Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

On The Late Show, Emma Thompson contemplates an alternate future as Donald Trump's First Lady

Emma Thompson, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

It’s hard to imagine that Late Show host Stephen Colbert and Oscar-winning writer, actress, and walking universal exemplar Emma Thompson had never met before last night’s show. For one thing, accepting Colbert’s hand in greeting on her way from backstage, Thompson joined Colbert in an extended dance number, nimble-footedly grooving to bandleader Jon Batiste’s swinging version of Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah I Love Her So.” Maybe that’s just how Emma Thompson affects everybody, but the host and guest sat down for a predictably charming chat about everything from her new movie The Children Act to her time doing Victorian penis sketch comedy alongside old Cambridge pals Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, to that time that she turned down the romantic attentions of some “tacky property owner” named Trump.

And while its a story she’s told before, Thompson shared with Colbert the sheer strangeness of her telephone encounter with the pre-Apprentice, pre-ruining the country Trump. For one thing, the on-the-make (and then-married) Trump tracked her down on the landline in her trailer on a movie set, which she wasn’t even sure was a working number. And, for another, said movie was 1998's Primary Colors, where Thompson was playing, for all intents and purposes, Hillary Clinton. Colbert speculated that that casts Trump’s eventual, creepy stage-looming attacks on candidate Clinton in a whole new Fatal Attraction light it’s best not to think about.


Thompson joked about missing out on being the First Lady of the United States—where her chief pleasure, she claimed, would being the chance to fuck with Trump’s daintily tended hair-sculpture—even if she couldn’t help but let the implications of being yet another Trump wife play in goofy horror across her face. “I don’t know—he’s weird,” she confided to Colbert who, perhaps sensing that his guest needed a stiff drink after dredging up that memory, busted open his secret bar. Talking about Trump’s conservatively patriarchal Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for a bit (who yesterday called contraception “abortion-inducing drugs,” if you need to know that weirdo’s whole deal), the pair drank a toast like old friends. Again, that might just be the warm feeling Emma Thompson leaves with everyone she meets. Or perhaps, as her story shows, she’s just judicious in her choice of drinking companions.

Share This Story

About the author

Dennis Perkins

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