It looked innocent enough, but now we hear that the loving, open-handed greeting Sharon Stone bestowed Sunday night on BAFTA-nominated Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel had "cougar attack" written all over it.

Stone's assignment seemed simple enough: Present the evening's Best Picture award, naturally destined for Slumdog. But with neither a date nor a pioneering scientific theory to occupy her pre-show interview with the BBC, she instinctively courted a starstruck Patel's assistance. What happened next is open to interpretation, though British gossips report that the chaste Q&A belies the racier courtship that followed:

Stone, 50, reportedly dated 24-year-old Chase Dreyfus last year before their relationship cooled. And Stone proved she is keen on another young man - after the Basic Instinct star flirted with newcomer Patel, 18, on the red carpet at the prestigious film event.

He says, "Sharon's great, she's been flirting with me all night. She was chasing me around earlier, slapping me. Sharon Stone! Can you believe it?"

Dev. Buddy. Seriously. You're kidding, right?