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Helena Bonham Carter spills some delicious tea about her many co-stars on Stephen Colbert

Photo: Scot Kowalchyk (CBS)

Helena Bonham Carter, in her first visit to the Stephen Colbert iteration of The Late Show, came prepared. Knowing from past experience during David Letterman’s time in the Ed Sullivan Theater that that renowned TV palace is freaking freezing, she immediately draped herself in the velvet coat she’d prepared for the occasion. Colbert did his part, too, although his mid-interview gift of hot tea from a lovely little tea set seemed more about his guest’s current role as Princess Margaret in the third season of The Crown than an acknowledgement that he works in an apparent meat locker.

Still, the tea was also there to set up a second-segment bit in which Colbert, producing a stack of index cards, requested that Bonham Carter “spill the tea” on some of her past and present co-stars. After some initial misgivings, the actress proved all-in on the game, something that might have been divined from the way she treated Colbert’s impertinence in asking about the fact that her uncle Mark (later Baron) Bonham Carter might have, maybe, sort-of dated the actual Princess Margaret when the decorated military man was assigned to be her bodyguard after WWII. (He totally did, from what it sounds like.) Anyway, Bonham Carter, who claimed that her portrayal of the late Princess was based more on a sense of how a brilliant woman deprived of all control in her life could sometimes be something of a brilliantly clever jerk in her daily life, quickly dove into Colbert’s game with impeccably honest appraisals of the likes of Colin Firth, Daniel Radcliffe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Brad Pitt, Rihanna, and The Crown queen Olivia Coleman.

So who never shuts up? Who is “a goddess” whose every word, yet, Bonham Carter could never understand? Who was very obliging in holding her caffeinated beverages between takes? Who has tear ducts like no other human being on the planet? Who looks like he “swallowed the sun?” And who, in Bonham Carter’s estimation, “Needs attention, doesn’t he?” (Hint on that last one: Colbert shared a story of dining at George Clooney’s house, where said person showed up in lederhosen, carrying a 45-pound wheel of cheese.) Cheers.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.