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Juno Temple: The 'chameleon' actress whose face you just can't place

Despite appearances in Killer Joe, Atonement and The Dark Knight Rises the Baftas Rising Star nominee still goes largely unrecognised she tells Nick Clark

Juno Temple may not be a household name in Britain yet but big things are predicted for the actress in the running for the title of this year’s rising star at the Baftas.

“It’s such an extraordinary thing to happen,” the 23-year old told The Independent after the five EE Rising Star Award nominees were announced.

“I’m on the list with such great actors, whose films I’m excited to see when they come out. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”

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The native Brit could lay claim to the title of hardest-working young actress currently making independent films, and her enthusiasm is infectious.

“I just want to work forever. I absolutely love what I’m doing. I learn all the time from all these amazing artists,” she said.

Temple won her first role in an audition for Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, and would appear in Atonement, the St. Trinian’s films and The Other Boleyn Girl. 

Her breakout role in the eyes of many UK critics however was last year’s Killer Joe, in which she played the vulnerable Dottie opposite Matthew McConaughey, in a dark thriller set in Texas.

Temple likes the idea of being an acting “chameleon” and has sought roles that would test her range. She said: “Last year was crazy, I played a schizophrenic, a prostitute, a fairy and a dead girl, whose story was told in flashbacks. The amount of different, strong women I got to play last year was fantastic.”

Yet, her favourite characters are women from America’s south. “There’s something so innocent and yet not. You have to dig through their layers, especially with some of the characters that have been sent my way. They’re good to unpeel.”

Many will have seen her this year, possibly without realising it, briefly in blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises as Jen, the pickpocketing flatmate of Selina Kyle.

She said: “Batman was crazy because I never read the script. I got on the plane flew here and was told who I was playing the day I arrived.”

While Ms Temple is engaging and outgoing in interviews, she guards her privacy and is apprehensive of the pitfalls of fame, especially in the wake of blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises. She said: “At the moment people don’t really come up to me and I like that.”

This could change following the nomination. “It should be okay… But the paparazzi stuff is crazy. I’ve had one bad experience, and it was horrible. I’m a private person; I stick to my neighbourhood and eat in my little restaurants.”

While she grew up in England, her home is now in Los Angeles. “It’s the town for making movies. I went out for a film and ended up staying.”

Filmmaking runs through the veins. Her father is Julien Temple, a film, documentary and music video director and her mother, Amanda, is a producer.  “While it can be a very glamorous job, my parents know that sometimes it’s not fun. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.”

She has three films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which starts later this month. Afternoon Delight, in which she stars alongside Josh Radnor, is in competition. Magic Magic with Michael Cera is a midnight screening and Lovelace, about pornstar Linda Lovelace, is premiering at the festival.

On choosing projects, she said: “It’s all about the director for me; we have to click. It’s a trust thing. I’ll say I’m ready to let down my walls. I’ll cry for you as long as you need. But you’re going to have to hug me afterwards.”

As for the hardest-working actress in Independent cinema? She laughs and pumps her fist: “I’m going to keep it up.”