Michael Rozman/Warner Bros
Amanda Michelle Steiner
January 28, 2016 AT 01:59 PM EST

When Beyoncé made her show-stopping appearance on Lip Sync Battle alongside Channing Tatum earlier this year, she was exactly the ephemeral mystery you’d expect her to be.

Tatum dropped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday to promote his new film, Hail Caesar!, and he revealed what it’s like to be in Beyoncé’s orbit. (“Terrifying.”) 

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“I had never met her before. I won’t even tell you what I had to do to essentially get her assistant’s phone number. … I didn’t even have the intention of her coming,” he said. Initially, his plan was to have a cardboard cutout accompany his drag performance of “Run the World (Girls).” But, “ultimately I ended up having to meet Beyoncé doing Beyoncé and that was definitely the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.”

And there was no rehearsal. Beyoncé doesn’t rehearse. She appears. “She’s like Keyser Söze,” Tatum told DeGeneres, referring to Kevin Spacey’s character in The Usual Suspects. “… You never see her until all of sudden you’re just like, ‘It happened! Wait — that was her, right?’ And then you always know she’s somewhere in the world [and] can reach out and touch you.”

See Tatum tell of the life-changing experience below. 

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