'Vinyl' Breakout Juno Temple on HBO's Male-Dominated Drama

"Yeah, it means I spend a lot of time with dudes, but that’s alright," says the 26-year-old actress.
Courtesy of HBO
James Jagger and Juno Temple in 'Vinyl'

From Olivia Wilde to Bobby Cannavale to Ray Romano, HBO’s Vinyl is filled with stars — but it’s a lesser-known name who steals the show.

Juno Temple makes her television debut in the 1970s-set music drama from Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger as Jamie, a feisty, cutthroat assistant at a struggling record label. Determined to stand out in a man’s world, she’s hand-picked a band (“The Nasty Bits,” whose lead singer is played by Jagger’s son, James Jagger) that’s caught the attention of her boss. Now, she’s banking on them getting her that promotion.

Up to this point, the London-born Temple, 26, has lined her résumé with films (most recently Meadowland, opposite Wilde, and Black Mass), but it was the pilot script from Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf of Wall Street) that drew the actress to the medium she says she once eschewed.

“Dude, can I be honest? I think television is where it’s at,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They’re making the bravest choices. F—king hell, it’s really cool. I’m really excited to be a part of a TV show.”

Ahead of the drama’s fourth episode, Temple talks to THR about her obsession with the ‘70s, working with Scorsese and Jagger and why she doesn’t mind being one of the lone women on the show.

Why were you turned off to TV and what made you change your mind?

I had never really considered doing TV before because it felt like such a commitment to me at such a young age to sign on to a TV show for six years. I was, like, “Whoa.” But then my agents told me to read this one. “We really think you’re going to dig it,” they said. Of course, it was the coolest thing I’d read in my life. I was like, “Goddammit!” And with the people backing it being Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, I definitely gave it my best shot … I eventually got a phone call saying that Martin Scorsese wanted me to go read for him when he was in Los Angeles. That’s the kind of call that when you get where you’re, like, “Alrighty, this is one of those moments you’re going to remember until the day you die.” And even if you don’t get the part, getting to be in the room and be directed by someone like that for 15 or 20 minutes is unbelievable. So I went in and I dressed in ‘70s clothes. I’m actually a huge vintage collector. Most of wardrobe is ‘70s pieces, so I had quite a lot to choose from. But I left thinking I didn’t get it. Auditions are crazy, man! You can never really read how they’ve gone. When I found out I got the part, I burst into tears and woke up my whole family at 3 o’clock in the morning in London.

So, you’ve come around to the idea of a 10-episode series?

Yeah. As an actor, the possibility of getting maybe four, five, six years of a show is truly extraordinary because then you get to develop a character in a way where you almost grow with them at the same sort of rate. Someone pointed out to me that if we get five seasons, I’ll be 30 years old. That’s crazy! I could be married with a baby, who the f--- knows.

How alike are you and Jamie?

I definitely think we have some seriously similarities. She’s very hungry for life and knowledge, and wants to live in a fast-paced universe. She’s ambitious, and I think I definitely got some ambition. She’s a pretty fearless creature and she fights to be heard. At such a young age, she has some serious balls to be able to stand up to them and say, “Hear me.” Her balls are bigger than a lot of dudes’ in that office. (Laughs.) I love that about her. She also has an extraordinary ear. She so belongs in that world, especially with her connection with The Nasty Bits. Most of people in the office would have thought they were a waste of time, and she takes one look at them and she’s like, “Oh, this could be big, this could be a f---king movement maybe.” It’s so cool to play a character who has that ear and that eye and that understanding of music. Our biggest difference is that I do my life in my pajamas and Jamie would not be caught dead in hers in public. 

How fun is it to wear all the vintage clothing?

So fun. Sometimes my eyes were literally watering during costume fitting. I have to figure out a way to take them all home. Clothes in that time period, especially for women, were really about accentuating being a woman. It was about hugging curves, so you feel pretty fabulous when you put them on. In today’s society, we spend our lives being dressed for comfort, and I’m so guilty of that. I love getting dressed up; I just don’t do it all the time. But my friends always tease me that I don’t have a happy medium. I’m either sloppy homeless or dressed to the nines. I don’t do casual jeans and a tee shirt. The wardrobe is such a huge thing because it makes you slip into your character more. The art department, too, has created this universe for us, and it looks so authentic. You feel like you’re in a different time, and then you step out into the real world, you forget, like, “Oh f---, it’s 2016.”

And your hair really completes the vintage look.

That’s actually my natural hair. They add a little bit of length to it, but that’s what my mother and father gave me — a blonde afro!

As one of the younger cast members on the show, are there jokes about the time period that are lost on you?

I mean, I’m obsessed with the ‘70s and I always have been. My dad was a big punk rocker back in the day in the ‘70s in England, so I grew up loving ‘70s music, the interior design, the revolution that happened through punk music and for women. Honestly, I’m living my ultimate fantasy with this TV show because I wish I would have been a young woman in the ‘70s. It’s going back to reality and coming back to 2016 that I’m finding more complex.

What kind of music are you into?

I’ve got a great vinyl collection and most of it is ‘70s. I’ve got a few blues thrown in there and some grunge albums. I don’t have much brand-new stuff. I’ve got a lot of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Tom Petty, Bowie, Blondie and Television. It’s the kind of music that’s so great to listen to on vinyl because instead of it just going through your earphones into your brain, it affects your whole body.

How much did you work with Scorsese? And was Jagger on set at all?

He came to visit a few times for sure. He’s definitely a busy man, but I know he’s very, very involved with the project. The joy of having those two creative forces behind it is that they also really truly lived through the ‘70s and did amazing things at the time. One of them was making songs that were changing peoples’ lives and one of them was making films that were changing peoples’ lives. So there’s this amazing combination of extraordinary creatures backing this show, which makes it feel authentic and crazy. That’s what I also love about the show is that when you’re watching it, it’s almost as if you’re high as a kite. There’s so much high energy.

What’s it like to be one of the few leading women in such a male-dominated cast?

It’s bloody awesome. I feel like the rest of the female cast holds their ground in such a beautiful way, and I think each female character you’ve met so far, especially Olivia's, really have the strength to stand up to the men in the show, even though it is so male-oriented. We have some really great scenes where the male characters have been stuck in their tracks already by the female characters. It’s really, really great that they’ve created these strong female characters who actually have some stuff to say. I’m finding that absolutely thrilling. Granted, there aren’t as many females on the show, but that’s also authentic. There wouldn’t have been that many females in the office like that. I mean, yeah, it means I spend a lot of time with dudes, but that’s alright. Jimmy Jagger is a lovely person to hang out with. He’s become one of my best friends, so I ain’t complaining spending a lot of shooting time with him.

What can you tease about how we’ll see Wilde’s character evolve?

You know what’s funny? Me and Olivia never once gotten to work together because we’re in completely different sides of Richie’s (Cannavale) life. But Devon (Wilde) has an extraordinary journey, and it’s cool because it’s completely different than Jamie’s. Obviously, we’re different age groups living completely different lives, but we’re both showing very powerful sides to women. The writing for the women is really great, and I hope they keep getting more and more and more prominent until maybe it’s a female-dominated office. No, I’m joking. (Laughs.) We can’t bump all the men off. But Olivia and I were literally in the makeup trailer at the same time once in six months. Isn’t that crazy? 

Well, now that the show has been renewed for a second season …

Maybe me and her can pull some strings!

Have you heard anything yet about season two?

Literally nothing. I’ve actually been watching the episodes for the first time as they air. It’s so great to just be a fan as well. Again, I’m obsessed with the time period so I’m loving being able to just enjoy it. I mean, yes, I read the scripts, but there are so many storylines that I wasn’t there for the filming of, and I’m also really excited to watch what’s happening with other characters.