Ted Lasso has gone from the series everybody was talking about to one that the world is watching, seemingly overnight. The series revolves around AFC Richmond, a struggling English Premier League football team. Even with an ensemble made up of an array of rich and colorful characters Keeley Jones, played by Juno Temple, has been a stand out.
While Temple has numerous acting credits, it is her work on Ted Lasso that has cast a spotlight on her work. She surprised her fans (and herself) by taking on the role of Keeley Jones, her first high profile comedic role. She even questioned if Jason Sudeikis had the right actress in mind. But, as proven time and time again, he knew exactly what he was doing. As Keeley, Temple has provided more than her fair share of laughs over the first two seasons. In addition, she is an ambitious, loyal and compassionate character who proves she is so much more than a pretty face. Much like Joey’s conversation last week with co-star Phil Dunster (here), she had lots of great tidbits to share.
Juno spoke to Awards Radar about her work on season two, her chemistry with Brett Goldstein, the evolution of Keeley and more subjects Ted Lasso fans will appreciate. Like her character on the series, Temple is not to be underestimated (as also seen in her prior interview with Joey here). She may seem like a panda, but inside is a lion ready to roar. Enjoy the interview.
Steven Prusakowski: First of all, I absolutely love the series. Have been watching it since day one and I’ve been telling people to watch it. Now that it is a huge hit those same people are coming back and telling me, ‘You have to watch Ted Lasso!’
Juno Temple: Oh, that makes me happy. I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s a fun one to make. And it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. It’s one of those series that I think, as actors, we get to enjoy watching it as well as being in it. It’s like being a fan of the show, even though you’re a part of it. Because, there are so many scenes, but as Keeley. I’m not aware of them or getting to watch Nate’s storyline or Jamie’s storyline, or Coach Beard. These characters have these whole journeys that I didn’t get to see while I was shooting it, and I get to see them afterwards. And, it’s like I’m a fan of the show.
Steven Prusakowski: You’ve been working in film and television for about 20 years. How did it lead to Ted Lasso?
Juno Temple: Actually, that was a moment in time where I actually got a text from Jason Sudeikis, who I’d met a couple of times. I remember him reaching out and saying that you had this pilot that he was interested in me reading. Could he send it to me, and then we could talk about it privately if I liked it, or if I didn’t. But before we got agents and everything involved, I remember panicking and I was like, ‘Oh no. I think he thinks I’m a different actress,’ because this is gonna be a comedy and I am not known for comedy work. And then I ran back being like, ‘are you sure?’ He was like, ‘yeah.’ And so he sent it to me and I read the pilot, and I absolutely loved it. He was like, ‘Do you want to sit down and talk about it and sort of talk about the journey for Keeley?’ I was like, ‘I’d love to.’ And so within, I don’t know, like five days, it was like, ‘Cool. Yeah, let’s do this.’ And I am still just floored and eternally grateful that he thought of me for this really delightful character.
Steven Prusakowski: It’s gotta be wonderful for Jason to have that faith in you. As you said you weren’t a comedy actress at the time.
Juno Temple: I think that’s part of the joy of this for me is that I’m surrounded by genius comedians, and writers that write brilliant dialogue and I just have to act it and then the little angel that is Keeley that so much of it is already done for me. I can’t take all the credit for that by any means because it’s like yeah, I’ve been handed such an amazing character to play with. I also think a lot of the times there are moments that as Juno, I don’t quite understand the humor, (laughs) and so that will just happen as Keeley and I think those are some of the moments that make it very funny.
Steven Prusakowski: I believe a lot of people disagree with your assessment of your comedy acting, because you have some very funny moments in the series.
Juno Temple: Thank you. Well, I am honored that this is a new category that people will consider me for because god damn I think it’s a hard one and a brilliant one.
Steven Prusakowski: It’s yeah, the characters are so very well written and Keeley being one of them how she evolved since we first met her is through your eyes.
Juno Temple: In my opinion, she’s evolved by making incredible friendships, and especially the one with Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham). That has opened her eyes to seeing herself in a different way to how she saw herself before in season one. She says, ‘I’m famous for kind of almost being famous,’ and I think now she is actually able to see her ability as a one woman who has a really great brain for running a PR company. And that’s something that I think, in season one, if you told her that was gonna happen to her, she’d be like, ‘you haven’t enough, mate? No way.’ So I think that’s the way, the belief in her brain that I think Rebecca has really, really helped her to see is the main change in her. The way she’s walking through life, but it’s not with arrogance – it’s about the fact that somebody believed in her and then she was like, ‘Shit, okay, maybe I can do this.’
Steven: It sounds familiar, right?
Juno Temple: (laughs) Yeah, exactly. Right? But then also having that friendship where when it is scary, she can reach out to her friends, and Rebecca gives her the best advice.
Steven Prusakowski: I noticed one moment in this season, to where you see Keeley’s PR instincts kick in. They’re about to take a team photo, and Keeley’s like, ‘down with the beers’ because there’s a kid in the photo. The characters have more layers and some don’t surface until much later.
Juno Temple: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s what the genius of this show is, in general, the way it’s kind of the seeds that are sprinkled throughout it. And then you watch it back and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that seed was planted eight episodes ago.’ And I think that’s where the writing is so genius. So genius.
Steven Prusakowski: Yeah, it’s gotta be wonderful to work with that. And you have to be able to put your faith completely in the writers’ hands, knowing that you’re in good shape.
Juno Temple: Yeah, really good shape, good hands and their hands that you trust, you know?
Steven Prusakowski: How much do you and Keeley have in common?
Juno Temple: Um, we definitely have a lot of wardrobe, and hair and makeup choices in common – that is for sure. I actually get to use quite a lot of my own personal wardrobe and jewelry and even hair pieces in the show. And also, just the general aesthetic of her house to her bedroom, her dressing room and what you guys will get to see as an office space in season three. I sometimes feel like Paul Cripps, who is our set designer, has actually snuck into my house. We’ve got very, very similar tastes in that regard. And, I like to have a positive attitude to people around me. I think it’s a really wonderful thing to be curious and ask people questions about themselves and really listen and learn and see the best in people. But I still think I have quite a lot to learn from her with – kind of being able to sort of project that on myself, I guess. But at the same time, I’m playing her for a whole other six months. So hopefully by the end of that, that will rub off on me.
Steven Prusakowski: Keeley and Roy’s relationship is wonderful to watch and it was kind of unexpected. Then again, it’s one of those things that if you do watch back, you see the seeds kind of planted before it kicks off. What’s it like working with Brett Goldstein, on and off camera to develop this chemistry?
Juno Temple: Oh, man, it’s just a pleasure, because he’s such a truly humble and gentle and curious and kind human. And, and so it and also because he is one of the head writers on the show that the insight that he has to being able to make seems, you know, makes sense, if you’re, you know, asking questions. And so having somebody that’s involved in the off-camera and on-camera, well, that is an extraordinary thing, but also somebody that’s just so open to talking through scenes and making them feel alive and real. It’s been a very, very special experience. And also, I’m so proud to see how the world has reacted to him on screen. And I think, it’s his moment to really shine because he’s such a talent and such a kind person. The same with Hannah Waddingham – these extraordinary humans that are just so real and so humble and so brilliant at what they do. I’m so excited that the world’s getting to kind of appreciate that.
Steven Prusakowski: Do you have a favorite scene or a moment in the series that stands out to you?
Juno Temple: I really love the moment in season one where Rebecca goes into Ted’s office and confesses her reasoning behind hiring him, and that he immediately forgives her. I absolutely love that moment. And I loved the reaction that people had to that moment of like, wow, that was easy, and quick, and whoa, shit, you need to think about that. I think that is a really special scene. I also really love, again in season one, where Keeley gets to hype up Rebecca on the red carpet. I love that it’s such a beautiful moment of two women kind of bonding and supporting each other. Because then, later on, there’s the scene when in the bathroom, Rebecca tells her that Jamie brought another date. And then also the scene that happens in the gala with Roy and Jamie where Roy calls Keeley out and says, ‘Don’t use me in your bullshit games, because that’s not fair.’ And that moment of accountability and what accountability means and how important it is. I think it’s a really profound one. But then also, all throughout season two, I loved all the scenes I got to do with Rory and getting to develop this. But you know, you see, it’s not the courtship anymore. And it’s not the ending. It’s the existence of a relationship. And that was a really fun thing for me and Brett to explore and talk about in the sense of like, that’s hard sometimes. And sometimes it’s easy. And I think that was really fun for us to get to explore that. And you know, anytime I get to do a scene with Hannah is one of the best days ever.
Steven Prusakowski: It sounds like you’re choosing just about every scene in the show.
Juno Temple: I mean, honestly.
Steven Prusakowski: I tend to agree I
Juno Temple: I enjoy it. But yeah, I really do.
Steven Prusakowski: We do as well. So just one last question. Quick and easy one. Can you describe Keeley in three words?
Juno Temple: Filled. With. Light.
Steven Prusakowski: I’ll take that. Thank you so much for your time. I’m really looking forward to the next season. And am just so happy to see the love the world has for this series and to see it continue to grow. Especially in this day and age. It’s great to see something nice – kind of stand out as this beacon for people.
Juno Temple: I agree. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. Thank you so much. Thank you.