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Double cross In director's cut, Stone discusses 'Basic' controversy

What would make actress Sharon Stone so mad that she would slap a director across the face? Seeing her infamous leg (un)crossing during an interrogation scene from "Basic Instinct" for the first time in public and realizing just how much was revealed.

That's one of the morsels Stone shares in a new interview on "Basic Instinct: Ultimate Edition -- Director's Cut" ($19.98, Lionsgate). The actress says that she was "shocked and stunned" because director Paul Verhoeven had not told her all was revealed in the scene (she had been asked to remove her underwear because the material was reflecting the lights).

"I think that seeing it in a room full of strangers was disrespectful and shocking. I didn't know what to do, so I went into the booth and slapped [Verhoeven] and then left," she says.

Stone rose to fame in the erotic thriller as Catherine Tramell, an icy femme fatale -- and possible murderer -- who sets her sights on a detective played by Michael Douglas. This new unrated director's cut, released to coincide with the upcoming sequel, "Basic Instinct 2," includes extra footage of gratuitous violence from the opening death scene and of a lengthy sex scene between Stone and Douglas. (Note: This is at least the third release of "Basic Instinct" on home video, and each offers different extras and footage.)

Bonus features also include the commentaries and the documentary "Blond Poison: The Making of 'Basic Instinct' " where many are involved, including Verhoeven, director of photography Jan De Bont and composer Jerry Goldsmith. (Absent are Douglas and writer Joe Eszterhas.) Verhoeven and De Bont are, in fact, quite graphic in their discussion of the movie's sex scenes to the point that it becomes unsettling, especially as they discuss one segment that had been criticized for being date rape.

Verhoeven had trouble casting the part that eventually went to Stone, because he would have "no negotiations about nudity" in the movie. "You have to accept and do everything I want," he said.

Much of the original controversy and criticism surrounding "Basic Instinct" came from gay rights groups (one had somehow gotten a copy of the script before filming started). The documentary gives representatives, including Jonathan Katz, co-founder of Queer Nation, a chance to speak. Katz shares his concerns that the movie continued "a long line of lesbian psychotics in film."

It's funny that more than a decade later, the people involved with making "Basic Instinct" still give differing accounts of what the interrogation scene revealed ("Honestly, it was her thigh," says editor Frank Urioste; "It depends on if you're a man or a woman," laughs Verhoeven). And everyone has their own opinions of the ending. "To this day, I'm not sure that [Catherine] is the killer," says composer Goldsmith.

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All of the attention given to "Brokeback Mountain" overshadowed other roles in a very busy acting year for Jake Gyllenhaal. Two of those movies, "Jarhead" and "Prime," are now available on home video.

In "Jarhead" ($29.98; $39.98 for the collector's edition; Universal), Gyllenhaal takes on the title role of a young recruit that is based on the best-selling book by former Marine sniper Anthony Swofford.

Director Sam Mendes is very much involved in the many extras, including deleted scenes and feature commentaries.

The two-disc collector's edition also includes the "Jarhead" diaries, made by the actors who were given cameras to document what goes on "around the periphery of shooting," Mendes said, adding that the results were "very unexpected".

"Semper Fi: Life After the Corps" is a documentary that follows former U.S. Marines as they reintegrated into civilian life, and another featurette follows the lives of the real U.S. Marines who appeared as extras in the movies.

In "Proof" ($29.98, Buena Vista Home Entertainment), Gyllenhaal plays the former assistant to a brilliant mathematician (Anthony Hopkins) and love interest to his devoted daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) in director John Madden's fine film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play.

This is one to get solely to watch the movie, not the extras. The featurette, "From Stage to Screen: The Making of Proof," is fairly superficial and not very informative. "We've kept closely to the text of the play, but structured it differently," Madden says, without explanation.

The best quote is from Hopkins, who says he nearly missed making the movie. "I was thinking of giving up, I didn't want to work anymore, at least for a while," he says.

Extras also include deleted scenes and a commentary with Madden.

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Oh, the horrors

Tuesday's new releases include two offerings for horror fans.

*In "House of the Dead 2" ($26.98, Lionsgate), based on the Sega video game, a zombie infection takes over a university campus. Emmanuelle Vaugier ("Saw II") and Ed Quinn star. Extras include a commentary with director Mike Hurst and producer Mark A. Altman, a making-of feature and deleted scenes.

*"2001 Maniacs" ($26.98, Lionsgate) is a comic spoof on the camp classic by gore master Herschall Gorden Lewis. It stars old Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, in the story of a group of college students who take a detour (don't they always) and wind up at a barbecue in an old southern town. Guess what's on the menu?

Extras include commentary by Englund and director Tim Sullivan, a making-of featurette, outtakes, deleted and extended scenes and an alternate opening.

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If you were anticipating the launch of the HD-DVD format, you'll be waiting a little longer for movies to watch. Warner Home Video has delayed the release of its first high-definition DVD titles to April 18 when it will only release three movies, "Million Dollar Baby," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Seven Samurai."

At that date, it looks like Toshiba will still be the only company to have the HD-DVD players ready for consumers.

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Coming soon

Among the other DVD releases planned for Tuesday are: the Oscar-winning "Capote" (Sony); "Chicken Little" (Disney); "Derailed" (Weinstein); "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story" (DreamWorks); "The Dying Gaul" (Sony); "Fun With Dick and Jane" (Sony); and "The Squid and the Whale" (Sony).

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DVD Extra

The Cruise: This documentary, a cult hit for director Bennett Miller ("Capote"), follows Tim "Speed" Levitch, a legendary fast-talking Manhattan bus tour guide who hasn't had a permanent home since graduating from college in 1992. ($14.98, Lionsgate. Available now.)

e-mail: truberto@buffnews.com

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