Sharon Stone On Brain Damage, Body Confidence, Role In ‘Running Wild’

Sharon Stone is a woman who knows what it feels like to backslide from the top of it all.

The 57-year-old actress, who reached the peak of her acting career in the 1990s after starring in movies such as Basic Instinct and Martin Scorsese‘s Casino (for which she was nominated for an Academy Award), Sharon Stone suddenly found herself way down the pecking order after being diagnosed with a nearly-deadly case of cerebral hemorrhage in 2001.

In fact, Sharon Stone had to make do with lesser roles — like a limited guest run on the 11th season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2010 — at a time when her peers were making waves in Hollywood. The situation, in part to do with the aneurysm she suffered, was also to do with the breakdown of her personal life. Sharon Stone’s marriage to journalist Phil Bronstein fell apart, and she lost custody of her son, Roan. But even in the darkest of times, the actress never lost track of what she had to do.

Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar, Sharon Stone opened up about the struggles she faced following the years of her diagnosis.

“I thought, ‘You know what? I got thrown off the bullet train, and now I’m going to have to crawl up a hill of broken glass, get back on the train that’s going a million miles an hour, and work my way from the cattle car up. That’s just the way it is, so I’d better get humble and shut the f*** up and do the job. Because if I can’t do this job, I’m certainly not going to be able to do anything else.’ “

This is probably the first time the actress has been so candid about the aftereffects of her brain damage. Sharon Stone went on to confess that it took her a lot of time to even grasp the repercussions of her condition.

“I was hemorrhaging so much that my brain had been pushed into the front of my face. It took two years for my body just to absorb all the internal bleeding I had. It almost feels like my entire DNA changed. My brain isn’t sitting where it used to, my body type changed, and even my food allergies are different.”

She also began to realize the repercussions on the set. While shooting for Law & Order, Sharon Stone kept forgetting her lines — perhaps the most humiliating aspect in a professional actor’s career.

“That was humiliating. Having worked with the finest people in the industry, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really at the back of the line here. I’m wearing L’eggs panty hose, and in makeup they start out by putting this white primer on my face.’ I’m like, ‘This is so bad. What did I do to deserve this?’ “

But then, there were some positives to be had too. Sharon Stone admits that she’s a much stronger person now, thanks to her hemorrhage.

“I became more emotionally intelligent. I chose to work very hard to open up other parts of my mind. Now I’m stronger. And I can be abrasively direct. That scares people, but I think that’s not my problem.”

Even after wowing the world with her photoshoot, there is a sense of modesty about Sharon Stone which is difficult to ignore. Her ailment has not only changed the way she looks at herself, but the way she looks at the world too.

“I’m aware that my ass looks like a bag of flapjacks but I’m not trying to be the best-looking broad in the world. At a certain point you start asking yourself, ‘What really is sexy?’ It’s not just the elevation of your boobs. It’s being present and having fun and liking yourself enough to like the person that’s with you. If I believed that sexy was trying to be who I was when I did Basic Instinct, then we’d all be having a hard day today.’ “

Now Sharon Stone is back to what she does best — having bagged the role of the villain in Running Wild, a horse drama about a widow who saves her ranch by working with convicts, according to Variety. The movie is set to be directed by Alex Ranarivelo (The Wrong Side of Right) from a script by Christina Moore and Brian Rudnick, and is produced by Forrest Lucas and Ali Afshar’s newly-launched ESX Entertainment.

[Photo: Sean Gallup, Jason Kempin / Getty Images]