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Sharon Stone On Entering a New Phase of Her Career With 'Lovelace' and Her Brief (And Only) Taste of Porn

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire August 7, 2013 at 9:30AM

Sharon Stone stars as Linda Lovelace's mom in "Lovelace," the sad biopic of the famed "Deep Throat" star, helmed by "HOWL" duo Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman -- but you'd be hard pressed to know that, even after seeing the film. Virtually unrecognizable thanks to a wig, added on wrinkles and a startling physical transformation, Stone walks away with the most revelatory performance in the film, remarkable considering her over 30 years in the business.
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photo by Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan Co. Sharon Stone at a screening of "Lovelace" hosted by The Cinema Society and MCM with Grey Goose

Sharon Stone stars as Linda Lovelace's mom in "Lovelace," the sad biopic of the famed "Deep Throat" star, helmed by "HOWL" duo Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman -- but you'd be hard pressed to know that, even after seeing the film. Virtually unrecognizable thanks to a wig, added on wrinkles and a startling physical transformation, Stone walks away with the most revelatory performance in the film, remarkable considering her over 30 years in the business.

At 55 years old, the Oscar nominee now finds herself at a new, exciting stage in her career. As she revealed to Indiewire during a candid 20-minute chat last week, Stone feels that a "new door has opened, that there's another room of possibilities." "That's the great thing about being an older lady," she joked.

You were only 14 when "Deep Throat" came out. When did you first hear of it?

I was in the 9th grade at the time, so I probably wouldn't have heard anything about that at all. I'm guessing it was probably a joke or something when I was living in Europe and modeling. You know I just don't know. I don't know because I've never seen pornography, I've never seen a porno movie.

"I've never seen a porno movie."

Ever?

Mm-mm.

Wow.

I mean when I lived in Europe I saw part of this film called "Emanuelle."

Not a porn film, though it was X-rated.

Yeah, it wasn't exactly, literally pornography.

More of a soft-core arthouse film.

So in reality I've never really seen pornography. I have in some Nordic European countries changed the channel and it's on regular television, and I clicked by. I remember specifically some kind of S&M thing as I was switching by and just finding myself in peals of laughter.

READ MORE: 'Lovelace' Star Amanda Seyfried on Nudity and Why She Still Considers 'Mean Girls' Her Best Work

Because you know being a filmmaker, you can only imagine what it must be like being on one of those sets. [Starts smacking her leg in peals of laughter.] So how anybody can think that that's sexy? To me it's just ludicrous, it's just ludicrous. I think there's nothing less sexy than doing a sex scene, having done a sex scene. It's so unsexy that doing a porno must be like comical.

I love the fact that your first porno was an S&M one. You didn't get exposed to it lightly.

Well, I saw four seconds of it, of some guy in like the whole leather gear with his butt out, and a woman standing next to him in a whole leather gear with a whip. And I thought, "That's…hilarious."

So you never saw "Deep Throat," or did you see it in preparation for the role?

No, no. There's no need for me to do that. No.

You're pretty unrecognizable in the role of Dorothy Boreman, Lovelace's strict mother.

So many people said "I thought you were in that movie?" [Laughs]

How did your casting come about? This role was quite the stretch for you.

We got a call. Chuck Binder who's been my manager for a hundred years, said "They're interested in you for this movie," and I'm at this point now where I'm kind of interested in playing these wonderful young actors' moms…

[Laughs]

I'm like OK let me take a look, particularly because Rob and Jeff were directing and I'm an enormous fan of their work. Not just their work but their integrity and the kind of projects they do and the kind of approach that they've taken to the projects that they do. I mean my god these guys won the Peabody! Beyond just that they won the Oscar, "Stories From the Quilt" and the Harvey Milk story. And as a long-time AIDS activist and as a human rights activist the integrity of the kind of guys they are is really meaningful to me. So when they said they want to make this movie it was clear to me what kind of movie it would be. They are people whose moral compass is really pointing north. They're not people who were going to make a movie that was stupid. And so I understood when I read the script what this part could be. I knew who I was dealing with. And so given that, I felt that it was a kind of calling. And that working for them and doing that part would have profound meaning for me. And it did. It does.

RADiUS-TWC "Lovelace"

What about Dorothy specifically spoke to you?

Just that, there's a kind of thing that happens when there's a break in health in a family dynamic and I thought how does this girl get involved with this guy? What is it about her that's damaged? And then, what is it about her that's healthy enough that she pulls herself out of it. Where does this happen? What is the relationship? And obviously the father is really sympathetic, he's a good guy he's a hard working guy and he stays in there with her. So it had to be the mother. It had to be.

So I wanted to break down the character in a way, what was is about her?I thought well she is, she's charming, she's funny. She puts that meal on the table, she works hard. She's there, she means well she's trying to do her best. But there's a piece of her that's broken. What is it? She's trying too hard there's something about her that went wrong in her past where it's almost like she's over trying. She's over disciplining, she's over forcing, she's over demanding, to the point where she's breaking her. And it happened in that period. That was the period where dads took the belt off and snapped the belt. And your mom would say "I'm gonna knock you into next week." I mean you're young but when I grew up that wasn't unusual.

I say to my kids, you know what Grandma would say? You know what would happen if I did that growing up? Do you have any idea what would happen? And my kids are like "Whoa." I'm like, " So if I were you, I'd cool it. You want me to call Grandma and tell her what you're doing?" [Laughs]

You clearly built up this back-story for the character to rationalize her harsh actions. Did any of that come from research?

Yes, I did a lot of research and so did Jeff and Rob. They did a lot of research and gave me a lot of stuff to look at. They're like Marty [Martin Scorsese], I mean they're serious filmmakers, they're the real McCoy. They are sensational filmmakers and they are sensational men. I hope they hire me a thousand times.

You could have played Linda Lovelace during your 90s heyday. Did you see it as subversive casting on their part?

25 years ago.

Yeah, back then I could see this role being offered to you.

Which is why I played the mother.

Yeah.

Because, who would be her daughter?

Was that discussed at all?

I'm sure it's right for me to be the mother since, when I was a kid I could have played her. I think that's wise. No, I just think that's intelligent casting.

Let's talk about the physical transformation you had to undergo in order to play Dorothy. How did you come up with the look for the character?

Well we had pictures of Dorothy Boreman, so we lent ourselves to not trying to duplicate her but trying to capture the essence of her. It didn't take hours to do it, it was just creating a sketch of her.

How much did the wig, the makeup and the costumes inform the character?

We stippled my face. Stipple is this kind of stuff that's like a thin Elmer's Glue. You pull the skin like this and then you put it and then you release the skin. It creates this sort of wrinkling sensation. And then you just they put this sort of water color on to make it. It's just amazing. It was good, I mean it didn't take long but it was great. And because I'm skinny it's easier to use the body in this way to create fatigue.

Is doing something like that akin to wearing a mask? I can imagine it was easy to lose yourself after glancing at yourself in the mirror.

Part of your training as an actor is learning how to use your body. It's part of dancing, it's that forming the body into the character. I played a character that had ballet training and part of that informed the way she was stiff and unapproachable. My character in "Basic Instinct" she was such a hustler, she had that hustling, hustling movement [snaps her fingers] all the time. It just depends what you do. In "The Specialist" she was like a panther, always moving around always on the make. Once you get the way the character walks, I think that's it.

This character's exhausted, she's always stopped, always in that fatigue, that great fatigue. She was always taking care of people and therefore was exhausted. She's always that person.

I mean people put their characters together differently. And that really affects the way the clothes hang on the body. That was one of the great things to about working with [Robert] DeNiro. He's such a spectacular actor. He might put on 30 windbreakers, and he just works them on his body. I loved to watch him do that. You could see him looking for that little thing to ignite as the character. It was very informative for me to watch him because he's just the greatest at that. You can see it. And I think I learned so much just watching him. I was very blessed to have that experience. Learning with those people was sensational for me. And I feel that everything I've gotten to do since then reflects that deep opportunity of learning with them.

Do you continue to learn on set, or do you feel like you've mastered everything?

No, I continue to learn. You get to a point where you don't want to go to work if you're not gonna learn. I just worked with John Turturro, that guy's a genius. It's wonderful I love it. That's really the part I love about having this new -- it's really a new time in my career.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about this new stage in your career. You got to really stretch playing Dorothy, in a way you haven't been asked to before.

That's the great thing about being an older lady. I'm coming in, I'm playing a mom, I'm at another phase of life, I can play all kinds of different parts that I might not have been considered for before. I feel like another door has opened, that there's another room of possibilities. It's wonderful.

Does it feel more exciting now?

I wouldn't say exciting. It's more like, wow, there's all these extraordinary colleagues and it's almost like another wing of a library has opened, and look at all those books you can read! Look at all those things you can do. And then you can go talk to all of those really smart people. And wouldn't that be great! It's a different kind of excitement. It's more subtle. It's more of a kind of demurred enthusiasm.

"Lovelace" opens theatrically and on VOD this Friday.

This article is related to: Sharon Stone, Amanda Seyfried, Lovelace, RADiUS-TWC, Interviews, Martin Scorsese, Martin Scorsese, Martin Scorsese