Sharon Stone shared the best advice she's received in her acting career from "Paul Verhoeven and Martin Scorsese.
Paul Verhoven told me that my talent was like an angel that would fly through me and that I needed to get out of its way," said Stone of the director, who shaped her performance in 1992's Basic Instinct. "And I think that that was very good advice."
She went on to name Martin Scorsese, referring to him as "Marty." She said, "And Marty Scorsese very much was also — they were willing to tell me about their own lives, and they were willing to create a space with me where they would lean in and sometimes put their forehead on my forehead, both of them, and just hold the space around me so that I would have a space to be."
Scorsese directed Stone in 1995's Casino, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.
Stone described a typical film set as "a very chaotic environment," explaining that there isn’t really a quiet space for actors. "Its just mayhem," said Stone. She then impersonated an assistant director: 'All right everybody, silence, we’re rolling!' And then everybody quiets down. And then seconds, action. So you have to prepare in the middle of a chaotic environment."
The actress emphasized her appreciation of a director who will "literally put their mind to your mind and look at you and talk to you and really get in there with you, those are the most helpful to me." She went on to reference several roles on set, the lighting crew, sound crew and carpenters — who she emphasized are all hard at work in their own way. "But you – you’re bringing emotion. You’re bringing this thing out of yourself."
Stone said that many people don’t understand what that actually takes, "or that you have to have a small, protected space to do that."
Continuing that train of thought, Stone explained that many people on the set "are trying to get so much else from you while you’re doing that, that you almost feel like you’re going to snap, you know. And you’re criticized if you do snap. So, someone who will protect you while you’re working is a very big deal."