Juno Temple ‘Doing a s-x scene is less terrifying than a scene where I’m giving up my child’

The actor plays a drug-addicted mother alongside Justin Timberlake in his new film Palmer. She talks to Alexandra Pollard about fearlessness, empathy and why loving your job so much can be dangerous

I was definitely penalized for taking my clothes off,” Juno Temple said as she readjusted her sweater. “And honestly, sorry for swearing, but f*** that.”

In 2013, the English actor had three films on display at the same Sundance festival. In one, Afternoon Delight, she was a stripper-turned-nanny. In another, Lovelace, she was best friends with pornstar Linda Lovelace. And in the third, Magic Magic, she was a naive Californian in Chile who suffers from a psychotic episode. He happened to undress in all three. “I remember one reviewer saying, ‘Wow, she’s got her boobs in all of them,'” the 31-year-old recalled. “I don’t think that’s a beneficial thing to say. If you’re offended by n-dity, tell me why. Not just like, ‘She still has her boobs on screen.’ Yeah I know that. So if it’s a problem, tell me why.

For Temple – who rose to prominence in 2007’s Atonement, as a 15-year-old whose rape is pinned on the wrong man – n-de scenes can give just as much insight into a character as n’ whatever. “In real life, there are times when you strip down and that comes with a surge of confidence and wonder and exploration,” she says, “and there are times when you have want to be swallowed whole by a giant crack in the earth. I think n-dity can explore that on camera. I really do.”

Temple is in London filming the second season of the endearing football comedy Ted Lasso. “It’s a very nice thing to do right now, to be honest with you,” she said, “because it can get a little dark right now.” With a cut-glass English accent that years of living in Los Angeles have done nothing to diminish, Temple is warm, unguarded and slightly frantic company, often looking sideways as the answers fall like pennies from a slot machine. Everything behind her is pink: there is a pair of pink lips mounted on the wall, a glowing pink orb, a pink wash basket, a pink table in the corner. Dressed in a black jumper, with several gold hoops on each ear, she looks much healthier than the character she’s here to discuss.

Her role in Palmer, the progressively disarming redemption drama now airing on Apple TV+, is small but pivotal. Justin Timberlake is Palmer, a former high school football star who has just been released from prison. He finds himself the reluctant guardian of a playful seven-year-old called Sam when the boy’s mother, Shelly, played by Temple, leaves town.

Just before taking off, Shelly has loud, passionless sex with Palmer. Temple didn’t have an intimacy coordinator for this scene — she doesn’t tend to feel the need for one. “For me, what’s important is that you have a conversation with your co-star, with your director, and that you all find out privately what’s cool and what’s not,” he says. she. “I’ve worked with Justin before; he’s a friend of mine, and I feel very safe working with him. In fact, doing a sex scene is less terrifying than doing a scene where I have to abandon my child.

It is certainly an emotionally moving role. Temple depicts Shelly as some kind of wounded animal, always convulsing, sniffling, shaking. “I sympathized with her so much,” she says. “My approach was that she was still a child herself and just not equipped to be a mother. But she’s equipped to be a friend, so she and her son are very good friends. And she’s a drug addict and really losing a battle with addiction.

Sam, meanwhile, spends his time watching princess shows, trying on lipstick, and hosting imaginary tea parties. The film’s message, says Temple, is “love the skin you’re in, the brain you have, and the beating heart.” All. Love him exactly as he is because you only get one chance”.

But Sam is bullied, not only by his peers, but by some of their fathers, one of whom pins him down and paints his face. Luckily, we don’t see this play out on screen – we learn about it via Sam, who stifles what happened between sobs. “There are certain pockets of the world,” Temple says, “where there’s this feeling of, ‘I feel alone, I’m scared, and I feel completely alone in my existence.'”

That’s where the art comes in. “I wish I had the brains to get into politics or cure illnesses, but I don’t,” she says. “But I think movies can really make you feel less alone, or they can transport you to a place you’ve never been, or remind you of a place you’ve forgotten. They’re this amazing window into different modes lifestyle which means people identify more with others. I hope.”

Temple has certainly run the gamut of human behavior. During her teenage years, she carved out a place for herself as a wild child, playing Cate Blanchett’s petulant daughter in Notes on a Scandal (2006), a dreadlocked “trustafarian” in St Trinians (2007) and a quirky boarding student at, Well, Wild Child (2008). There’s little that ties the movies of her adult years together, other than the wayward volatility and wide-eyedness she tends to embody on screen. In addition to taking on smaller roles in blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Maleficent (2014), she played a scheming Texan alongside Matthew McConaughey in the dark comedy Killer Joe (2011) and the little girl. Daniel Radcliffe Merrin’s murdered friend in the bizarre comedy-horror Horns (2013). She spent her 25th birthday “completely n-ked up, doing a pretty epic sx scene with Mick Jagger’s son” in Martin Scorsese’s short-lived drama Vinyl, and just before she turned 30 she played a patient unhappy psychiatrist in Steven Soderbergh’s underrated film. Thriller iPhone Unsane (2018).

“I didn’t really go to college, so I feel like every time I do a job, it’s like a tiny little college experience for me,” Temple says. Working with Kate Winslet was like going to Oxbridge. “I was about 14 when I watched Heavenly Creatures, and it was a game-changing performance for me. It was absolutely breathtaking. And then I started working with her, which was the thing. coolest ever.

Unfortunately, Winslet has since disowned the movie they worked on. Wonder Wheel was released in 2017, three years after its director Woody Allen was accused by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow of sexually abusing her as a child (the allegations, which he denies, were first made when Dylan was seven years old). “What the fuck was I doing,” Winslet said last year, “working with Woody Allen?” Does Temple share these regrets? “No,” she says, “I try not to regret things because I think learning from each experience leads to another experience and another experience.”

Other actors also learned from her. Last year, she starred in psychedelic drama Sky Atlantic, Little Birds, as an American debutante with a wanderlust. Temple co-star Hugh Skinner said watching her was “so liberating…she just got so into the character and gave nothing away.” Fearlessness seems to be Temple’s modus operandi. Where does it come from? “Certainly part of my upbringing, of course,” she says.

Temple was a bohemian childhood. His father is the director Julien Temple, his mother the producer Amanda Pirie; they named her Juno after an area of ​​the Grand Canyon they visited while Pirie was pregnant. As a child, she went to the cherished hippie Bedales boarding school, spent time with Joe Strummer of The Clash and was babysat by Johnny Depp. “I was constantly learning about all the different lives, all the different people and all the different rhythms,” she recalls, “so I was always curious about it. Knowledge gives you the keys to life.

She took that same philosophy with her when she started acting. “There are times when I find reality difficult, and I find everyday life difficult, and so I learn from a lot of my characters to understand reality a little better.” She looks to the side for a moment. “I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I love my job too much and it can be dangerous. How? “I don’t know. You then try not to live in reality at all. And I think it’s important to see the beauty right in front of me.

She’s not a method actress — “if I was, I’d have died seven times over,” she says — “but I can’t help but have that kind of happening on set. It can get a bit lonely at times, as you can get so wrapped up in another person’s life that you forget about your own for a second. You surrender.

However, she sees above all a kind of symbiosis in it. “I have a weird thing that I like to do,” she said slowly, as if wondering whether or not to tell me. “Every time I play a new character, I buy them lingerie. It’s all about power. It’s kind of funny when you think about it – I’ve bought panties for every character I’ve played I like to think of a character’s bare bones and what would lie beneath all the layers. You can’t help but bring a pinch of yourself to every playthrough, and you can’t help but bring some of the game home with you forever.” She smiled. “That’s a nice trade.”


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