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The Stunts
The opening scene of Basic Instinct 2 is one of the most realistic and daring sequences in recent memory. Shot in and around London's famous Docklands area of Canary Wharf, to the east of the city, the production scored a major coup in securing the location. "Our locations department did a wonderful job,” says first assistant director for the second-unit Terry Bamber. "They fulfilled all our requests. It was a major achievement.”

The second-unit team is among the best the British film industry has to offer, having previously worked on several James Bond movies and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The opening sequence features Tramell and Kevin Franks driving at high speed in a Spyker Laviolette around Canary Wharf while having sex. The speed and tension builds, leading to a dangerous and exciting climax in which the car ends up crashing through a kiosk and plunging into the Thames River. "We covered the scene with eight cameras,” explains Bamber. "We would normally have done it in two parts, but we had limited time because it doesn't get dark till 10:30 p.m. and it's already light again by 4.30 a.m., so we had to shoot it in one. The wind was my main concern because it was too risky for the stunt man, Stevie Hamilton, to drive the car in windy conditions as it could have altered the car's trajectory.”

The art and construction departments started work at 6 a.m. to build the ramp for the major stunt. The weather held the entire team up and it took until midnight to execute it. The stunt involved the use of a cannon fire rig on a specially constructed ramp, so the car could be effectively launched like a rocket. Michael Caton-Jones: The Director's Cut

"The first time I read the screenplay for Basic Instinct 2, I was actually in Rwanda in the middle of filming Shooting Dogs,” says the film's director Michael Caton- Jones, "which was about genocide and very difficult to make. I was sitting in Kigali when this script turned up. It didn't have a cover page so I didn't actually know what it was. My agent just said, ‘You've got to read this and get back to me quickly.' I just thought it was a thriller. I didn't know it was Basic Instinct 2. I thought some of it was pretty good and it couldn't be further from what I was shooting in Africa at the time. So I thought a change would be good as a rest after this.”

Caton-Jones was also drawn to the "noir” aspects of the script and the fact that the only common thread between it and the first Basic Instinct was the character of Catherine Tramell. "I wanted to make something that was radically removed from the first one,” he says, "My aim was to make a stand-alone film. In so doing, I had to strike a balance between two extremes – give people exactly what they got the first time and making something that was so completely different that it had no relationship to the first one. It was a tricky balancing act, but I think it came off.”

Caton-Jones admired the first film. "It's well directed, that's for sure, but it was very much of its time. It was the early ‘90s and the hairstyles and what have you were of that period. It was certainly slick. It has transmuted over the years, into something that it wasn't at the time. It was originally a Michael Douglas vehicle. But since it's become the film that made Sharon Stone a movie star. So we had to deal with perceptions that have changed over the years to a certain extent. But there was no interest for me or anyone else involved in making the same film twice. There was a "noir” retro tone to the original. It was set in San Francisco. It was Hitchcockian, even down to the music score. I figured since the film-noir influence was there, I could do something similar in a European vein but with a slightly altered tone.”

The way he envisioned it, the new movie would be something of a hybrid, according to Caton-J

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