There was no shortage of guest appearances during the Aubrey Plaza–hosted Jan. 21 episode of “Saturday Night Live” — Amy Poehler, Allison Williams, Joe Biden, the Property Brothers, and Tony Hawk appeared over the course of the show — but the award for most surprising guest appearance of them all goes to Sharon Stone. Midway through the episode, Stone appeared lounging on a golden bed in front of Sam Smith and a choir as they performed the title song from Smith’s new album, “Gloria.” Near the end of the song, the actor sat up and dramatically stared into the camera.
At once strange and perfect, the moment may have left some “SNL” fans puzzled as to why Stone was chosen for this bit of performance art. But if you delve into her back catalog of films, it quickly becomes clear why Smith chose her. In 1999, the Golden Globe winner starred in the Sidney Lumet–directed “Gloria,” which was a remake of the 1988 John Cassavetes’s film of the same name. In both cases, it’s a neo-noir film about the girlfriend of a criminal who finds herself taking care of a kid, despite her assertion that she has no interest in being a mother.
For their part, Smith explained the meaning behind the title of the song and album during a November 2022 appearance on BBC Two’s “Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers.” “There’s a fighter voice in all of us, and you’ve just got to look after that,” they said. “My album ‘Gloria,’ I’ve called it Gloria because I’ve called that voice inside me Gloria, it’s like a voice in my head that just says, ‘You can do it.’ And kids have just got to access that voice and feed it.”
In addition to her role in Smith’s ethereal “Gloria” performance, Stone also popped up in a noir sketch with Plaza in which they played a mother and daughter fighting over a (much) older man. Meanwhile, for their first performance of the evening, Smith performed “Unholy” with Kim Petras, who emerged from beneath their voluminous pink dress. Check out Smith’s rendition of “Unholy” below.