Q&A: Juno Temple on Far From the Madding Crowd, Johnny Depp's Black Mass transformation, and rock 'n' roll

Originally published on May 1, 2015 (Cineplex)

Juno Temple, Far From the Madding Crowd, photo

Listing the Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, and Paul Thomas Anderson as her Bucket List of directors with whom to work, Juno Temple’s film choices are best described as eclectic. The daughter of rock and roll filmmaker Julien Temple, Juno had a creative, rebellious spirit instilled in her at an early age, and her career has reflected that greatly.

Starring opposite Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns, she’s never been one to back away from darker roles. On the other hand, she’s also completely willing to play dress-up every once and a while. You may remember her as a fairy in Maleficent or as Queen Anne, dripping in pearls and lace, in Paul W. S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers.

Juno’s next film is Far From the Madding Crowd, which was directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt) and also stars Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon), and An Education’s Carey Mulligan as the heroine, Bathsheba.

In this adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel, Juno does another turn as one of her excessively beautiful yet damaged women. This time, she’s Fanny, a young woman who falls in love with a soldier (Tom Sturridge) who doesn’t quite deserve her.

In advance of Far From the Madding Crowd’s May 1 release, we talked to Juno Temple about the lasting impact of Hardy’s Bathsheba, her upcoming projects with Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp, and a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll.


Juno TempleCINEPLEX: Can you tell me a little bit about Fanny’s character, and how she fits into Far From the Madding Crowd’s story?

JUNO TEMPLE: Fanny is such a beautiful character to play because she’s such a fighter. She’s a young woman who has a really tragic tale, but at the same time, she also doesn’t allow herself to feel sorry for herself. She goes out fighting. She’s not given very many opportunities, but she has the willpower to make it work.

She also has this amazing love affair with Sergeant Troy. They are to be wed, but she goes to the wrong church. Then everything spirals into a dark place for her because Sergeant Troy truly believes that she stood him up, but she didn’t. She just makes such a huge, huge miscommunication.

That was so heartbreaking to me that she didn’t make it to the right church that day because I really feel that these characters were meant to be together. They made each other happy, and they truly were in love. They were going to have a child together, a magical life together, and it all goes so wrong.

The tragedy with her – back in that time – being a young woman, pregnant, and not married, you’re almost seen as trash. You’re damaged goods.

She has a complicated life that’s so incredibly hard after she goes to the wrong church. It just broke my heart because if she had just made it five minutes earlier, she would’ve ran in there and she would’ve made it.

Carey MulliganCINEPLEX: With such a lack of great stories for women, Far From the Madding Crowd’s Bathsheba and Carey Mulligan’s portrayal of her seems so important.

JT: Honestly, I think it was such great casting because Carey Mulligan is such a strong, amazing woman. She gives Bathsheba such beautiful, beautiful life. The character is so inspirational because she really is this incredibly independent, fantastic woman – especially in that time period. It also works for our generation in such a huge way now to inspire young women, you know?

[Far From the Madding Crowd’s] Bathsheba is such a great combination of Thomas Vinterberg and Carey Mulligan. They’re both such incredible artists of today. Carey’s an incredibly brave actress – so diverse – and she feels like someone who should inspire young women all the time. [laughs]


CINEPLEX: You mentioned Thomas Vinterberg. What was it like working with him?

JT: Amazing. He’s so incredible with actors. He just knows how to get extraordianary emotions out of you, but also able to nurture you after you’ve gone there. As an actor, you feel ready to let all the walls down and give whatever you’ve got inside of you – even more than you realized you did because you now have somebody to guide you through it.

CINEPLEX: How were you first introduced to his filmmaking?

JT: I had actually auditioned for him before when I was about seventeen, and it was one of the best auditions of my life. [laughs]


JT: It was a wonderful audition where he – again – stripped me down and then brought me back up again. I’d work with him over and over agains because I think that the performances that he gets out of actors are so brave and fearless.

Juno Temple, Julien TempleCINEPLEX: I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to ask about your father briefly. Has he had any particular influence on your career?

JT: Yeah. Definitely. He’s the reason I’m doing all of this, to be truly honest with you. He’s one of the most special humans on the planet, and I’m lucky enough to have him as a dad. He’s inspired me from the minute I popped out into this universe.

He always said to me that you have to do things that you’re passionate about because when you’ve committed yourself to something you don’t believe in you let yourself and others around you down.

CINEPLEX: Do you have a favourite film of your father’s?

JT: As a kid, I used to watch Earth Girls Are Easy on repeat because I thought it was the coolest movie of all time.

I’m also a huge fan of all my father’s documentaries. I think that he’s an absolute genius at making documentaries. He’s got one in England right now – [Oil City Confidential] – that’s about a musician named Wilko Johnson. I can’t wait to see it. Everyone that has seen it so far has said it’s the most moving and extraordinary documentary. I’m so excited.


CINEPLEX: Speaking of rock 'n' roll, what was it like auditioning for Martin Scorsese’s new HBO drama?

Juno Temple in Black MassJT: That was nerve-wracking. [laughs] Very frightening, nerve-wracking, but at the same time you have to challenge yourself and you’ve got to go in there and pretend you’re not frightened or nervous.

Even going into a room like that – even if it’s not going to go any further than that – You go in a spend half an hour, forty-five minutes auditioning in front of a master of his class – That’s pretty spectacular.


CINEPLEX: The trailer for Black Mass came out yesterday.

JT: I just saw it! It looks so good!

CINEPLEX: Can you tell me a little bit about that project, and about your character, Deborah?

JT: Deborah Hussy comes to a bad end, unfortunately.

Scott Cooper is a director that I could work with over and over and over again. He’s so passionate, so brilliant with actors.

From the trailer and being on the set, I think that Johnny Depp is going to give the most extraordinary performance. His transformation is such a brilliant one. He looks so frightening – in the trailer, when he’s talking in this calm tone. It gives me the chills even talking about it.