The 10 Best Moments From The Empire Podcast Episode 500 Celebrations

Empire 500

by Sophie Butcher |
Updated on

12 hours. 10 Empire team members. Nine incredible guests. Hundreds of lovely listeners. 500 podcast episodes in the making. Last Saturday, the Empire Podcast descended on Kings Place for an epic, day-long celebration to mark the 500th edition of the regular weekly pod. We welcomed an immense roll-call of guests, including Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg for a super spoilery chat on Hot Fuzz, Tom Holland (the Spider-Man: No Way Home actor, not James Dyer’s roofer), Joanna Hogg and Harris Dickinson talking all things The Souvenir Part II, Ted Lasso star, writer and producer Brett Goldstein, West Side Story’s Maria and future Snow White Rachel Zegler, Loki director Kate Herron, and, if all of those weren’t enough, captain of the Jackass: Forever gang, Johnny Knoxville.

There were passive-aggressive t-shirts, Powerpoint presentations, spontaneous kazoo performances, and Nic Cage-esque ninja-rolls on stage – plus, of course, reviews, news, and lots and lots of live nonsense. Here are 10 of the standout moments from the day:


The 10 Best Moments From The Empire Podcast Episode 500 Celebrations

The kazoo u2018Name That Tune’ round in the quiz1 of 10

The kazoo ‘Name That Tune’ round in the quiz

The inaugural Empire Podcast quiz was a clash of the titans with Team Empire Pod (Helen O'Hara, Ben Travis and Amon Warmann) taking on Team Pilot TV (James Dyer, Beth Webb and Boyd Hilton) in a battle of minds, all marshalled by quizmaster Chris Hewitt. Rounds included Famous First (and Last) Words, Who's That Stath? (guessing a Jason Statham movie by an image of his character; just as challenging as you'd expect), a spelling bee, and, most chaotic of all, a round of Name That Tune on the podcast team's instrument of choice: the humble kazoo. After an impromptu rendition of the Marvel fanfare, Ben and James, after struggling to remember literally any film theme tune, treated us to ditties from The Godfather, The Mandalorian, and Halloween, plus Ennio Morricone's iconic score from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. We apologise to all composers (and generally people with ears) everywhere.

Celebrity question-askers2 of 10

Celebrity question-askers

All that, plus the quiz boasted a Celebrity Questions round! A few friends of the podcast who couldn't be with us on the day recorded taxing trivia for our two teams – including Jason Isaacs on the architectural inspiration for the ship in Event Horizon, the now Oscar-nominated Ariana DeBose with a couple of West Side Story puzzlers, Gareth Evans asking about Peter Jackson's first film Bad Taste, Lee Child on the exclusive Reacher book titles he's dropped on previous pod episodes, and composer Daniel Pemberton asking who created the scores for live-action Spider-Man.

u201cPooh For Presidentu201d3 of 10

“Pooh For President”

If that header has you thinking "what the fuck?", then you're in about the same headspace as the entire audience during Ben Travis' epic plea for glory in the live Three Fact Structure section. Often falling short of being named victorious in everyone's favourite (right?) segment of the pod, Ben, in his own words, "did not come to play" for the live version. Utilising some of the knowledge he's gained from his Disniversity podcast, Ben treated the audience to a very official Powerpoint presentation recounting the times Winnie The Actual Pooh ran for Actual President – including roping the audience in for a singalong to campaign theme tune 'Pooh For President'. Everybody now! "Pooh for president, vote for Winnie The Pooh…"

James’ Star Wars filibuster4 of 10

James’ Star Wars filibuster

Battling the might of Pooh For President, James Dyer fought back with an epic Star Wars ramble – as ever, taking the scenic route before delivering his own usual catchphrase: "...but none of these things are my fact". Cue an extremely lengthy on-stage monologue peppered with more galactic trivia tidbits than you can shake a gaffi stick at. The eventual fact? That Chewbacca does not have a penis. Worth the wait.

The debate over the Nicolas Cage ranking results5 of 10

The debate over the Nicolas Cage ranking results

In our second ever live edition of The Ranking, Empire Editor Nick de Semlyen joined Helen O'Hara, John Nugent, Amon Warmann and Dan Jolin (complete with his own Cage-on-Wogan somersaulting talk-show entrance) to discuss the filmography of one Nicolas Kim Coppola – aka, of course, Nicolas Cage. From his early days, to his crazy straight-to-DVD action turns, to some of his more interesting recent role choices, the team talked through it all. The eventual top 10 will be revealed in an upcoming issue of Empire, but it caused a ruckus with some of our guests backstage – Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were furious that Raising Arizona didn't rank higher, and Brett Goldstein demanded a recount for one of his fave Cage flicks Kiss Of Death.

Nick Frostu2019s voice memo6 of 10

Nick Frost’s voice memo

With its 15th anniversary around the corner, the live Spoiler Special was dedicated to the second instalment in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's Cornetto Trilogy, Hot Fuzz. We were delighted to be joined by Wright and Pegg themselves, sharing hilarious stories and memories from the making of the film – and though Nick Frost sadly couldn't attend (due to something called 'COVID' that we keep hearing about?) he very kindly sent a voice note for Edgar to share, recounting such gems as the 'breakfast wine' that he and Pegg liked to enjoy after a night shoot, and one of the few times they've ever argued whilst in a police car shooting the speedometer scene. The Hot Fuzz Spoiler Special will be released soon on our subscriber-only podcast feed – learn more and sign up here.

Tom Hollandu2019s entrance7 of 10

Tom Holland’s entrance

He's not the director of Fright Night. He's not the author of Rubicon and Persian Fire. He's not a footballer for The New Saints, and he has never repaired James Dyer's roof. He is, of course, the star of films including The Impossible, Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: No Way Home – and he was the incredible first guest that kicked off our main show last Saturday night. Yes, Tom Actual Holland joined Chris Hewitt for a chat about Uncharted, working with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and Aunt May's death in No Way Home (spoiler alert – and Holland doesn't care who knows it). The roar that arose as the audience realised who was about to walk out on stage was immense – listen to the podcast episode now to hear it in full.

Brett Goldstein dropping the C-bomb8 of 10

Brett Goldstein dropping the C-bomb

Fresh off the back of several Emmy wins for his Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso, Roy Kent himself, aka Brett Goldstein, joined Chris Hewitt on stage. After only being back in London from the US for a few days, he was extremely happy about being submerged back into the British tendency to drop the c-word in casual conversation – "Finally! Someone casually saying 'c_nt'! I feel so much better." Cue a tirade of swears that meant Chris has to dig the old_ bleep* sound effect out several times when editing the pod, followed by a chat about Roy Kent's wardrobe that led to a mutual appreciation of M&S' Autograph range.

Rachel Zegler talking about becoming friends with Steven Spielberg9 of 10

Rachel Zegler talking about becoming friends with Steven Spielberg

After her astonishing debut performance in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, it was a joy to be able to welcome Rachel Zegler to Episode 500. Even more joyous was learning how quickly her and the iconic director became firm friends. "It was immediate love between the two of us. He's very much a 'call me Steven' type of guy," she recalled whilst on stage. "I met him six months into my audition process, and it was just this instinct that this was somebody who was going to be very important and influential to me in my life – if he hadn't already been with his classic films that made me love what I get to do for a living." Her favourite entry in the Spielberg filmography? Lincoln – which apparently caused the director to yell to Tony Kushner that she's the movie's youngest fan yet.

The Moonfall review10 of 10

The Moonfall review

When it came to reviews section in the main pod, there was only one place to start – Roland Emmerich's Moonfall. MOONFALL! The director's latest disaster (or disastrous?) movie sparked a riotous debate amongst the pod team about whether the film is so bad it's good, or just plain bad. In the 'cinematic genius' corner, we have James and Ben. In the 'one of the worst things ever' corner, we have Helen and Chris. One wonders how this could possibly be up for debate, when the movie features such lines as "Brian, we're inside the moon!".

For everyone who joined us in person on the day, watched the main show via livestream (which is still available here until Saturday 12 February), or has ever listened to an episode of the pod, we’re so grateful for your support. Here’s to the next 500!

New episodes of the Empire Podcast arrive weekly on Fridays – available on all good podcast apps.

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