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Movie Villain Monday: Katherine Tramell - Basic Instinct (1992)

It’s Movie Villain Monday and today’s villain was suggested on the Facebook page.

It’s Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct (1992).

It’s nice to have a female villain this week. So far Mondays have been dominated by male bad guys (with the exception of Maleficent from week three).

Since she was never actually convicted though, and with the ending of the movie so ambiguous, is it technically correct to call her a villain...? 🤔

Either way...

Who is Catherine Tramell?

Catherine Tramell is the main antagonist in Paul Verhoeven’s acclaimed psychological thriller, Basic Instinct. She was played by Sharon Stone.


Successful crime novelist Catherine Tramell becomes the prime suspect in an investigation into the violent murder of a washed up rock musician.

The weapon used in the murder was an ice pick, the same as in Tramell’s latest novel. She’s later linked to a string of other murders throughout the film.

Personality and Characteristics:

Cold, calculated, intelligent and wildly seductive, she’s manipulative and uses sex to her advantage.


As with a lot of famous actors and their career defining roles, Sharon Stone almost didn’t get the part. She was actually thinking of giving up acting to study law when she was finally offered the role. In fact she only got it after a number of other actresses had turned it down.

Michael Douglas who plays Detective Nick Curran, the male lead in the film wanted a more established star to play the character. He suggested Demi Moore or Michelle Pfeiffer, but no actress of any stature was willing to go totally nude for the role.

Director, Paul Verhoeven had worked with Stone two years earlier on Total Recall (1990) and liked her screen test.

Undoubtedly the most iconic moment in the film is the famous leg crossing scene during Catherine Tramell’s interrogation.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, for a split second you get to see Sharon Stone’😳

In a 2006 interview, she alleged that she had no idea that this shot would be filmed let alone make it into the movie. She said that the director had asked her to remove her white underwear as it was reflecting light, and that the fact she wasn’t wearing underwear would only be alluded to and not shown. She claims that she slapped Verhoeven in the face when she realised it had been put in the film during a test screening, but Verhoeven strongly denies this and says she was fully aware of his intentions.

According to a poll conducted for LoveFilm the scene is the most paused “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment in a movie. I wonder why....?

Basic Instinct made Sharon Stone an overnight success and she’s gone on to appear in many other movies such as The Specialist (1994), Casino (1995) and Basic Instinct 2 (2006). She was the only star from the original film to return.

“I’d have to be pretty stupid to write a book about killing and then kill somebody the way I described it in my book. I’d be announcing myself as the killer. I’m not stupid”

Who should I feature next week? 🤔


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