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Juno Temple on the ‘Brilliant Female Brains’ She Brings to Life Onscreen

·6 min read

Juno Temple is on an off day from shooting “Ted Lasso,” which means she’s in the zone chatting about her other project, “The Offer,” the Paramount+ series about the making of “The Godfather.” It’s Emmys season, after all, and Temple, who is emerging as one of TV’s brightest stars, is certainly in demand.

Here, WWD chats with Temple over Zoom from London about her two leading ladies, Keeley Jones in “Ted Lasso” and Bettye McCartt in “The Offer.”

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WWD: What is it like to juggle between Keeley for “Ted Lasso” and Bettye for “The Offer?”

Juno Temple: Honestly, I feel lucky to get to bounce back and forth between these brilliant female brains, to be honest with you. And I think that’s kind of the joy of being an actor, isn’t it? That you get to kind of explore different aspects of life from different eyeballs and they stay with you, they make an impact. And so for me, jumping back and forth between I can even, I think I could probably talk about every single character I’ve ever played because they’ve always had an impact on me.

WWD: After the reception season one of “Ted Lasso” got during the pandemic, did you feel pressure returning to set for a new season?

J.T.: You want to make sure that you do it proud. You want to make sure that these characters that people have fallen in love with and care about and are invested in their journeys, that you still, you exceed all their expectations. You want to be better and more brilliant every time I suppose. But at the same time, you also, you don’t want to think about it because all that matters is the work — the rest of it is a lovely cherry on top.

WWD: What have you learned from playing Keeley?

J.T.: I’ve learned a lot from her. I think the main thing is about trying to be kinder to myself — it’s a big thing that she’s brought into my universe and I really noticed that during filming of season two. We were in lockdown and I was living in London, which is the city I know really well and I’ve got friends here, all my family, but at the same time, I couldn’t go out at all because I don’t want to get anybody sick. And so it felt quite lonely to be in a place that I know so well and close to so many people I love, but not be able to actually be around them. And obviously, I was so lucky to be working, considering what was happening in the world. But I really noticed what positivity Keeley brings to me because I can be pretty dark and I think, like a lot of people learnt during that time in the world, what darkness and what kind of traumas they may have or what sadness they carry. Some of it was positive and some of it was really negative. And I think that I was very grateful to be in Keeley’s head space and high heels because I think she has a positive effect on everybody she meets, right? She wants people to see their potential and see how brilliant they can be because, but that’s also coming from a place where someone like Rebecca has seen potential in her, that she didn’t see in herself.

And also that relationship [with Rebecca, played by Hannah Waddingham], getting to do that is something that I am so proud of because my girlfriends are the reason that my world spins, to be honest with you. I’ve got such extraordinary women in my life that I love so deeply. And so getting to portray a friendship like that is a genuine friendship, that’s not combative, it’s not about two women being pitted against each other because, yeah, it’s boring and that’s not how life actually is.

Juno Temple in “Ted Lasso.”
Juno Temple in “Ted Lasso.”

WWD: In what ways are you similar to Keeley?

J.T.: I think that me and Keeley are in a kind of parallel world; we’re going through that in the same way. I feel like “Ted Lasso” has changed a lot for all of us that are involved with it, with our careers and stuff. And then there’s this career change happening for Keeley that seems to be kind of a lovely mirroring of that. You know, people are excited about your brain.

WWD: What drew you to “The Offer?”

J.T.: These scripts were insanely brilliant and I am obsessed with Old Hollywood. “The Godfather” was the film that I got shown by my dad when I was like 14 or 15, which is when I really told my parents that I really wanted to try and do acting and that it was where my heart just really belonged. And that film, I was watching it with my dad, it was a really important experience, but also just how I reacted to the movie, seeing this film about people that you would think of as just really scary and that you wouldn’t want to run into and then actually by the end of it, all you feel like you’ve watched is a family that has gone through a lot of tragedy. And so, to then be reading these scripts and learn about how difficult it was to get that masterpiece made, was fascinating.

Miles Teller as Al Ruddy and Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt in “The Offer.” - Credit: PARAMOUNT+
Miles Teller as Al Ruddy and Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt in “The Offer.” - Credit: PARAMOUNT+


WWD: What previous knowledge did you have about the making of “The Godfather?”

J.T.: I knew nothing about the backstory of making it, at all, nothing. Obviously I knew about Francis Ford Coppola and I actually did know that he really wanted [Marlon] Brando and Al Pacino but those were the only facts that I knew. There’s not a lot of information about [Bettye] out there, which I really respect and I think that’s something that is a rarity these days. Pretty much everyone is Google-able. Privacy is quite precious in this day and age. And so in creating her, there was this kind of freedom that I had.

WWD: What is it about old Hollywood and that era that you love?

J.T.: Well, I was brought up watching movies from the ’40s through to the late ’70s and there was still some mystery: you don’t know too much about people from that time until after they passed away, then you get filled in on a lot of their life history. But there was something about the way films were shot and the length of time that went into making them; there wasn’t as much content as we have these days. There was an elegance and a magical realism to that time period of movie making that I think is like having a great dream, and you wake up and you feel happy you had that dream, when you watch movies from that time.


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