Juno Temple interview: ‘Ted Lasso’

Juno Temple has been on a roll for the past year. Last June, she was cast as Bettye McCart, an assistant to producer Al Ruddy, on the Paramount+ limited series “The Offer,” about the making of “The Godfather.” In July, Temple received her first Emmy Award nomination for playing Keely on the hit series “Ted Lasso.” Later that same month, Temple won further raves for her performance on Season 2 of the Apple TV+ comedy, which has her back in the Emmy conversation once again.

“I’m just stoked that it has opened doors for certain people that hadn’t been opened before – me included,” Temple tells Gold Derby in an exclusive video interview. “I’m not sure ‘The Offer’ would have come into my world [without ‘Ted Lasso’]. That was something that I remember getting the phone call being offered ‘The Offer,’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean? Oh my God.’”

Based on the experiences Ruddy had as the producer of “The Godfather,” “The Offer” finds Temple’s McCartt navigating the famed Paramount lot in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as she and Ruddy (Miles Teller) attempt to bring Mario Puzo’s blockbuster novel to the big screen. Throughout the 10-episode limited series, McCartt is asked to balance the interests of many warring parties – including the New York mafia, the Paramount and Gulf and Western executives funding the project, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler), a troupe of finicky actors (including Anthony Ippolito as a young Al Pacino), and Ruddy himself. But her relationship with the producer – he trusts her instincts more than anyone else – makes up the emotional core of the series.

“I think the thing that was so magic with Miles is that he was so nurturing with me as as an actor because I was nervous I joined on quite late in the game,” Temple says. “It was such an extraordinary project, in general, just from a learning perspective – but then also to help it come to life…. We’re not making ‘The Godfather,’ we’re telling the story of how hard it was from this producer’s experience to get this movie made, and how passion ultimately, and fighting for things to be how you know they need to really do pay off. And Miles is somebody that believes that through and through. He’s somebody that worked really hard. And we talked a lot about the scenes, but also we ended up becoming really great friends.”

There are major Hollywood icons depicted in “The Offer” – men like Coppola and Marlon Brando (played by Justin Chambers), about whom numerous articles, essays, and books have been written. McCartt, however, remained relatively anonymous in her life. After the events shown in “The Offer,” McCartt later became a talent manager and worked with Tom Selleck, Anthony Quinn, and George Clooney. She died in 2013.

“When I first started to think about figuring out who Bettye McCartt was, you type her into Google, there is not a lot of information about her – which, in this day and age I have such respect for. I think it’s kind of an incredible thing to actually have remained that sort of private person,” Temple says. “I suppose in a weird way, that might also be why we don’t know so much about her because it’s something that perhaps meant quite a lot to her. And it kind of left an extraordinary door open for me to create a character with a lot of guidance.” As part of her preparation process, Temple created an entire character history for McCartt that relied less on true-life facts and more on potential experiences and influences. She also leaned on executive producer Nikki Toscano. “She is a woman in Hollywood who handles herself with such grace and such intelligence and yet has such fiery passion,” Temple says.

While “The Offer” wraps up its season on Paramount+, Temple has been busy working on Season 3 of “Ted Lasso.” The comedy won multiple Emmy Awards last year and is expected to score numerous nominations this year for its second season, including Temple in the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category.

“She’s like a dear friend at this point,” Temple says of her character, Keely. “She got me through the lockdown. What a character to get to play in a time when it felt like [the world] was potentially coming to an end. She was somebody that definitely helped me be a lot kinder to myself, and I can be on a daily basis.”

Temple is loathed to discuss any spoilers about the third season but has been energized by the new season. “I think coming back and doing Season 3 just feels exciting, because it’s kind of like the most real-life job I’ve ever had, where you’re learning about your character, as you’re shooting it,” she says. “Because we get scripts not way ahead of time. And so you’re learning things in a way that you’re so in the moment. And I think that that’s quite an exciting way to do it, especially on a show that is so about being human.”

“The Offer” is on Paramount+. All episodes of “Ted Lasso” are streaming on Apple TV+.

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2022 4:31 pm