Juno Temple is a woman on the verge a major breakthrough.
Audiences are going to get a taste of what Temple, the 22-year-old daughter of film director Julien Temple (“Absolute Beginners”), can do with stints in high-profile films like Paul W.S. Anderson’s hyper-kinetic take on “The Three Musketeers”, and next year’s breathlessly awaited Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises,” but it’s in the tiny, captivating indie “Dirty Girl” – that Temple truly announces herself as an emerging talent to be reckoned with.
Playing Danielle, a slutty Southern trailer-park teen who forms an unlikely bond with Clarke (newcomer Jeremy Dozier), a gay teen from an abusive home, as they road trip away from their family dramas, Temple is the crackling lightning rod at the center of writer-director Abe Sylvia's knowing film, a movie so adroitly '80s it almost seems made in the era. PopcornBiz caught up with the movie star-in-the-making.
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In this role you get to do a little bit of everything: be sexy, funny and nasty; you get to cry and scream and fight with people. Was this just a dream, in terms of testing your range?
“Yeah, I read the script and wanted to be involved in it so badly. It is – it's a dream role for any young woman to play, and not only all the different emotions going on, but she's also got so many layers going on down there in a big way. There are so many different things going on behind her eyes. I love that, where someone is having a conversation with somebody but they're thinking about someone else, that kind of thing. Danielle was one of the coolest roles that I'd ever read in my life.”
This isn't an typical movie set in the ‘80s that's so on the nose and in your face with Ms. Pac-Man or a Rubik’s Cube on every table top. How did you connect to the subtle differences of that time period? Were you even born in the ‘80s?
"1989 – I just turned 22. The music: Abe [Sylvia] gave us the soundtrack from the get-go because we were rehearsing the dance routines, too. I didn't see people doing that at The Roosevelt on a Saturday night! And the way that the set was dressed, the way that you walked into your bedroom – it's a whole different world that you're invited to that feels different and smells different, everything. Costumes, too: you hold yourself differently in the costumes. But the coolest thing ever that I loved and thought was the best choice that Abe made was that Danielle was much more a '70's girl than an '80's girl. She has all her mom's hand-me-downs and looks different in high school. Nobody else is dressed like her."
Were you comfortable with the overt sexuality that was putting out there at the beginning of the film or did you have to find a place in your head to do that?
"No – I'm not playing me. Nobody knows what I'm really like when I'm trying to pick up a boy. I'm playing a character. Sexuality stuff isn't something that really daunts me. I find violence more daunting, actually. I've done quite a lot of sexy stuff in movies, and I don't know, if it feels right it feels right. If it doesn't, you shouldn't do it, I think. I think the whole thing about being sexy is being unaware that you're sexy, like, I don't know when the camera is filming my butt. You shouldn't think about it in that way. You should think about what the point of the scene is. But I think when you're young you're discovering your sexuality and playing with it, figuring it out and you don't know what's going on. It's funny, especially when you're in your '80's clothing and you've got a camel-toe with weird, straight hair and you're sweating in the L.A. heat. It's like you don't feel desperately sexy, but you just want to do the scene and do it right."
Your role in “The Dark Knight Rises” is still top secret, but what can you say about your experiences making that film?
"It's extraordinary. It's one of the coolest opportunities that I've ever been given, for sure, to work with such an extraordinary cast. I'm so stoked to be a part of it. I mean, it's all kinds of making a movie. You have to go and you have to be prepared. It's my day job. It's what I do, and sometimes it's different. Sometimes it's small. Sometimes it's big. Sometimes you meet everyone on the set. Sometimes you meet, like, a third of the people. That's just the way that it is, but you have to go and do your job. I think all jobs are daunting, however small or however large. You're nervous and you want to get it right. You want to nail it and make everyone proud."
When did you know that this was the job for you? That you simply HAD to be an actress?
"I was four years old, I remember it. My parents lived in L.A. at the time and I was lying on the couch and my dad had this projector screen. He put on Jean Cocteau's 'La Belle et la Bete' and I was mesmerized. My imagination had never been able to go to places like that. There's one scene where the Beast is carrying Beauty through this doorway and her clothes go from rags to riches. You see it happen and I remember watching it and thinking, 'I want to do that. I really want to do that. I want my clothes to change like that. I want to be carried by the Beast.' I was just mesmerized."
Dirty Girl opens Oct. 7