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Juno Temple’s recalling her reaction to watching the opening episode of Vinyl, the latest TV offering from Martin Scorsese, following the huge success of his Prohibition-set Boardwalk Empire.
“I came out shaking, like I was high as a kite,” the 26-year-old says excitedly. “It felt like a Scorsese film to me. You don’t want to look away for a minute. You don’t want to pee, you don’t cough, you don’t sneeze, and what a great way to bring in the show with that kind of energy.

The 10-part drama is set in Seventies New York, and offers a ride through the sex and drug-addled music business at the dawn of the punk, disco and hip-hop eras (Mick Jagger is a co executive producer).

Temple, who appeared in last year’s Far From The Madding Crowd, plays Jamie Vine, an assistant at the record company run by Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), who she describes as “pretty feisty and fearless”.

I’m so inspired by her fearlessness, and I hope people think I’m brave with the films I do, and now TV. It’s important to be fearless. You might fall on your face but sometimes, my God, you run a marathon,” exclaims the London-born actress.

What inspires me with Jamie is her joy of being a woman and how she owns that. And even though it’s a time when it was so male-orientated, especially in that industry, she’s not scared of that. She’s going to make herself heard, you know?

Temple believes that while they share “a lot of similarities”, there’s a glaring difference between her and her music-obsessed alter ego.

I spend a lot of my life in my pyjamas, and she would never be caught dead in her pyjamas,” she admits, laughing.

She’s pretty fond of her character’s Seventies clothes, though.

As a woman, it makes you feel stoked to leave the house. They hug the body in the right way. It’s about accentuating being a woman and owning being a woman, and they were really doing that [in the Seventies] because sexuality was open to them in such a new way.”

The petite actress, who’s based in Los Angeles these days, auditioned for the role in New York.

I got a phone call a week or so later to say Marty [Scorsese] wanted to read me, which was definitely a moment,” she grins.

I was like, well if it doesn’t go any further, that’s probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened. So I went and read for him and I didn’t think it was going to go my way, but then 10 days later, my agents called me.”

She was getting ready for a Christmas party at the time and didn’t allow herself to really register the good news. Finally, she was told to sit down and listen. “I wept, because I’m a very emotional person, and then woke my entire family up at 3am!

Her father Julien is a director, who started out making short films with the Sex Pistols.

He was a young man in the Seventies in London and [around] the big punk movement that happened. His stories are amazing,” Temple says of her dad.

That visceral feeling that generation had about needing change, and it came through music. Like God Save The Queen. It makes you feel something and shakes your bones and you think, ‘God, yeah, I’ve got to get up and follow that!’

Temple states she isn’t “a fan of the music today”.

I mean, there are a few artists that I really love, but a lot of stuff sounds like strange noise,” she notes, suddenly sounding a lot older than her years. “Music back then, whether it was about sex or drugs or revolution, it was really told to you in a way that felt like storytelling – and you were really moved by it.

One of Temple’s earliest films was 2000’s Pandaemonium, which her father directed, and she received acclaim for 2006’s Notes On A Scandal, with Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench, and also impressed critics with her performance as mature-beyond-her-years Lola Quincey in 2007’s Atonement, alongside Keira Knightley.

She’s since appeared in a string of films, including The Other Boleyn Girl, Glorious 39 and Killer Joe.

I definitely want to challenge myself. I also think when you sign on to a role, you have to be OK with leaving a little piece of you with that person and let that be theirs forever,” she says.

Does she take something from the characters she plays too?

Always. I think you learn something from every character you play,” Temple responds.

I did a film called Little Birds [in 2011, in which she played a suicidal girl] and the director is one of my best friends to this day. I was very young and definitely left a lot of me there – which needed to stay there!

Vinyl marks her first foray into television.

It’s different because of the amount of time you get to spend with a character, and you can potentially spend years with that character,” she notes.

At first I was like, ‘Woah, that’s like having a baby or getting married, I’m so young and I won’t be able to go to Iceland for a job if I want to‘, but I can’t tell you how much I loved it.

It’s the closest to real life I’ve felt about a part, because you don’t know what’s going to happen to your character. You figure that out when the scripts arrive. I find it invigorating,” she continues. “It’s so great to spend that much time with a person and really develop them, and I think she has the potential to have such a wild ride.”

Although she’s appeared on screen for most of her life, she admits she still feels nerves on set, “until they say, ‘Action’, and then you’ve got to channel it into something else“.

Sometimes I’m OK watching myself. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to watch an entire TV show I was in but after seeing the pilot, absolutely I am! This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m living my ultimate fantasy.”

Temple’s filming Abe with Finn Wittrock next – “It’s about a guy and his imaginary friend, an awesome script” – and then hopes to return to shoot series two of Vinyl. She also wants to move to New York permanently.

That was one of my New Year resolutions. I grew up storming around London, and New York feels like a different version of London. It feels like a city with heartbeat and LA feels very mellow,” she notes.

I’ve had some of the best times of my life there, starting my adult life as an independent woman since I was 19, but there are things that are frustrating. It feels fake a lot of the time. It’s very sunny and [adopting a squeaky voice], ‘This is where dreams are made’.

New York’s got electricity that my heart is really drawn to at the moment,” Temple adds. “I’m done with being mellow.

Vinyl begins on Sky Atlantic on Monday, February 15.


Labels: Interview, News, Vinyl