess—who since spring has been dating musician Chris Peters, 24, son of movie mogul Jon Peters—can gush. "I like a guy who will treat me like a girl," says Stone. "I'm very old-fashioned." Meaning? "Occasionally," she coos, "I do wear underwear."