Juno Temple reaches new heights with her star turn in Ted Lasso and her latest series, The Offer. The in-demand actress discusses taking on comedy, and the importance of female friendships, authenticity and empowerment.
Fendi dress, fendi.com; Karo Koru choker, karokoru.com; all other jewelry, Temple’s own.
Juno Temple says of her reaction from reading the Ted Lasso script after creator and star Jason Sudeikis reached out to the actress for the role of Keeley Jones. Temple recalls, “It was very important to him that I liked [the series] and if I didn’t dig it, he’d rather cut the cord there before we went any further.” She says that the project was a personal one for Sudeikis, who plays the role of Lasso on the award-winning Apple TV+ series. After reading the pilot, the actress had to confirm he reached out to the right person, as she had never really done a comedy series before. Following the confirmation, she told him she loved it and immediately signed on.
Temple is speaking with me from the apartment she’s renting from a friend in West London, on a day off from shooting season 3 of Ted Lasso. Her family lives in the English countryside, not too far from where she is, but when not filming Ted Lasso, the actress calls L.A. home.
“Keeley has been such a bright light and she has opened a lot of doors for me,” Temple says of her part as a model and social media influencer turned PR consultant. “I’ve always gravitated toward darker things, so it’s been cool—Keeley has been showing me the light.” Temple was nervous but intrigued by the role. “Comedy is a very different universe in the sense that it’s like learning a dance. It’s a lot of timing; there’s a beat and how it falls into a rhythm—that rhythm is much more alien to me than most of my castmates,” she admits.
When taking on the series, what stood out to Temple was the feminist aspect of the storyline, particularly the relationship between Keeley and the team’s owner, Rebecca Welton. “I knew it was special—two women at different stages in their lives, that come from different backgrounds, and could immediately judge both books by their covers... I think the journey and the surprise that audience members felt when realizing that was never going to happen is one that I’m so proud to put out there, and I hope inspires more of it,” she says. Temple notes that it’s sad that it is not the norm to see women supporting one another onscreen. “The patience and the delicate love that form female friendships are so important to show the world—we’ve got to have each other’s backs.”
Apart from the series, British actress Hannah Waddingham (who plays Rebecca) has become one of Temple’s real best friends. It is the authenticity of their relationship—the ups and downs that they get through with humor—that shines on Ted Lasso. In her role as Keeley, Temple toes the line between being well liked and hardworking, or being written off as another influencer who also dates two of the players on the team.
Miu Miu dress, miumiu.com; Vivienne Westwood shoes, viviennewestwood.com; all jewelry, Temple’s own.
How exactly does she make Keeley likable? Temple shares: “A couple of weeks ago, I was at this great vintage store in London and an American mother and daughter came in… they were so lovely,” she says. “And the mum, she said to me, ‘You know, there was a world in which I never thought I could love a girl that was Insta-famous, and you completely turned that world on its head.’ I hadn’t ever had anyone say it to me as bluntly, but what a great compliment because I think it’s all about leading with your heart first, whatever you’re doing as a woman. We are born to be mothers, we’re born to love, and any character that you’re playing, if you lead with your heart, then people will find a way to love them.”
As for love, Keeley’s main squeeze in the series is soccer superstar Roy Kent, played by Brett Goldstein, an actor and comedian who is also a top writer for the show. She describes Goldstein as a man who leads with his heart and teaches her about comedy. Temple calls Goldstein her “wingman” who always makes her feel safe. In season 2, their relationship portrays the intricacies of intimacy and happiness. “People sometimes mistake happiness for always having huge smiles and feelings of joy, but actually happiness can also be stillness and quietness, and feeling safe.”
Missoni dress, missoni.com; all jewelry, Temple’s own.
To viewers and Temple alike, Ted Lasso is similar to a family. The series teaches viewers to be kind, not judge others, and how to forgive, among other things. “I think Ted Lasso has this really interesting way of showing the beautiful sides of humanity,” Temple explains, “which leads to more people being able to be authentic and forgiving and kind and in a time where there was a lot of isolation going on, but doors have also been closed and people have been judging books by their covers for a long time.”
As for Temple’s similarities with her character, she says that it’s all of her fashion sense. “She brings color into people’s lives—pinks and soft, fuzzy key ring charms that you wouldn’t expect to necessarily see in a workplace, and I am definitely guilty of having those things in my life.” While the role is more lighthearted and fun, Keeley has also taught Temple to love herself more. “I can be pretty unkind to myself, and she’s somebody that teaches you to be kinder to yourself.”
The star has had quite the year so far. In addition to filming Ted Lasso, she’s premiered the Paramount+ miniseries The Offer, based on the making of the iconic 1972 film The Godfather.“I first watched The Godfather with my dad when I was about 14 or 15 years old. It was right around the time I told my parents that I really wanted to be an actress,” she says. “I remember it was like a secret window into the pure humanity of people that might be labeled as scary and violent and gangsters, and actually they are fathers, they’re husbands, they’re sons, they’re humans.”
Temple says she has probably seen The Godfather at least 20 times in her life, but had no idea how difficult it was to get it made. “The idea that someone like Francis Ford Coppola wouldn’t be hired in a heartbeat to make a movie or Pacino wouldn’t be good enough to play the lead, or the actual author Mario Puzo, the author of the book, isn’t the smartest choice for the script, and that’s not even including the mafia side of things,” she says. “People actually risked their lives to make this movie!”
She feels lucky to be offered the role of Bettye McCartt, the real-life assistant to the film’s producer Al Ruddy (Miles Teller). McCartt would later become a talent manager who worked with clients including George Clooney, Tom Selleck and Anthony Quinn.
One of the qualities that drew Temple to the role was how ahead of her time McCartt was. “She’s not sex appeal kind of coquettish. She is [Al Ruddy’s] teammate, his comrade, and ultimately they become family because they go through things that they cannot discuss with anybody else,” she explains. Ruddy and McCartt’s friendship is another one Temple is proud of, similar to that of Keeley and Rebecca. “People often say, ‘Men and women can’t be friends; it’s not possible,’ and I fully disagree,” she says. “I don’t know if I have the toughness that Bettye does. It was really awesome to play somebody like that because I hope I take away some of her toughness into my own life. She’s so powerful and also quiet about it, not asking for praise ever. She just gets things done and she loves the magic of the movies.”
Temple is also thrilled to play a woman who is teaching a man things throughout their journey of making one of the greatest films of all time. She sees her character arc similar to Keeley’s, who at the end of season 2 of Ted Lasso has an opportunity to become her own boss. “At the end of The Offer, you have somebody who is letting their fledgling bird out of the nest and telling them you’ve got some really strong wings, so go fly wherever you need to.”
As for Temple herself, she’s already soaring. Concerning the future, she says her dream role would be to play a part in a Western. “I just love playing different women—I love learning about as many aspects of us as possible,” she says. “It’s an honor, the different shoes I’ve already gotten to walk in, and it’s taught me a lot. My dream is to keep playing women that teach me things.”
Photography by: Photographed by Harry Eelman; Styling: Chaine Leyendecker, cleyendecker.com, @chaineley; Hair: Mara Roszak, rozhair.com, @mararoszak; Makeup: Kara Yoshimoto Bua, a-frameagency.com, @karayoshimotobua