by Sebastian Doggart
“When I was at Bedales,” the actress Juno Temple told me recently, speaking about her posh English high school, “I once got my buddy Rupert Everett to write my drama essay for me. But that wasn’t such a great idea -- it only got a C-minus.”
It’s an anecdote of precocious mischief that mirrors the personality of one of Britain’s most promising rising stars. I met Juno at a bar in Park City, Utah, where she was promoting two new movies. I introduced myself with the best line I could think of to secure an interview: “I think you're amazing,” I raved. “You remind me of Kate Winslet – only more beautiful.”
Her big, grey-blue eyes widened and she embraced me in a warm hug. “That is so, like, lovely of you to say.”
The Indie It-Girl of Sundance was wearing black leather trousers and a stained blue top. Her pretty face and tangled hair gave her the look of a punk doll. She wore two rings, a gold one she said had been given to her by her mother; and, on her wedding finger, her grandmother's diamond engagement ring.
“Bet that keeps the guys on their best behaviour,” I quipped.
“Damn right it does!”
She was clutching a glass of red wine – “my fifth,” she said proudly. Alcohol combined with my flattery to open the flood-gates of her candor. Her reedy voice was hoarse from the round of interviews she had been giving, but she was happy to tell me her intriguing life story.
Juno was born 21 years ago into a showbiz family. Her mother is a producer, Amanda Pirie. Her father is Julien Temple, the film director who made the two most important films about the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (1980) and The Filth and the Fury (2000). Temple also directed Absolute Beginners (1986), the disastrous musical that helped destroy Goldcrest studio. Temple brushed himself off and went on to direct music videos for Janet Jackson, David Bowie and Whitney Houston, as well as the 2006 documentary, about the British music festival.
“My parents are f-----g cool,” she told me, using the expletive for emphasis, as she does repeatedly. “From when I was really tiny, they used to take me to Glastonbury. That was like our family tradition.”
Juno speaks with a transatlantic accent, turning Ts into Ds – as in “wa-der” rather than “wa-ter” – and that reflects her background. “I was born in England,” she said, “which was, like, uncool, because it would make my life so much easier if I had been an American. Then my family moved to America, where I spent my first four years.”
Her name originated from a visit that her parents paid to the Grand Canyon when her mother was pregnant. “They named these places with Egyptian mythology words, like Jupiter Temple. My parents found out they were standing on Juno Temple and, bingo.“
Juno moved back to England when she was four, to live in a 16th century farmhouse in Somerset. “It was just like Alice in Wonderland being there,” she remembers. “It’s really the only thing I miss about England.”
This was the age she first wanted to become an actress: “My dad had this big stripy couch and I was lying on it, and he showed me Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête. It’s one of the most amazing movies of all time. There’s this one moment where the Beast carries Belle through this room and her clothes just transform. I remember thinking, ‘That’s magic – I want to be in movies’.”
She went to Enmore Primary School and then got her first acting gig, in her father’s film Vigo: Passion for Life (1998), about the French filmmaker Jean Vigo and his struggle with tuberculosis. “But my dad just cut me totally out of the movie. I was like so pissed.”
She put aside her acting dreams and went to school as a weekly boarder at King’s College, Taunton. She briefly thought about becoming a fashion designer and, when she moved school to Bedales, she chose to study textiles for one of her A-levels. When she was 15, she told her parents she wanted to be an actress. They were supportive.
“I am so lucky with my family,” she says. “I know they’re always going to be the