Someone had better pull Sharon Stone off the Stairmaster: Word has it that the planned sequel to her 1992 thriller, Basic Instinct, may be hitting the deep freeze.
Both Variety and the New York Daily News claim that Basic Instinct 2, which would feature Stone reprising her role as steely-hearted murder suspect Catherine Trammell, could be shelved due to difficulty in finding a suitable male lead.
The MGM film was set to begin filming in New York in either February or March. Stone has apparently been hitting the gym to get in shape for the part, which is rumored to be worth $15 million — her biggest paycheck yet.
Unnamed sources at MGM told Variety that the studio is confident that a sequel will come to fruition. But the trade paper also said those sources warned that the entire roster could be shuffled, including Stone.
The star's manager, Chuck Binder, said Stone very much wants the film to move forward. "Sharon is ready, willing, and able to play the role," Binder told Variety. "She is in shape, she loves the screenplay, and wants to make the movie. Basic Instinct is a huge part of her career, and she has really been looking forward to reprising the role."
Stone's rep echoed Binder's comments to the Daily News. "As far as I know," Cindi Berger stated, "Sharon has a deal to make this picture. She is currently away training for the movie. She's excited about it and ready to start filming."
In November, edgy Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg signed on to lens the sequel. He declined to comment on the film's status.
Though Stone signed on to the project back in June, BI2 has had previous difficulty in getting the original cast and crew to rally around the next chapter. BI's male star, Michael Douglas, rejected the idea of returning, as did screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.
Last August, original BI director Paul Verhoeven told Empire Online that he had "many, many doubts" about the project, adding that in addition to script considerations, he was concerned about the challenge of answering the $117 million-grossing original, which created an international sensation in 1992 and launched Stone to stardom.