Sharon Stone Is Larger Than Life as Olivia Lake
HBO: In a murder mystery that’s so much more than a “whodunnit,” what were you most intrigued about exploring in Mosaic?
Sharon Stone: I was interested in what having an honest belief in love can do. It’s something I’m interested in generally. Even though Olivia dies, you understand the love she gave could sort people out. They could choose to reach redemption and to honor the love.
HBO: Olivia Lake is more than the story’s victim. How did you approach playing the role?
Sharon Stone: I look at projects almost anatomically. What am I doing for this thing? Am I playing the brain? Am I playing the soul? Am I playing the legs, moving this thing along? What’s my job? I see Olivia Lake as the heart and soul of Mosaic. She’s really the love of the piece.
HBO: What does it mean to be “the love of the piece”?
Sharon Stone: Olivia works like love works. As a character, she believes that love is forgiving, and curative, and passion, and foolish, and, sometimes, embarrassed. But above all things, has faith in itself.
HBO: What was it like navigating a story where so much is subject to shifting perspectives?
Sharon Stone: Without reading the scripts for other characters, I had this understanding about the murder. There’s a scene between myself and the killer, and I felt we weren’t laying the scene down right. This was before we had shot the murder scene. There was something about the dynamic between us that I felt we had to show, which would explain why the murder took place.
I told Steven [Soderbergh], and he’s like, “I think you better call Ed [Solomon, the screenwriter].” I had this overwhelming instinct, and it was because love knows all things.
HBO: Garrett Hedlund talked about the allure of being part of a Steven Soderbergh production. What was your experience working with Soderbergh?
Sharon Stone: When I went to work on Mosaic, people said to me, “Steven doesn’t really talk. Don’t worry if he doesn’t direct you, don’t worry if he doesn’t say anything. If he just nods, that’s good” — we talked all the time.
We have a similar style of communicating. My friends make fun of me, because sometimes I’ll just write back “K.” I don’t feel like I need to absorb people’s lives with all my bullshit. And Steven’s like that. He will just stand up, look and make a slight motion, and something gets done. I really appreciate that.
HBO: Olivia also has some of the most distinctive dialogue in Mosaic.
Sharon Stone: That was probably my favorite thing about her. I think Ed wrote the most fantastic dialogue. He wrote the craziest things for me to say, and gave me the opportunity to play them any way I wanted to. Olivia could say the most brash things, and they could be a way to say, “I love you,” or “You’re hurting my feelings” — or anything. I thought that was really a tender gift. I love that he trusted me with all this crazy dialogue.
HBO: Is there a line in particular that stands out to you?
Sharon Stone: I mean, who says to their best friend, “You look like you took a shit on my carpet and wiped your ass on the drapes”? The subtext of it all is, “We’re the best of friends. What’s going on, honey?” It’s just so beautiful. Ed trusted me and knew that type of dialogue doesn’t freak me out. I understand it’s a beautiful intimacy between friends.
HBO: While Olivia is immensely successful professionally, she also carries around a huge amount of self-doubt and seems to have experienced a fair amount of heartbreak. What do you think she hoped to get out of life?
Sharon Stone: Olivia wants to be seen for herself. Not some idealization of herself, but just for herself. Accepted and loved for that very ordinary thing.
I think that’s what everyone wants. Also, only a very few people actually take the time to stop and actually see another person. They’re so absorbed with themselves. And I think she wants to be seen and accepted. Not viewed and consumed.