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About (Late) Last Night: Helen Mirren kisses Jay Leno on the lips

December 8, 2010 |  7:55 am

Jay Leno wasted no time telling Helen Mirren that she looked "beautiful." She whined about her high heels, but the audience approved and told her so Tuesday with cheers and whistles as the actress extended her reputation as something of an older bombshell on "The Tonight Show."

Mirren said she hoped her turn as an action star in "Red" might replace the memory of her as Elizabeth II in "The Queen," but more than the movie, Mirren can now count on her budding reputation as a sultry diva of sorts, but with all the grace of an older woman.

"Yeah, but it's fun," she quoted the "bad angel" section of her conscience as saying about shooting guns. "Go kick ass."

"No, I'm not going to do that," she said playfully to her imaginary malicious influence, apropos of nothing. "I'm not going to kiss him." But she knew what the crowd wanted, and so Mirren stood up and kissed Leno on the mouth.

"The bad angel always wins," she said.

But once Leno tugged on Mirren's bad-girl thread, it just kept coming. Right after the kiss, she discussed her tattoo. "I got my tattoo when only Hell's Angels and sailors were tattooed," she said. "In fact, I was tattooed in prison. Before I had my sex change." Leno disproved that joke with a photo of Mirren in a bikini.

Now, Mirren said, everyone has tattoos. "It's disgraceful," she claimed with a straight face. And somehow even the scolding served the same purpose: The woman wants you to know that she's not to be messed with.

-- Joe Coscarelli