At 21, British actress Juno Temple is no newcomer; she first appeared alongside Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in "Notes on a Scandal" in her early teens. But 2011 is primed to be her year. With "Little Birds" and "Kaboom" at the Sundance Film Festival and three more awaiting release — including a 3D retelling of "The Three Musketeers" and "Dirty Girl," which was nabbed by the Weinstein Co. at the last Toronto International Film Festival — Temple's doll-like face is bound to become familiar.
The morning following the world premiere of "Little Birds," indieWIRE sat down to chat with Temple in Park City. Arriving a bit late, Temple apologized for her lack of voice and swiftly tore into a round of questions. Among the topics covered: being compared to a famous rock star, what inspired her to get into acting and her passion for playing damaged teenagers.
Below are snippets from the conversation. To watch the full conversation, view the video below.
At the world premiere of "Little Birds," director/writer Elgin James referred to you as Mick Jagger. What do you make of that statement?
I think that me and him just have this incredible relationship together. He’s like my brother. My life’s a better place with him in it. I think him saying that means that I’m willing to take a risk for him. I’m willing to do what I need to do to make a movie rock. I think acting is being a rock star. It’s about having enough trust in somebody that you will go that extra mile to do whatever they need you to do. I think we’d both jump in front of trains for each other.
You've played a lot of troubled teenagers in the past and Lily is no exception.
Lilly is a time bomb waiting to explode who isn't running toward anything. She doesn’t know where the fuck she’s going. She just wants out. She thinks she can do whatever she wants and the world fucking shows her she can’t.
There is a reason adulthood comes when it does and a reason why we have parents and why they take care of you. She makes a big mistake in that. She’s very naive about what the world can throw at you. That’s why I was so excited to play Lilly. She’s a complicated little bean because she’s so fragile, yet she’s so fucking feisty. If I knew her, I wouldn’t let her leave her my side. It’s kind of like that Angelina Jolie character in “Girl, Interrupted.” If you met her, all you would want to do is take care of her and make her feel better.
You're 21. Are you dying to play a character more in line with your actual age?
Everyone thinks I’m 16. I'm in talks to do a movie where I play a 25-year-old. I like playing teenagers because I’m definitely still such a child at heart.
It’s interesting when you’re in this business because you have to be so savvy and grownup at a certain amount of things, but you also can be a sort of child because so many people help you do things. So it’s this kind of weird oxymoron of being an adult child. I’m fascinated about being a teenager. I had an interesting teen life. I went through a bunch of emotions. It’s just a time in your life where you’re like, “What the fuck is going on with me!” As long as I can still play that, I will.
When did you discover your love for film?
I have this vivid memory of being four years old. Our family had this big striped couch and I was laying on it. My dad showed me Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et la Bete.” It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. There’s this one moment where the Beast carries Belle through this room and her clothes just change. I remember thinking, "That’s magic – I want to be in movies." Then I kind of have always. My parents are in the business [Temple's father is famed music video director Julien Temple; her mother is producer Amanda Pirie], so I was definitely born with the bug. I’ve doddled with other things. I want to design lingerie. But I think I always wanted to act.
Do you like being labeled as an indie 'It Girl'?
It blows my mind. I love to work and I never want to stop. I love making independent films. It’s like having a family and it breaks your heart every time it’s over. I don’t really know what all that "indie it girl" talk really means. It’s so nice having that said about you.
Your upcoming role as Queen Anne in Paul W.S. Anderson's 3D revamp of "The Three Musketeers" marks a big jump to the mainstream for you. Was this a calculated move on your part?
For me it’s about who I’m going to be working with and Mila Jovovich [Temple's co-star in "Dirty Girl"] is one of my favorite people in the world. She’s been so kind to me. I got to play the Queen of France! When will I ever get to play a Queen? It was just such a good time. I’ve been doing all these serious movies playing these fucking disturbed little girls. To suddenly play this powerhouse Queen? I love that — to change it around.
Lastly, what's it like having two films in the festival?
Mind blowing. It’s a little overwhelming, because you have to stay up so late and get up so early. What’s so nice about being here is that everyone just seems so excited to be here. There’s such a good energy. It’s my first time at Sundance so it’s like an explosion for me. I’m really honored to be here. It’s super cool.