Monday, January 21, 2013

A Short Story About Sharon Stone and Wes Craven

I ended up on the Wikipedia page for Wes Craven today as a result of one of those aimless Wiki-walkabouts that teach you stuff you didn’t need to know. I got to this page wholly independently of the previous entry here on Craven collaborator Kevin Williamson, but this little nothing fits in well with that Williamson-style pop culture mishmash narrative.

wes craven, john milton, sharon stone now, mimi craven then
Craven has been married three times, first to Bonnie Broecker — mother to Jessica Craven, who formerly sang with The Chapin Sisters — and after that to Mimi Craven. This actress is probably most familiar to Wes Craven fans for roles in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Swamp Thing and to non-Craven fans for playing Russell Dalrymple’s bored, beautiful date on the Seinfeld episode “The Watch.” Mimi and Wes Craven divorced in 1987.

According to Wikipedia, director Jos Eszterhas’s 2001 book American Rhapsody alleges that the Cravens divorced as a result of Mimi’s affair with Sharon Stone, whom Craven directed in the 1981 film Deadly Blessing, and that Stone sent Wes Craven a bouquet of black roses upon the finalization of the split. That’s quite a story, and I’m kind of surprised I’d never heard it before. Though Wikipedia says that Wes Craven has never remarked about the lesbian affair rumors, he does edge around the topic in a 2011 interview with the New York Times. Upon being asked whether his marriage ended because his wife had an affair with Sharon Stone, Craven says this:
The marriage did not end for that reason. Sharon and Mimi had a very close friendship for many years. And dead black roses were sent to me. I called my ex-wife and asked her if she had done it. She didn’t exactly say she had but did say the reason that I deserved them was because I had once referred to her as a stewardess rather than a flight attendant. It’s as absurd as that.
Craven also adds that the black roses “might have been Sharon’s idea, but that would only be speculation.”

And I suppose that’s as classy a way you can answer a rather awkward question like this one. But here’s a thing that occurred to me, a guy who’s seen Wes Craven’s Scream, like, a million times: Regardless of whether the affair rumor is true or who sent Wes Craven black rose, Scream mentions Sharon Stone repeatedly. Even in a script that makes a point of packing in the highest possible number of pop culture references per page, Stone comes up more often than other celebrities. First, Tatum argues that the killer could easily be female, using Basic Instinct as evidence. Second, Gale Weathers mentions that instead of reporting from Woodsboro, she should “be in New York, covering the Sharon Stone stalker.” And finally when Sidney learns the motive behind the murders — her mom had an affair with her boyfriend’s dad, thus ending their marriage — the killer explains, “That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or something.” (Cue Matthew Lillard’s character, doing some impression I’ve never been able to place: “Let’s face it, Sidney: You mother was no Sharon Stone.”)

Now, I realize that Kevin Williamson wrote the script to Scream, not Wes Craven, but the director is still responsible for the whole movie. And if you’re constructing a narrative about some bad blood between Wes Craven and Sharon Stone — existing either because she stole his wife or because she’s simply his ex-wife’s buddy (non-sexual sense) — and how this blood leaks out in a way the general public gets to see, these Scream references make for interesting footnotes. If he wanted to, Craven could have said, “By the way, can we make these Sharon Stone references into Demi Moore references? Long story.”

I feel like it’s also worth mentioning that the catalyst for the whole Scream series — and for everyone from Drew Barrymore to Emma Roberts getting bumped off onscreen — is a nasty relationship between a director and a would-be actress. At the end of the third movie, you find out that things went south for Sidney’s mom following ambiguous badness between her and John Milton, a horror movie director who serves as a stand-in for Craven himself, though not in any awful sex crime ways. Obviously, I can’t say on my own what it means or if it means anything, but it makes for an interesting parallel for the life of a director best-known for a series of movies about Hollywood, actors and the give-and-take between movies and real life.

In conclusion, I would like to point out that Googling around to write this also landed me on this page, which Sharon Stone can never, ever see.

(Image sources: Wes Craven, John Milton, Mimi Craven, Sharon Stone.)

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