The Basic Instinct to Sue

Sharon Stone is seeking $100 million in damages from two movie producers she claims backed out of an oral deal for her to star in "Basic Instinct II," the sequel to the actress' 1992 breakthrough film, in which she played a lethal seductress who shunned lingerie and had a thing for ice picks and Michael Douglas.

Stone's L.A. Superior Court suit names former Carolco producing partners Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar as defendants. There was no comment from a spokesman for Vajna and Kassar, best known for "Rambo: First Blood" and "Total Recall."

Stone asserts in court papers that the producers agreed to film the sequel in New York and Los Angeles by the end of last year. Stone's suit says she was to be paid $14 million in advance and receive 15% of the gross receipts. The agreement also gave her "customary" perks and the right to approve the script. Stone claims she gave up other film offers to focus on the project. She learned her lines, attended wardrobe and makeup sessions and even went to a spa to get in shape, she says. But the producers allegedly backed out in December, saying "they had no contract of any kind" with Stone. The Hollywood rumor mill has been buzzing for months about the ill-fated project. Douglas reportedly declined to participate and a string of actors and directors also passed on the project.

In other legal news, actress Linda Fiorentino says it was her refusal to play sex scenes and not diva-like demands that scuttled a film in which she was to play artist Georgia O'Keeffe opposite Ben Kingsley. Fiorentino filed legal papers responding to a suit by the German production company Art Oko Film, which accused the actress of sabotaging the project. She also countersued for defamation, fraud and breach of contract.

Fiorentino claims the producers "surreptitiously" altered the script, inserting sex scenes "emphasizing full frontal nudity" in violation of her contract. She also accused them of trashing her when the project fell apart. "The accusations made against me are abhorrent," Fiorentino said.

Current Events

What's it all about, Alfre? Politics, that's what. And the political landscape looks pretty bleak, Alfre Woodard said by phone Wednesday. "I feel sad today," the actress told us, heaving sighs. The local candidates she backed, Antonio Villaraigosa and Tom Hayden, both lost in Tuesday's election. And, "Oh, my goodness, George W. Bush is sitting in the White House," she groaned.

The Oklahoma native then spoke nonstop for more than an hour about issues such as poverty, schools, crime, sweatshops, the minimum wage, clean water, the bus drivers' union and the flight of movie productions to Canada. She sounded a lot like somebody who could run for public office.

"This is just a time to regroup," Woodard said. "I have a lot of colleagues who are politically and socially active. Instead of lying around being beautiful, they actually try to make a difference." She vowed to keep the political passion burning. On Sunday, she joins like-minded stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon at a Liberty Hill Foundation fund-raiser at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Meanwhile, we hear that Paul McCartney will play with Paul Simon at an Adopt-a-Minefield benefit next week at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It's believed to be the first-ever public performance by the two Pauls.

Boxers or Briefs?

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who on Thursday was swept into office for a second term, gave two female journalists a cheap thrill as he changed shirts recently on the campaign trail: The women got a glimpse of Blair's underwear. No thongs or tighty whiteys for this Labor Party leader. We are happy to report that the prime minister is a Calvin Klein boxers man.

"They were of the jazzy, modern sort, with a thick white band and lots of black designer writing. His chest is modestly muscular and, while not a Greek job, is certainly hairier than [opponent] William Hague's head," one of the unblushing, trained observers dished to London's Daily Mirror.

Quote, Unquote

"They're both leading very separate and very busy lives."

Who says this in July's "Vanity Fair" about whom? Is it:

A. Publicist Pat Kingsley, talking about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

B. Buckingham Palace, talking about Prince Philip and Prince Charles

C. Spokeswoman Julia Payne, talking about Bill and Hillary Clinton

D. Payne, talking about Bill Clinton and Al Gore

(The answer is D.)

City of Angles appears Tuesday through Friday. Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. E-mail:

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