Stephen Colbert welcomed multiple Oscar nominee Naomi Watts onto Friday’s Late Show by introducing her as a “scream queen.” And while that designation is more likely to bring to mind the reliably imperiled likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, the late Marilyn Burns, or, if you’re in a Troma mood, Debbie Rochon, Watts conceded that she’s done a fair amount of terrified shrieking in her day. Watts’ unofficial scream queen cred count includes both Ring movies, Dream House (barely), Mulholland Drive, the Funny Games remake, The Shaft, and don’t sleep on Children Of The Corn: The Gathering. (A.k.a. Children Of The Corn 4.) Plus, she did take over the mantle of “hollering your head off because a giant gorilla is in love with you” queen from all-time screamer Fay Wray, so we’ll allow it.
Colbert, technically helping Watts promote her new film Ophelia (Hamlet told from the unfortunate title character’s POV), and the upcoming Showtime miniseries about the sexual harassment slime pit that was/is Fox News, The Loudest Voice (Watts plays Gretchen Carlson), couldn’t help but prod Watts into a demonstration. To be fair, the acclaimed actress was game as hell, first probing Colbert for details on just what it was she was being terrified by (screaming skull in bathroom mirror), and then letting loose with the sort of impeccably glass-shattering scream that leaves moviegoers agape in sympathy fear. “I really want that to be my ringtone now,” claimed the taken-aback Colbert.
On the subject of things that “make your skin crawl just to watch,” according to Watts, the actress called her portrayal of the Fox-propaganda-complicit but undeniably mistreated Carlson a portrait of a woman finally fed up with the culture of harassment at the network. (And the clip, in which Russell Crowe, appropriately slug-like as deceased and disgraced Fox News head Roger Ailes, caps off a business conversation by dragging his pudgy paw over Watt’s Carlson’s face, is, indeed, the stuff nightmares are made of.) Moving on from that horror, Colbert risked getting screamed at himself by pressing the tight-lipped Watts for details about HBO’s top secret Game Of Thrones prequel, in which the actress may or may not play a central role. (She totally is, but will no doubt be sued to dragon-cinders should she talk about it.)