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 virtually by no means executed a comedy. So when Sudeikis examined her concerning a task on “Ted Lasso,” the extravagantly good, extremely 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, mentioned, lounging towards a furry pillow on the porch of her Los Angeles residence 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 elements for ladies: Rebecca Walton, the staff’s proprietor, and Keeley Jones, the girlfriend of a star participant. The producers had struggled to solid Keeley.
Keeley is a glamour lady and an occasional topless mannequin. “I’m kind of well-known for being virtually 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 large mind and larger 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 believed, Wow, that’s a left discipline alternative. Due to all that darkness,” he mentioned.
However Sudeikis had seen her work on “Vinyl,” the short-lived Martin Scorsese collection that starred his then-partner Olivia Wilde. He intuited that she would play Keeley in a different way.
And he or she 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] wonderful,” Goldstein, who tends towards colourful language onscreen and off, mentioned 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 — considered one of 20 nominations the present acquired for its first season.
For Temple, the daughter of the experimental movie director Julien Temple and the producer Amanda Pirie, appearing had all the time felt inevitable. She will vividly recall catching chickenpox when she was virtually 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 mentioned. “I bear in mind considering that I needed to be a part of that.”
When she was 14, she advised her dad and mom that she simply needed to be an actress. “I can find out about myself and find out about all totally different walks of life, and all totally different views and all totally different heartbreaks,” she defined to them. “They have been each like: ‘Actually? Are you positive? 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. A component within the movie “Atonement” quickly adopted. In 2013, she received a BAFTA Rising Star award. Three years later, the Guardian referred to as her “an English rose with dewy pink cheeks and luggage of sexuality ready to come back out.” (Baggage?)
Onscreen, Temple has a pouty, childlike presence and a barely feral high quality, like a woman raised by some very emotionally accessible 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 usually 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 a transition or going by one thing that’s sophisticated, and one thing that even I don’t know the solutions to,” she mentioned. Every misplaced lady teaches her a little bit extra about herself, whilst she tries to maintain them at a slight distance.
Folks generally ask her if she is a technique actor. She tells them no. “I might have died 15 occasions over by now,” she mentioned. “However I positive as hell have discovered quite a bit from these extraordinary feminine characters.”
Stacie Passon, who directed Temple in “Little Birds,” the Starz adaptation of Anaïs Nin’s erotic quick tales, has observed her deep curiosity in human habits and clear cinematic intelligence. She has typically advised Temple that she could be an excellent director herself, however Temple by no means appeared .
“She would say, ‘I’ve a lot extra I wish to inform a digicam,’” Passon mentioned.
From her early movies, Temple has gravitated towards sexualized roles. Or possibly these roles gravitated towards her. In interviews, she has generally embraced that persona, telling that “luggage of sexuality” Guardian author: “I’ve lastly hit puberty on digicam. Woo hoo!” She confessed to the Unbiased that she buys lingerie for every character she performs and in 2016 shot a marketing campaign for the luxurious intimates model Agent Provocateur. Final yr, selling “Little Birds,” she struck a blasé tone for an additional Guardian author: “I don’t actually get nervous for a intercourse scene. I’ve executed fairly a number of of them now.”
Not each intercourse scene has felt solely crucial, however she has all the time handled sexuality as an important component of character, by no means as a gratuitous add-on. “She needs to discover need,” Passon mentioned.
Kathryn Hahn co-starred together with her within the 2013 movie “Afternoon Delight.” (Temple performed McKenna, an unique dancer, with Hahn because the not-so-exotic homemaker who takes her in.) Hahn observed how, as McKenna, Temple may present each a girl in full command of her sexuality and the weak lady beneath. “She’s a exceptional reality digger,” Hahn wrote in an e 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 mentioned. “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 approach than I’m in actual life.”
Not like lots of Temple’s earlier characters, Keeley is already snug in her sexuality. (Her lingerie? A pink set patterned with iridescent hearts.) Although she discovered virtually 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 not often executed comedy, she discovered it on “Ted Lasso,” beat by beat, scene by scene. The solid was affected person together with her, she mentioned. And keen 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 mentioned, reasonably than lunging for the joke. Hunt mentioned this method works nicely for Keeley and the present. Often.
“She’s simply enjoying the reality of what the character’s going by, and it’s simply hilarious,” he mentioned. “Although there are definitely occasions the place now we have to be like: ‘OK, nice, Juno. Now strive 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 solely current and alive,” Goldstein mentioned. “Whenever you’re appearing together with her, it’s actually magical.”
Temple has by no means performed a personality as type 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 very good factor for my mind that I wasn’t enjoying a personality that was going by plenty of troubled transitions or experiencing self-loathing or plenty of different sophisticated issues that I’ve tried to place out onscreen,” she mentioned. “I needed to be kinder to myself.”
That kindness has an addictive high quality. Temple needs to play extra characters like Keeley, she mentioned, however not solely characters like her. The objective, she mentioned, is to make girls really feel much less alone, one function at a time.
“That’s one thing that movie has executed for me, and I hope that I will do for different girls,” she mentioned. “As a result of generally being a girl is the best, most stunning and fantastic factor on this planet. And generally it’s a tragedy.”