"Once one is chosen, nobody else can get in there."

Olivia Harvey
Jun 23, 2021 @ 10:28 am
Sharon Stone
Credit: MICHAEL TRAN/AFP, Getty Images

A recent Zoomer interview with Sharon Stone seemingly slipped under the radar when it was first published in May. But a snippet from the interview, during which Stone laid into Zoomer writer Johanna Schneller for her phrasing of a question, went viral yesterday, June 22nd. Stone used the way Schneller asked a question to point out Hollywood's blatant act of pitting female stars against each other, and yeah, she's exactly right.

The interview was going as well as expected-Schneller picked questions based on information gleaned from Stone's new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice. But when Schneller went to touch upon Stone working with Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh's 2019 film The Laundromat, all hell broke loose, and for good reason.

"So when you finally got to work with Meryl Streep, you realized-" Schneller began before Stone cut in: "I like the way you phrase that, that I finally got to work with Meryl Streep. You didn't say, 'Meryl finally got to work with Sharon Stone.' Or we finally got to work together."

"Because that's the way her life went, she got built up to be, 'Everyone wants to work with Meryl,'" Stone said. "The way you structured the question is very much the answer to the question. The business was set up that we should all envy and admire Meryl because only Meryl got to be the good one. And everyone should compete against Meryl."

Stone continued, "I think Meryl is an amazingly wonderful woman and actress. But in my opinion, quite frankly, there are other actresses equally as talented as Meryl Streep. The whole Meryl Streep iconography is part of what Hollywood does to women. Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is. Emma Thompson. Judy Davis. Olivia Colman. Kate Winslet, for fuck's sake. But you say Meryl and everybody falls on the floor."

"That's how you're set up to ask the question. That's how we're set up to think," Stone said. "We all have to sit in our assigned seats. That phrasing has been taught. We've been taught that everybody doesn't get a seat at the table. Once one is chosen, nobody else can get in there."

Female actresses-especially those of the same race and/or in the same age range-have been ranked by both Hollywood executives and the press in order of importance and prestige. And once there's a No. 1, the narrative is written that everyone else is less-than when in reality, everyone within the industry is a No. 1 because each person brings something new to the table.

Every actress in Hollywood should feel lucky and honored that they get to work with one another because working with their peers is beneficial for all involved, including the audience. Ranking famous women is tiresome. Creating false feuds between actresses is boring. And watching Hollywood favor one actress over so many others is just outdated. Sharon Stone has a right to be angry, as do we all.