In ‘Ted Lasso,’ Juno Temple Makes Nice

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 carried out a comedy. So when Sudeikis examined her relating to a job 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 was like, Oh God, this is going to be awkward,” Temple, 32, mentioned, lounging in opposition to 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,” known as it “very, very dude-heavy.” But it has two very good elements for girls: 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 woman and an occasional topless mannequin. “I’m sort of famous for being almost famous,” 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 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 identify got here up. “I thought, Wow, that’s a left field choice. Because of all that darkness,” he mentioned.

But 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.

“When you’re acting with her, it’s really magical,” mentioned Brett Goldstein, Temple’s “Ted Lasso” co-star.Credit…Apple TV+

And 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. But 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] amazing,” Goldstein, who tends towards colourful language onscreen and off, mentioned of his co-star. “She’s [expletive] pure light.” 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, performing had at all times felt inevitable. She can vividly recall catching chickenpox when she was nearly four years outdated, and discovering solace solely in a laser-disc copy of Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

“That’s the first memory I have of seeing a film and believing in magic,” she mentioned. “I remember thinking that I wanted to be part of that.”

When she was 14, she instructed her dad and mom that she simply needed to be an actress. “I can learn about myself and learn about all different walks of life, and all different perspectives and all different heartbreaks,” she defined to them. “They were both like: ‘Really? Are you sure? Please no. Oh God no.’”

But her mom took her to an open name for the movie “Notes on a Scandal.” She booked the position. A component within the movie “Atonement” quickly adopted. In 2013, she gained a BAFTA Rising Star award. Three years later, the Guardian known as her “an English rose with dewy pink cheeks and bags of sexuality waiting to come out.” (Bags?)

Onscreen, Temple has a pouty, childlike presence and a barely feral high quality, like a lady 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 never been afraid to play a character that is going through a transition or going through something that is complicated, and something that even I don’t know the answers to,” she mentioned. Each misplaced woman teaches her a little bit extra about herself, at the same time as she tries to maintain them at a slight distance.

People generally ask her if she is a technique actor. She tells them no. “I would have died 15 times over by now,” she mentioned. “But I sure as hell have learned a lot from these extraordinary female characters.”

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

“She would say, ‘I have so much more I want to tell a camera,’” Passon mentioned.

From her early movies, Temple has gravitated towards sexualized roles. Or perhaps these roles gravitated towards her. In interviews, she has generally embraced that persona, telling that “bags of sexuality” Guardian author: “I’ve finally hit puberty on camera. Woo hoo!” She confessed to the Independent that she buys lingerie for every character she performs and in 2016 shot a marketing campaign for the posh intimates model Agent Provocateur. Last 12 months, selling “Little Birds,” she struck a blasé tone for one more Guardian author: “I don’t really get nervous for a sex scene. I’ve done quite a few of them now.”

Playing Keeley helped Temple get by her pandemic lockdown. “It was a really good thing for my brain that I wasn’t playing a character that was going through a lot of troubled transitions or experiencing self-loathing,” she mentioned.Credit…Brian Guido for The New York Times

Not each intercourse scene has felt fully crucial, however she has at all times handled sexuality as a vital component of character, by no means as a gratuitous add-on. “She wants to explore desire,” Passon mentioned.

Kathryn Hahn co-starred along 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 might present each a girl in full command of her sexuality and the susceptible woman beneath. “She’s a remarkable truth 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 choice that I wouldn’t change,” she mentioned. “I don’t regret it. Part of me is less daunted about taking my clothes off in character and being caught on film in that way than I am in real life.”

Unlike lots of Temple’s earlier characters, Keeley is already comfy in her sexuality. (Her lingerie? A pink set patterned with iridescent hearts.) Though 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. Whatever the other of troubled is, that’s Keeley.

Because Temple has so hardly ever carried out comedy, she discovered it on “Ted Lasso,” beat by beat, scene by scene. The forged was affected person along with her, she mentioned. And prepared to reply questions like, “How is this funny?”

Owing to her instincts and expertise, Temple tends to “play things as real as I can,” she mentioned, relatively than lunging for the joke. Hunt mentioned this method works properly for Keeley and the present. Usually.

“She’s just playing the truth of what the character’s going through, and it’s just hilarious,” he mentioned. “Though there are certainly times where we have to be like: ‘OK, great, Juno. Now try it again. Without 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 entirely present and alive,” Goldstein mentioned. “When you’re acting with her, it’s really 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 really good thing for my brain that I wasn’t playing a character that was going through a lot of troubled transitions or experiencing self-loathing or a lot of other complicated things that I’ve tried to put out onscreen,” she mentioned. “I had 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 aim, she mentioned, is to make girls really feel much less alone, one position at a time.

“That’s something that film has done for me, and I hope that I will be able to do for other women,” she mentioned. “Because sometimes being a woman is the greatest, most beautiful and wonderful thing in the world. And sometimes it’s a tragedy.”