Stone's unlikely take on co-star Collymore

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Stan Collymore, the mercurial former England striker, has been called many things. He was branded one of the "Spice Boys" - that underachieving lad cum professional footballer - and was then engulfed in scandals ranging from beating up his girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson and indulging with fellow "doggers" in car-park sex.

But through all the scandals Collymore has harboured the sort of star potential that could make him big in Hollywood, at least according to Sharon Stone.

In her A-list opinion, Collymore, who stars with her in the sequel to the erotic thriller Basic Instinct, is "lovely", "chivalrous" and "charming". "There's no one I would have felt safer with than Stan," she added - a view unlikely to be shared by Ms Jonsson.

Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction, which premiered in Leicester Square last night, includes a dubious case of art imitating life. The opening scenes feature the leading couple having sex in a car - which then plunges into the river Thames.

The pair performed their own stunts and Stone revealed that Collymore came to the rescue when her stiletto got jammed in the floor as she tried to escape from the submerged vehicle. "Working with Stan was extraordinary" said Stone, 48. "He is the loveliest, most chivalrous, most charming and most professional person. And because of that, when this incident happened, I felt really confident that we would get out of it."

"I've done a lot of stunts in movies and I have never done anything that was as difficult or demanding as this sequence.

"It was physically very difficult to be underwater for so long and it's also really daunting to have that drowning effect over and over again, it's psychologically very oppressive.

"You can't do that unless you are partnering someone you really trust. We built a really solid bond of trust.

"We were each other's life support to make that scene work and to survive what was a really dangerous stunt. There's no one I would have felt safer with than Stan."

Collymore, 35, retired from top-flight football five years ago. At his peak, his speed and skill earned him a multimillion-pound move to Liverpool and international honours but his self-confessed mental frailty meant he never fulfilled his potential. At least his foray into film comes with lower expectations - not very many former footballers have achieved much in terms of enduring success on the big screen.