Paul Verhoeven Reflects On The Most Shocking Scene In Basic Instinct

Paul Verhoeven loves talking about sex. Or, at the very least, he loves talking about his sex. I don't mean the kind he may or may not have in his own personal time, I don't know Verhoeven like that. I mean the sex in his movies. Sex that's laced with danger or sleaze or in the case of his latest movie, "Benedetta," sacrilege. Verhoeven hasn't pulled any punches when depicting sex in his slick Hollywood features or his European arthouse flicks, but despite Verhoeven's career-long dedication to sex, he's still fighting for its merit. In fact, he sees himself as a dying breed. One of the last few sexy directors, going the sexy way of the sexy dinosaurs.

In an interview with The Times of London, Verhoeven lays in on the state of sex in films and his own issues with censorship. Stating rather matter of factly: "Sex is the essence of existence! Without it, there are no species any more. So why is that a big secret? There is a new purity."

That quote sets the stage for a fun ride through Verhoeven's sexy career of sexy films, but when you're talking to the sex master, one film obviously stands out among the rest: "Basic Instinct." Starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, who play a sexy murder suspect and a sexy detective, respectively, the movie grossed $352 million worldwide and was the biggest movie of March 1992. It's a movie that's both famous and infamous, well regarded for its A-list casting while also being heartily criticized for both its homophobia and its date rape scene.

Does sex still sell?

And, you know, there's also the scene where you can see Stone's vagina, which has had a longer life than the rest of "Basic Instinct." The scene was also, according to Stone's memoir, shot without her express consent, although she did allow it to stay in the movie. The scene where Stone uncrosses her legs has been parodied widely, from "The Simpsons," to "SNL" to "WWE," it still lingers in the pop culture hive mind. Despite its lasting power, Verhoeven was surprised it made the cut then and definitely doesn't think it would make the cut now, saying in his interview with The Times, "We had no idea that shot, showing a little bit of vagina — not more than a stripe — would be a problem."

In fact, Verhoeven takes it a step further, saying, "Sexuality has been moved out of movies ... In the 1970s you could talk about it. But you arrive now, decades later, and those movies are not possible any more. It would be very difficult to make a film like 'Showgirls' or 'Basic Instinct' now."

Maybe that's true. Erotic thrillers might not hit like they used to in the peak of the "what if we did a movie about sex but it was also dark" days, but it's hard to unequivocally say that those themes aren't allowed anymore. It might not be a movie, but has Verhoeven had any time to catch up on "Euphoria"? He might just be surprised to see sex, the good, the bad, and the ugly, isn't completely dead.