In ‘Ted Lasso,’ Juno Temple Makes Good


When Juno Temple first heard from Jason Sudeikis, she assumed that he had messaged the improper actress.

For a decade and a half, Temple had performed a parade of troubled and troubling younger girls in movies like “Atonement,” “Killer Joe” and “Afternoon Delight.” She had nearly by no means accomplished a comedy. So when Sudeikis examined her concerning a task on “Ted Lasso,” the extravagantly good, ultra Emmy-nominated sitcom that begins its second season on Apple TV+ on Friday, she suspected that he had her confused with another person.

“I used to be like, Oh God, that is going to be awkward,” Temple, 32, stated, lounging towards a furry pillow on the porch of her Los Angeles dwelling throughout a current video name.

Sudeikis hadn’t made a mistake. “Ted Lasso,” a sitcom about an American soccer coach despatched to handle an English Premier League soccer membership, is a largely male present. Brendan Hunt, a creator of “Ted Lasso,” referred to as it “very, very dude-heavy.” But it surely has two excellent components for ladies: Rebecca Walton, the crew’s proprietor, and Keeley Jones, the girlfriend of a star participant. The producers had struggled to forged Keeley.

Keeley is a glamour lady and an occasional topless mannequin. “I’m kind of well-known for being nearly well-known,” she explains in an early episode. The actresses the producers had auditioned by that point had emphasised Keeley’s body-glitter exterior, not the massive mind and greater coronary heart beneath it. Temple, a self-described “quirky weirdo” who doesn’t skew voluptuous, wasn’t an apparent match.

Brett Goldstein, a “Ted Lasso” actor and author who performs Keeley’s Season 2 love curiosity, remembered when Temple’s title got here up. “I assumed, Wow, that’s a left subject alternative. Due to all that darkness,” he stated.

However Sudeikis had seen her work on “Vinyl,” the short-lived Martin Scorsese sequence that starred his then-partner Olivia Wilde. He intuited that she would play Keeley in a different way.

And she or he did. A excessive ponytail and better heels assist Temple — 5-foot-2, barely — stand tall as Keeley. An architectural push-up bra and two units of falsies present that glamour mannequin look. However Temple lends Keeley one thing all her personal, a generosity of spirit and an incessant shimmer that eye make-up alone can’t clarify.

“She’s [expletive] superb,” Goldstein, who tends towards colourful language onscreen and off, stated of his co-star. “She’s [expletive] pure gentle.” She can also be now an Emmy nominee, tipped for greatest supporting actress in a comedy for her flip as Keeley — one in all 20 nominations the present obtained for its first season.

For Temple, the daughter of the experimental movie director Julien Temple and the producer Amanda Pirie, appearing had at all times felt inevitable. She will vividly recall catching chickenpox when she was nearly 4 years previous, and discovering solace solely in a laser-disc copy of Jean Cocteau’s “Magnificence and the Beast.”

“That’s the primary reminiscence I’ve of seeing a movie and believing in magic,” she stated. “I bear in mind considering that I wished to be a part of that.”

When she was 14, she informed her dad and mom that she simply needed to be an actress. “I can find out about myself and find out about all completely different walks of life, and all completely different views and all completely different heartbreaks,” she defined to them. “They had been each like: ‘Actually? Are you certain? Please no. Oh God no.’”

However her mom took her to an open name for the movie “Notes on a Scandal.” She booked the function. An element within the movie “Atonement” quickly adopted. In 2013, she received a BAFTA Rising Star award. Three years later, the Guardian called her “an English rose with dewy pink cheeks and baggage of sexuality ready to return out.” (Luggage?)

Onscreen, Temple has a pouty, childlike presence and a barely feral high quality, like a woman raised by some very emotionally out there wolves. Her have an effect on evokes old-timey phrases — scamp, scapegrace, minx. (Hunt described her as “a pip.”) She additionally indulges a streak of self-parody. For the video name, she had adorned herself with a large black bow, overlapping gold rings, a gold chain and luxe Chanel hoops, femininity as celebration and joke. A joke she is generally in on.

Her characters are sometimes bent on self-discovery, and Temple makes that discovery appear crucial and dangerous. “I’ve by no means been afraid to play a personality that’s going by way of a transition or going by way of one thing that’s sophisticated, and one thing that even I don’t know the solutions to,” she stated. Every misplaced lady teaches her a bit extra about herself, at the same time as she tries to maintain them at a slight distance.

Folks typically ask her if she is a technique actor. She tells them no. “I’d have died 15 occasions over by now,” she stated. “However I certain as hell have realized so much from these extraordinary feminine characters.”

Stacie Passon, who directed Temple in “Little Birds,” the Starz adaptation of Anaïs Nin’s erotic quick tales, has seen her deep curiosity in human conduct and clear cinematic intelligence. She has usually informed Temple that she can be a superb director herself, however Temple by no means appeared .

“She would say, ‘I’ve a lot extra I need to inform a digicam,’” Passon stated.

From her early movies, Temple has gravitated towards sexualized roles. Or perhaps these roles gravitated towards her. In interviews, she has typically embraced that persona, telling that “baggage of sexuality” Guardian author: “I’ve lastly hit puberty on digicam. Woo hoo!” She confessed to the Unbiased that she buys lingerie for each character she performs and in 2016 shot a marketing campaign for the luxury intimates brand Agent Provocateur. Final 12 months, selling “Little Birds,” she struck a blasé tone for another Guardian writer: “I don’t actually get nervous for a intercourse scene. I’ve accomplished fairly a couple of of them now.”

Not each intercourse scene has felt totally vital, however she has at all times handled sexuality as an important ingredient of character, by no means as a gratuitous add-on. “She desires to discover need,” Passon stated.

Kathryn Hahn co-starred along with her in the 2013 film “Afternoon Delight.” (Temple performed McKenna, an unique dancer, with Hahn because the not-so-exotic homemaker who takes her in.) Hahn seen how, as McKenna, Temple might present each a girl in full command of her sexuality and the weak lady beneath. “She’s a outstanding fact digger,” Hahn wrote in an electronic mail.

Temple doesn’t really feel ashamed of any intercourse scene in any movie she has made. “It’s a alternative that I wouldn’t change,” she stated. “I don’t remorse it. A part of me is much less daunted about taking my garments off in character and being caught on movie in that means than I’m in actual life.”

Not like a lot of Temple’s earlier characters, Keeley is already snug in her sexuality. (Her lingerie? A pink set patterned with iridescent hearts.) Although she discovered nearly fame as a topless mannequin, she now largely retains her tops on. “Ted Lasso” as a substitute pushes Keeley to imagine that she has worth past her physique, after which rewards that perception. Regardless of the reverse of troubled is, that’s Keeley.

As a result of Temple has so hardly ever accomplished comedy, she realized it on “Ted Lasso,” beat by beat, scene by scene. The forged was affected person along with her, she stated. And prepared to reply questions like, “How is that this humorous?”

Owing to her instincts and expertise, Temple tends to “play issues as actual as I can,” she stated, moderately than lunging for the joke. Hunt stated this strategy works effectively for Keeley and the present. Normally.

“She’s simply taking part in the reality of what the character’s going by way of, and it’s simply hilarious,” he stated. “Although there are definitely occasions the place we’ve to be like: ‘OK, nice, Juno. Now attempt it once more. With out crying.’”

She has additionally proven an unanticipated reward for bodily comedy, as in a scene from Season 2 when she assaults a chocolate fountain, tongue first. “She’s totally current and alive,” Goldstein stated. “Whenever you’re appearing along with her, it’s actually magical.”

Temple has by no means performed a personality as variety as Keeley, nor one who enjoys the loving and uncomplicated feminine friendship that the character develops with Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham, additionally Emmy-nominated). Keeley helped Temple survive pandemic lockdown.

“It was a extremely good factor for my mind that I wasn’t taking part in a personality that was going by way of a number of troubled transitions or experiencing self-loathing or a number of different sophisticated issues that I’ve tried to place out onscreen,” she stated. “I needed to be kinder to myself.”

That kindness has an addictive high quality. Temple desires to play extra characters like Keeley, she stated, however not solely characters like her. The aim, she stated, is to make girls really feel much less alone, one function at a time.

“That’s one thing that movie has accomplished for me, and I hope that I will do for different girls,” she stated. “As a result of typically being a girl is the best, most lovely and great factor on this planet. And typically it’s a tragedy.”

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