In today’s instalment of Sliding Doors-esque celebrity news guaranteed to make your head spin, Emma Thompson – liberal, protest-attending, eco-friendly, Love Actually-starring Emma Thompson – says that Donald Trump once asked her out.
That’s right: in a parallel universe, our beloved Emma Thompson is the first lady of the United States.
The actor shared the mind-bending anecdote during an appearance on a Swedish television show earlier this week.
“I’ll tell you the story,” she said. “It’s very funny.”
The year, according to Thompson, was 1997. She was 38 years old, recently divorced from her first husband Kenneth Branagh, and living on a film set in Hollywood while working on a movie called Primary Colours. (Primary Colours, incidentally, is a political drama based on Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign – and Thompson played the Hillary Clinton role! Truly, the mind boggles.)
“I was in my trailer, and it was on the Universal lot and I had just been divorced and my decree absolute had just come through, like, the day before, which was no big deal,” explained Thompson.
If you think you can detect a trace of sarcasm here, you’d be right. Thompson’s devastation in the wake of her and Branagh’s divorce (which was prompted by the revelation that he had had had an affair with Helena Bonham Carter) has been well-documented: the actor said in 2010 that she battled with depression and “voices in her head” after they separated.
In other words, it seems likely that Thompson probably wasn’t in the mood to be asked on a date by a brash real estate mogul with a history of alleged spousal abuse. But, of course, that’s exactly what happened.
“So the phone rings in my trailer, which it has never done before,” Thompson continued. “I look at it and it’s, like, weird. It’s like a moose has just entered my trailer.
“Anyway, so I lift up the phone. ‘Hi, it’s Donald Trump here.’”
Thompson, understandably, was a little taken aback. Trump had never called her before; they weren’t friends. The two had never even met.
“I said, ‘Really? Can I help you?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I just, you know, I wondered if I could offer you some accommodation in one of my Trump Towers. They’re really comfortable.’”
We know what you’re thinking: jeez, chill out, Emma! The Donald wasn’t asking you out; he was just inexplicably offering you a room in one of his weird status symbols-slash-hotels! But there’s more. (With Donald Trump, there is always, always more, which is arguably the great tragedy of our age.)
“I said, ‘Why are you offering me somewhere to stay in my trailer… What?’” Thompson continued.
“‘Well, you know, I think we would get on very well,’” she recalled Trump saying. “‘Maybe we could have dinner sometime.’
“I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Thompson laughed. “I was absolutely… I was on my own, and I just said, ‘OK, well I’ll get back to you! Thank you so much for ringing.’”
Of course, Thompson never did call him back, because she is a sensible, intelligent woman with a strong moral compass. However, she says now that she wishes she had taken Trump up on his offer: “Think of the stories!”
You could think of the stories, Emma – or you could think of that deeply miserable viral video of Melania Trump’s face falling on the day of her husband’s inauguration, and thank your lucky stars.
Images: Rex Features