In 2018, being a guest on a late-night show doesn’t just mean sharing some adorable, pre-rehearsed anecdotes about your crazy celebrity run-ins. It means going into a full-on rap battle with the host—even if you are Dame Helen Mirren. The Oscar winner did just that on The Late Late Show with James Corden Tuesday night and effortlessly took down her opponent with some truly great lines.
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Mirren entered the ring in an appropriately royal crown and robe, and told Corden to “bow down” to her before the battle even began. Corden took shots at her acting reputation at constantly playing queens and even her past relationship with Liam Neeson, but he didn’t stand a chance against her.
“I’ve played the queen but also warriors and witches, crime lords and wizards, bosses and bitches, detectives and whores from Altman to Shakespeare,” Mirren rapped. “The only role you ever play is guy who begged to be here.” But then, the ultimate burn: “This battle is fun, I’m glad I was asked. It’s the only bit you didn’t find in Jimmy Fallon’s trash.”
She also had an empowering verse about why it’s so problematic to keep comparing her to other actresses like Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith. “Compare me to Meryl, Judi, Maggie, but why? They’re not my competition, they’re my ride or die,” she said. “See, women are a forced to be reckoned with, and I reckon I wrecked you, you’ve been to hell and back, bitch.”
Ouch. You mess with a dame, and you get royally trounced.