Actress Sharon Stone talks about her return to TV as a seductive author
A story of seduction, murder, mystery and drama surely has actress Sharon Stone written all over it (remember Basic Instinct?). Mosaic, too, is not very different. This murder mystery by Steven Soderbergh (Oceans trilogy, Magic Mike), published via HBO, was released in two forms — as an iOS/Android app (that allowed the user to view the story from different perspectives) in 2017, and as a six-episode TV miniseries in January 2018.
The story of follows the murder of a children’s book author, Olivia Lake, played by Sharon Stone, who brings all her signature charisma into the character. Mosaic also stars Garrett Hedlund (of Troy, Tron: Legacy fame), who plays Joel Hurley, an aspiring artist who lives on Olivia’s property, and the prime suspect in her murder; and Fred Weller (The Good Wife, In Plain Sight) who portrays Eric Neil, a con man who poses as a suitor to Olivia; in lead roles. We chat with Sharon Stone and Garrett Hedlund, who tell us about their characters, performing a wedding in the middle of their shoot schedule and dealing with their own personal struggles.
Sharon, what was it about this show and this role that made you think this would be a good re-entry into acting?
Sharon Stone: If Steven Soder-bergh had asked me to come and read the phone book I’d probably do it. But I feel really lucky that he asked me to do something that was so personal, raw and revealing. Frankly, I’ve been through hell and I had a lot to offer. It was great to be able to bring all of that compassion and insecurity to the screen.
Were you nervous about coming back after so long?
SS: Well, I lost my short and long-term memory when I had a stroke, and it took me a long time to recover. I had a photographic memory before. As I started to get it back, I didn’t have my old acting process. I mean, I was such a hotshot. I was just like, ‘Let’s go.’ And then, now, I am like, ‘I don’t have a plan, I don’t have a process, and I don’t know what I’m doing.’ It was just a whole different thing, and it was fantastic to bring all of that and to play a character in which I didn’t have to hide any of it.
Tell us about your character.
SS: I think she’s frozen. She’s really like that environment that she’s in — frigid. That’s like a reflection of her internal space. She’s a little bit in a weird pristine frozen space.
Garrett Hedlund: Purgatory...
SS: Yes. She’s just stuck. She’s frozen in that place and sort of disintegrating — almost watching her own life.
Did you relate to that?
SS: Well, actor Rob Reiner said something great to me one time — ‘You don’t have to be in pain to be an actor, but you have to have been in pain.’ Going through all that I went through, I certainly hope that it has improved my work. I think that growing older changes your reality.
GH: Before you went through all that, you were probably trying to act, or trying to do something. Then you realised that something happened within your whole inner self — that when you’ve been through stuff, you don’t have to try to show somebody — all you have to be is simply ‘you’ and it kind of pours out that way.
SS: That is so true. It’s at this point that acting is not my hardest thing. Acting is something that
Writer Ed Solomon, we hear, wrote pages from every angle, but then only gave each of you your own. Did that make for a very different experience than you’ve had before?
GH: Of course. One unlike I’d ever had. I was always intrigued. You’d hear that Clint Eastwood does one or two takes and that’s it. In this particular situation, we were given our script the week before, so we had minimal time to learn and realise who we were playing and what we were in the whole scheme of this story. So it was interesting to just pick up and go, and not overthink everything, and be working with somebody that has so much trust in who he cast. It wasn’t like there were a lot of rehearsals.
SS: He (Solomon) has a lot of confidence, and inspires a tremendous amount of confidence in you.
Garrett, have you looked at the app version of the show?
GH: Yes. I’m so un-tech-savvy that the iPhone I watched it on was cracked and I still got through the whole thing! (laughs) But, I was very excited about it. For an un-tech-savvy person, I end up doing very techy projects. I mean, I did Tron. I’d seen what that could be. When I was told that this project was going to be some crazy algorithm of branching narrative, and when I saw the spider web graph of what it was to be, I wanted to be a part of it. I’m not afraid to step in new grounds, even if it's not me in my inner self. I just want to learn and experience every new facet and you walk off and you feel stronger for that. It gives you more confidence and that’s infectious.
Ed seems incredible...
SS: He’s just a wonderful human being. In the middle of making the show, he called me up and he said, ‘I’m getting my minister’s licence because I’m going to marry this guy who’s on our show — his boyfriend’s coming out and I’m going to perform the wedding.’ I’m said, ‘Oh, you know, I’m a minister.’ He’s like, ‘Will you help me with this?’ So we ended up doing a wedding ceremony, and the families came in. That made us all even closer still. We had this interesting whole other part of our relationship and that was beautiful.
Mosaic will air as part of the Best of 2018 Binge this weekend, December 1 and 2 from 11 am onwards on Star World.