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Nicky / March 14th, 2018 / No Comments

When Sharon Stone first received the screenplay for the romantic comedy that would become All I Wish, out in theaters March 30, the actress was asked to play the mother of the film’s 25-year-old protagonist.

Stone had another idea.

After sitting on the script for about a month, the actress called filmmaker Susan Walter with her pitch. “I said, ‘I think it would be more interesting if I play the daughter,” Stone told Vanity Fair by phone last week, sounding animated several days ahead of her 60th birthday, and months after receiving critical acclaim for her captivating performance in Steven Soderbergh’s Mosaic.

“I just didn’t feel that having a 25-year-old woman who didn’t have her life together was that perilous. The stakes would be so much higher, and it would feel more important when the protagonist’s mom gets sick if we are older, because this is what happens in real life. This is the stuff we all really have to deal with, and think about, and come to terms with. I just feel there’s so much more comedy in the truth.”

Walter agreed to cast Stone as Senna, All I Wish’s flighty, fedora-wearing protagonist, a struggling wardrobe stylist. In turn, Stone offered to help the first-time filmmaker produce and find financing for the film—which co-stars Ellen Burstyn (as Senna’s mother), Tony Goldwyn (as Senna’s love interest), and Famke Janssen (as Senna’s former employer). According to the production notes, Walter toyed with the idea of updating the script to make the character and plot details what she believed to be more age appropriate for Stone. But Stone wanted to show audiences that 50- and 60-year-olds aren’t all arthritic A.A.R.P.-commercial cautionary tales.

Explained Walter, “[Sharon’s] aware that what we see on the big screen can become our reality . . . Sharon said, ‘Don’t explain it. Just let these characters be vibrant and alive and sexy. Just do it!’ Show people in their fifties doing amazing things, she said, and audiences will subconsciously take that on. Just by seeing Sharon on-screen doing these things, feeling these feelings, falling in love, being who she is, audiences will feel that way too.”

This mission statement—perfectly on point for the equality-focused Time’s Up moment—explains why All I Wish features Stone’s Senna waking up from a one-night stand, kicking out her no-name suitor, and helping herself to a breakfast of hand-rolled cigarettes. Stone wasn’t just up for enacting what Walter had her 25-year-old protagonist doing on the page, though. The actress—who had been craving a full-on comedy since working with Albert Brooks on The Muse in the late 90s— wanted to push each scene further. While filming one of several scenes featuring Senna driving a scooter, Stone suggested that Senna actually push the scooter up a hill after it doesn’t start, for an added bit of comic relief. Rather than simply fall off a bed in one scene, Stone upped the physical-comedy ante to bang into a wall as well. The actress didn’t just mightily sink her teeth into a competitive beach-volleyball scene—she filmed it while wearing a string-bikini top and a fishtail braid, looking better than any twentysomething.

“These are things that we actually do as normal people,” Stone explained. “Women don’t always have to act like a princess who sits on a sofa, wears nine-inch heels, and acts like a viper.”

Though the romantic comedy comes (spoiler alert!) with a happy, romantic ending, All I Wish doesn’t preach some kind of soul-mate mythology to its audience. Stone doesn’t seem to have the stomach for that Hollywood-movie nonsense anymore, and knows viewers don’t either.

“I think as we get older, we don’t believe that everything comes from your partner. We believe that a partner is a piece of our life, but not the whole pie, and we don’t say ‘You complete me’ anymore. We come completed, and two completed souls come together in a partnership as equals. We’re not waiting for a man to come around and tell us, ‘Now you’re a full human being.’ We must each find our wholeness, and that wholeness is the greatest gift we have to give to another.”

Stone added that her co-star Burstyn brought that kind of mature, wholeness with her to set.

“When you work with Ellen Burstyn, it’s a full experience from the start. Before she ever even came to work, she sat down with Susan and said, ‘Here’s what I think is real and true about being a mother. Here’s what I think she really wants her daughter to know.’ She had really profound conversations with Susan, and Susan incorporated those thoughts into the script. She’s an actress who I’ve admired and respected and wanted to be like, because this is a woman who makes her own choices. She doesn’t pander. She does the work she thinks is valid. She’s modern all the time. She’s gorgeous and provocative and gentle and tough. I was absolutely out of my mind when she said that she wanted to do the part.”

Stone did not have much time on set with Burstyn, but she made what little she had count.

“I crawled right into that hospital bed with her. I was like, ‘Shove over.’”

This is not the first time Stone has rejected a so-called “appropriate” role being presented to her. During our conversation, Stone also recalled her final days with the late acting teacher Roy London. About two months before booking her star-making role in Basic Instinct, Stone got a call from London, telling her that she had graduated from class.

“I didn’t believe him. I didn’t think I earned it, for some reason. I was confused. He said, ‘You’ve played every female part. What else is there to do?’ I said, ‘I want to come back and play the men’s parts, because I still don’t get it.’”

Stone said that the acting teacher agreed to her suggestion.

“I came back the next session, and I did Glengarry Glen Ross. It went very, very, very well. I understood differently, because it wasn’t a part that was written for women in a way that didn’t make sense to me. It was a part that was written for men, so it was written really honestly. It was written in a way that made more sense to me, I think, and I did the part and it really resonated. I really understood what was happening, and I worked on it a couple weeks, and the second performance, the scene ended and the class was just silent. My teacher looked at me and said, ‘What have you learned?’”

“I said, ‘That I’m enough.’ He looked around at the rest of the class and he said, ‘Well, you’ve graduated, and class dismissed.’” [Source]



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Current Projects
Sunny (2018)
Sharon as Sunny
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Wealthy and glamorous Sunny radiates polished perfection, but beneath her sparkling society smile, Sunny is a drug kingpin, mob mistress and devoted single mother, who has an adrenaline-fueled 24 hours to clean up and get out of town before the local mob boss discovers her dysfunctional family's devastating secret.
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Mosaic (TV Series) (2018)
Sharon as Olivia Lake
Genre: Drama
A whodunit based on the murder of popular children's book author and illustrator Olivia Lake.
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What About Love (2018)
Sharon as Linda Tarlton
Genre: Drama
Two young lovers change the lives of their parents forever when the parents learn from the joyful experience of their kids, and allow themselves to again find their love.
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Founded in 1993 by sisters Kelly & Sharon Stone, Planet Hope is a non-profit 501(C) 3 organization that provides help to the homeless, abused, and terminally ill children.

Planet Hope Programs include: Summer Camp, Food and Warmth Resources, Emergency Referral Programs and Hope for the Holidays.

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