Sharon Stone's Hero Is Every Woman

Sharon Stone's Hero Is Every Woman

The icon returns after a long hiatus with an HBO show and a frank yet optimistic take on Hollywood's future.

The icon returns after a long hiatus with an HBO show and a frank yet optimistic take on Hollywood's future.

Text: Paul Schrodt

This article appears in the pages of V112, on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com.

Most people had no idea why Sharon Stone, one of the most legendary and celebrated stars of her generation, seemed to have disappeared from the public eye. Around the early 2000s, there was a sudden dropoff in major movies starring the 59-year-old Casino and Basic Instinct actress. Then she revealed that, in 2001, she had suffered a stroke and subsequent cerebral hemorrhage, which impaired her ability to walk, talk, read, and therefore, do her job. But she was lucky just to survive.

“Funnily enough, a guy came up to me when I was having lunch today and said that he wanted to introduce himself because he’d had the same thing, and he never meets anyone who’s had it or that he could talk about it with,” Stone says of her condition from her Beverly Hills home. “It was very moving for me because there’s such a tiny group of us that have had it and lived.”

She’s done quite a bit more than live. Stone has rebounded into the mainstream with HBO’s 2018 series Mosaic, directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Magic Mike), which she calls “my little coming-out party.” The electric, complex, and sometimes baffling murder mystery doubles as an app in which users can decide how to view the narrative. In a role Soderbergh specifically wanted her to play, Stone portrays the dead woman, who is a famous children’s book author and illustrator. Flashbacks fill in what happened. Stone brings her trademark acerbic wit to the role, which contrasted against her otherworldly beauty and warmth, makes her difficult to read. “I like characters that are sort of double-edged like that,” Stone says. “I like playing complicated people.”

She’s long proven that she, too, has many dimensions beyond her status as a bombshell. She speaks proudly of Planet Hope, the charity she founded over 25 years ago with her sister Kelly, that helps homeless and abused women and their families “find their way onto their feet and back into the system.” It’s an “enormous issue” right now, she adds.

At the 2018 Golden Globes, she wore black in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement, which in the wake of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein aims to combat sexual harassment in Hollywood. During a recent interview with CBS News, Stone literally cackled for several seconds when asked if she had ever faced uncomfortable working situations with men. After 40 years in the business, she replied, she had “seen it all.” The moment went viral online, as many other women identified with her response. Stone remains steadfastly optimistic, however, about the future treatment of women rising in their careers. “I feel certain that things will change,” she offers, “because I feel certain that people are going to understand if they don’t change, they’ll lose their jobs.”

Given everything she’s fought for and how far she’s come, it seems only fair to call Stone a hero. But she deflects when asked about the label being used to describe her. “That Alicia Keys song ‘Superwoman’ is like my theme song, and I feel it’s a theme song of millions of working women who get up every day and try to keep it together,” she says. “Those women are my heroes. And I feel like if we can be heroes together, then we’re going to make this world a better place.”

ILLUSTRATION BY ALEXANDRA COMPAIN-TISSIER

'MOSAIC' IS CURRENTLY ON HBO; THE APP IS AVAILABLE ON THE APP STORE

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