Interview: Juno Temple, star of Killer Joe, Maleficent and The Dark Knight Rises
The daughter of Julien Temple also stars in psychedelic drama Magic Magic alongside Michael Cera
Having cut her teeth working with cult directors William Friedkin and Greg Araki Juno Temple is now on the verge of hitting the big time. Stephen Applebaum talks to the actor about her latest film Magic Magic
Getting work certainly doesn't seem to be a problem for Juno Temple. At 24, the pixie-like daughter of filmmaker Julien Temple and producer Amanda Pirie, has already been involved in around 30 movies, ranging from independent projects including Kaboom, Killer Joe and Afternoon Delight to blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises and Disney’s forthcoming epic Maleficent.
Inauspiciously, her father excised her first performance from his 1998 film, Vigo: A Passion for Life, although she made the final cut of his next movie, Pandaemonium. ‘As a child, getting to do films like that was just a great excuse to be around my dad,’ says Juno. ‘He was away for a lot of my childhood and I missed him, so that was always an exciting prospect.’
When she was 14, she told her parents she wanted to be an actress. ‘They were both pretty nervous about it. They went, “Really? Shit.”’ They were worried how she'd cope with rejection. ‘I still call my mum or dad in tears about not getting jobs,’ she admits. ‘I'm so invested in this that it really hurts when I don't get a job I really want. And then it is extreme jubilation when I do.’
Her father, who's known for his music documentaries including The Filth and the Fury about the Sex Pistols; The Future is Unwritten on Clash front man Joe Strummer; and Oil City Confidential, the story of Essex’s Dr Feelgood, told her to never compromise herself. ‘He said to me, “Don't do anything unless you're passionate about it. Just don't. Whether it's five months or five minutes of your time, just don't do anything that you aren't going to be passionate about every second that you're doing it.” And so I really, really stick with that.’
This commitment is evident on screen. In her latest release, Magic Magic, she throws herself fully into the role of a fragile young American who experiences some kind of mental breakdown during a trip to Chile. ‘It was definitely a role that I don't think you could be half-arsed about,’ says Juno. ‘You had to not be afraid and just go for it.’
She used to find it difficult to separate herself from her characters and suggests that doing Magic Magic that way could have been damaging. ‘God knows where I would be. I could have lost my mind and I could be anywhere right now.’ The turning point came when she worked with the director Joe Wright on Atonement. ‘He told me that you don't have to fuck yourself up to bring tears on camera. You can get too involved with a character and that was a major piece of advice that I took away with me. I think as I have gotten older, I have got much better at letting go of a character when I finish the movie.’
Ultimately, it's essential to remain grounded, she says. ‘It's so important that you go back to reality and be with your best friends and with your family. I love film and I love acting but it's about the work for me. And this is work for me. It's a job. I don't want it to be my entire life.’
Magic Magic is released Fri 18 Apr.