British actress Juno Temple stars in Woody Allen’s latest film, Wonder Wheel, out in theatres today. We caught up with the 28-year old ingénue to learn about her acting roots and the lessons she’s taken away from working with some of Hollywood’s greats.

SBJCT You got your first acting gig at the age of ten – that’s pretty impressive!

Juno Temple Well, yes and no. It was my dad’s film (he’s a director), and actually I got cut from it!

SBJCT I guess it gave you a taste of the business at least!

JT Well, I got my first job independent from my family when I was 15. My parents both work in the industry, and when I told them at age 14 that I wanted to act, I could tell they were thinking “Oh shit, really?” Because it’s hard, especially for women… You’re so judged on your looks, you get told no a lot, spend lonely time in hotels, and I think my parents were worried about how that would affect me. But when the audition for Notes On A Scandal came my way, they were supportive – they said I should go and see how many other girls wanted to be actresses. So I went, and I waited in line for two hours with my best friend, and all they did was take a picture of me. The next day I got a phone call saying the director wanted me to come in and read for him, and I couldn’t believe it! I was terrified. It was one of those buildings with really thin walls and I could hear the audition before mine.

Two weeks later I was home with my mum, about to go do the shopping, and she came out to the car in tears. Thinking the worst, I asked her what was wrong, and she told me I’d gotten the part! I couldn’t believe it. But that was the start of it all, I guess.

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“Anyone will tell you that when you sign up to do a film with Woody you’re fucking terrified.”

SBJCT You’re now 28 years old. Who has been your greatest inspiration as you navigate this career and life?

JT My dad and my mum. They’ve lived a long time. (laughs) They know a lot! I’m lucky because they’ve been in this business, and so they understand that it’s not a life of glamour. It’s about the work. The work is the most important thing, and if you put in the work, its shows. They taught me that you have to be passionate about this business, because if you’re not, none of what you do is going to be believable. If you’re not passionate about a part, let somebody else who is passionate about it do it. You don’t have to do everything.

SBJCT What has been your favorite role thus far?

JT Oooh that’s a tough one. But I have to say I really did love playing Jamie in (Martin Scorsese’s) Vinyl. I just love the 70’s: the music, the fashion, all of it. And Jamie is this driven, feisty girl and someone I wish I could be in real life. I loved playing her.

SBJCT Your new film, Wonder Wheel, is out today. You star alongside Kate Winslet. And Woody Allen directed it. So it was a rag tag team 😉 How did you become involved with this film?

JT It was actually the day that Vinyl got canceled – a devastating day for me – that I got a call from my agent telling me Woody Allen wanted to meet me. I flew out to NY the next day, as anyone would, and I met him at his editing studio. He was there with our wonderful casting director, Patricia. I’d heard all the rumors about how it’s so quick when Woody Allen calls. It was nerve-wracking.

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SBJCT Had you any idea why you were there at that point?

JT Absolutely none!

SBJCT So what happened?

JT Well, I walked in and he said: “Well I really wanted to see if you were what I thought you would be.” And then I made a stupid joke which totally fell flat and then he said: “I’ve seen your work and it’s fine…”

SBJCT Like, great fine? Or average fine?

JT He just said, “I think this could be good. Do you want to read the script and see if you would like to play the part?” And I managed to stutter out some version of yes. And then he said casually, “It’s the 50’s in Coney Island. And Kate Winslet’s playing Ginny.” And so I read for him – and it’s such an amazing script to read, because the rhythm that you see on screen is the rhythm you read it as well.

SBJCT And the rest is history! What drew you to the role of Carolina in particular?

JT I was actually really touched that Woody thought I could play that role because there is a sweetness about her and an innocence that I really haven’t been given the opportunity to play. Even though she has a frightening past, she doesn’t carry it with her – she looks to the future. And I was really excited about that. And then of course you’ve got the challenge of the dialogue. And Kate Winslet. One of my favorite actresses of all time since I was eleven years old.  So that was incredible – to act alongside her, to do scenes with her.


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SBJCT What’s one thing that surprised you about working with Woody?

JT Well, I had always heard that he didn’t do rehearsals or give much direction. And the entire cast will agree with me when I say that was not the case at all. We had rehearsals every morning, until it was perfect. And he gave lots of direction, which was an honor, really. You’re just there to work – you don’t hang out. For example, you never arrive on set in your home clothes. You’re always in character. Every time you’re on that set, you’re in your character, and then you go home and go back to your own life.

SBJCT And working alongside one of your idols? What did Kate bring to the whole experience?

JT Kate brought such an amazing and calm energy. Anyone will tell you that when you sign up to do a film with Woody you’re fucking terrified. There is such a specific rhythm and dialogue, and if you’re one beat off the mark… Kate was such a leader – she created this incredible sense of calm.

SBJCT You’re 28 years old today. What advice would you give young actors as they begin their careers?

JT Don’t forge to breathe. And you have to really want to do this, because it is hard. I still cry like a baby when I don’t get a part that I really wanted. But I think the day I stop crying about a part is probably the day I should switch careers. This business is about really really caring and really believing in it.

PC Any advice you would give your younger self?

JT I would tell myself that you don’t have to be perfect to be an actress. Acting is about portraying truth and real life and real experiences that people can relate to.

The actresses that I am most in awe of are those who are not afraid to get down to the grind of it, to embrace roles that are unattractive or frightening. I think in this day and age, it can be dangerous to look into the wormhole of social media at what looks perfect. As an actress, you have to remember that it’s not about being perfect – it’s about being real. You’ve gotta be real. You’ve gotta do it with conviction. And you’ve got to leave behind a bit of your DNA with every role you play. Leave your thumbprint, always.

SBJCT And just as you leave your thumbprint on every role you’ve played, do you also take away a piece of that role and carry it with you in your real life?

JT: Abso-fucking-lutely.

SBJCT  What is the role of an actor?

JT Being an artist is not about following the crowd – it’s about following your mind and letting that creativity flow through you.

SBJCT Any parting words of wisdom?

JT I guess I would just say to keep learning. It’s the key to everything – it’s what makes you keep ticking. And also that women should be supportive of other women – especially in this time and climate. It’s such a waste of time to be competitive. It’s an incredible time to be a woman, and I look forward to the day I can continue the work of so many awesome women starting their own production companies, and creating the roles they want to play and to bring to life.

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Leave your thumbprint, always.