Stephen Colbert couldn’t quell the waterworks when Dame Helen Mirren read him poetry by Tennyson on the Late Show on Friday night.
Following a segment in which Mirren and Colbert discussed what makes them cry, the two sat down for a reading of one of the late-night host’s most reliable triggers for tears, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” (Mirren, for her part, said she couldn’t resist parades or weddings.)
Mirren performed a dramatic reading while Colbert looked visibly moved. At the end of the reading, Colbert said, “You got me.”
“Made me cry, too,” Mirren responded.
During Mirren’s interview with Colbert, she also dished on what it was like to work with some of Britain’s acting greats over the course of her career. Ben Kingsley, her co-star in As You Like It, was “very serious” and “very, very hardworking” but also funny. Patrick Stewart, whom she worked with on Two Gentlemen of Verona, was “very handsome. He always had a great body,” Mirren said, whispering the last part. When Colbert asked how she knew, she added, “In theater, darling, you’re often changing in the wings and stuff like that.”
As for Peter O’Toole, whom she met on the 1979 film Caligula, he was “very stoned.” Mirren explained. “He drank a lot before, it’s famous that he drank a lot, and then he had to give up alcohol because he was going to die if he drank anymore. So he went to dope, to cannabis. So, yes, but he was very smart, very funny, just wanted to tell long, long stories, you know.”
Watch the poetry segment, and Mirren’s full interview with Colbert, below.