As Harvey Weinstein was closing the distribution deal for "Lovelace" at this year's Sundance Film Festival, he was asked by one of the film's representatives whether he would be doing awards campaigns for three of the film's stars, Amanda Seyfried (who plays Linda Lovelace), Peter Sarsgaard (who plays her husband, Chick Traynor) and Sharon Stone (who plays Linda's mother, Dorothy Boreman).
What? Sharon Stone is in the movie? Weinstein asked, incredulous. I had no idea.
Stone and Seyfried swear the story is true, and Stone takes it as the ultimate acting compliment.
Wearing a matronly wig, some rather unflattering 1970s wardrobes and scant wrinkle-reducing makeup, Stone in "Lovelace" looks nothing like her appearances in "Casino," "Basic Instinct" and "Total Recall."
"It's kind of great," Stone said about someone as well-versed in movies as Weinstein not noticing that she was in the film. "I was so into the role that I was unrecognizable."
Opening Friday, "Lovelace" depicts two versions of the porn star's participation in "Deep Throat," the adult film that made her famous and brought pornography from the peep shows into the mainstream.
In the first look at her life, the film suggests that Lovelace was a willing participant in the X-rated action. In the film's second half, however, directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman show Lovelace as a battered wife under the violent control of Traynor, who forced her to perform sex acts on camera.
Stone plays a parent whose motherly advice couldn't be worse for her daughter, who is trying to escape her marriage to Traynor. She basically tells her: He's your husband, go be his wife.
Stone defended her characater's actions, arguing that she was in some ways representative of the priorities of the times.
"There's a value to getting the meal on the table every night, and there's a value to being an old-school kind of parent," Stone said. "But like the audience [for 'Deep Throat'] who didn't know what was really going on, she didn't know what was really going on."
The actress was gratified that Epstein and Friedman ditched the film's original ending, when Lovelace, who remarried and was known as Linda Marchiano, was active in anti-pornography campaigns. Instead, the filmmakers shot a new ending, where Linda and her mother were reconciled.
"I thought it was nice they brought that reconcilaition to the screen," Stone said.
By some measure, Stone's "Basic Instinct" in 1992 made films like the sometimes explicit but R-rated "Lovelace" possible, Stone said.
"When I did it, it was so new -- it was a real barrier-breaker. Those kind of films had not been made," Stone said of the sexually charged thriller, which had a famously provocative shot of Stone. "Now it's not at all unusual for female sexuality to be considered in mainstream films."
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