Watch: Ron Howard Directs The Late Show, Recasts Colbert

The director of Apollo 13 and The Da Vinci Code can now add The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to his filmography. 

On Wednesday night, Ron Howard appeared in a pre-taped Late Show bit in which he guest directs an episode of Colbert’s show. (In reality, the sketch was directed by The Late Show’s senior producer/director Jake Plunkett.)

“I’ve always wanted to work with Ron, so I called him up to ask if he’d like to guest-direct an episode of The Late Show,” Colbert explained. “He didn’t answer, but I left a message with his assistant, and a few months later there was some back-and-forth, and eventually he said, ‘Fine.’”

Ultimately, Colbert ends up clashing with the Oscar-winning director. Howard gives the host notes on his Joe Biden impression, installs brother Clint Howard as a member of The Late Show Band, and puts Colbert in the zero-gravity environment from Apollo 13 for an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Things come to a head when Colbert demands to be taken to the rejuvenating pool from Cocoon (1995). The sketch then spoofs Howard’s Robert Langdon trilogy (2006’s The Da Vinci Code, 2009’s Angels & Demons, and 2016’s Inferno) before circumstances force the director to replace Colbert at the Late Show desk. (We won’t spoil the surprise, but you can see who ends up replacing the current host in the clip above). 

Howard is no stranger to Colbert’s Late Show. The director has guested on the show three times before. He’s currently on the talk show circuit promoting Jim Henson: Idea Man, his new Disney+ documentary about the Muppets creator. 

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