Juno Temple is not your average starlet. She does drama (remember "The Notebook?"). She does comedy (yes, that was her taunting Michael Cera in "Year One"). And now, she does ... high school boys. At least, some of them.
In her new movie "Dirty Girl," the wide-eyed actress plays Danielle, a sassy -- ahem, "free-spirited" high school girl who runs away from her about-to-be-married mother in search of her long-lost father. Along for the ride (and providing the wheels) is Clarke, a fat, gay loner; and Joan, an unusually expressive bag of flour. It makes sense, trust us.
We sat down with Juno in New York to talk about why she "fell madly in love" with this promiscuous protagonist, what it was like having Milla Jovovich and Tim McGraw as parents, and how she might follow in Jessica Simpson's footsteps, sort of.
Were you at all concerned about playing a character who curses, sleeps around and gets thrown into special ed?
I fell madly in love with Danielle for all of those exact reasons! Is that bad? [laughs] She's this free spirit. She's doing her thing. People find her intimidating. Boys want certain things from her, but actually at the heart of it, she's a sweetheart. She's just doing the things that she likes to do and people are kind of abusing her.
In the midst of all of this, she has this amazing arc and the story takes her full circle so she can truly be herself. And then you have Clarke -- this overweight, misunderstood loner -- who comes out of nowhere and just like, gets her. And you know, sometimes that's how it really happens in real life.
People just appear out of thin air and "get" you?
Exactly! Doesn't that happen to you?
What was it like having Milla Jovovich as your mother?
Well, I'm very close with Milla, so it was great to work together; but beyond that, I think the fact that Milla is playing a very young mother is really crucial to the story, because when you're a young mother who happens to be gorgeous, you're kind of a threat to your daughter, and I'm pretty sure Danielle felt that.
While I was reading the script and they were having these throw-down fights, I just felt like they should get along and I just knew they were going to, so when they finally do, it felt really right.
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What about Tim McGraw as Dad?
It was really interesting because I actually hadn't met him before. Basically, the minute I met him we just started shooting. He's awesome. We had so much fun. He's so extraordinary in that scene. We really worked through that scene. It was an emotional day.
Were other scenes in the movie emotional for you? It has some pretty intense moments.
Yeah. The scene with dancing and singing. I was petrified for that, but then it was actually really fun.
Are you a trained singer?
Not even a little.
How did you get through that scene?
We pre-recorded it in case we couldn't nail it on the day we were shooting, and then we literally had the song playing and I stood up on stage in front of the microphone in front of 200 people -- oh, and the front rows were full of my best friends, which actually made it extra stressful -- and it was mortifying. It was completely mortifying.
Did you have any concerns that the song-and-dance number at the end gets a little bit "Glee"-like?
I've never watched "Glee," so, no. [laughs]
And you just wrapped shooting "The Dark Knight Rises."
I did. It was great, but before you even ask, I'm sworn to secrecy -- scout's honor and all that. It was an amazing experience, though, and of course I can't wait for it to come out.
You're young, but you've already got such an eclectic resume. Is there a dream role you'd love to play or a director you'd love to work with that you haven't yet?
Character-wise I'm pretty much up for anything because I feel like if they don't work, they don't work, and then you just don't do them again. But you've got to give it a shot. As for directors, I'd love to work with Terrence Malick. Oh, and my dad! My dad [Julien Temple] is a film director and I'd like to do a movie with him.
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Do you think you two would work well together?
You don't know until you try!
Speaking of blending the personal and professional parts of your life, how do you keep balance between the two?
Make sure you see your friends -- they will give it to you straight. They will put you in your place. It's important you don't lose touch with reality because, well, reality's the only thing you've got, really. And you know, at the end of the day, acting is a job. I mean, it's a job I love and I don't want to stop, ever, but it is a job, and my real life is what I need to go home to, for sure.
What did you buy with your first Hollywood paycheck?
Lingerie! I'm an Agent Provocateur junkie, so whenever I get money to spend, it leads me to that store. I have a little bit of a problem there.
Would you ever follow in other stars' footsteps -- like Jessica Simpson, for example -- and do a clothing line?
I'd do lingerie! I'd love to do a lingerie line someday. I'm obsessed with lingerie, and I think Juno is a great name for a lingerie line. I'm definitely going to do that someday.
Do you prefer L.A. or New York?
Currently, L.A., because I've got my little bedroom there, which is like this magical little cubbyhole I can hide out in. It's a place I love going back to, but I love visiting New York first and then, you know, going back to the cubbyhole.
Mac or PC?
Wine or beer?
Whiskey sour. Though I do love a glass of good red wine, too.
Zac Efron or Zach Galifianakis?
Galifianakis. Funny goes far.
Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber?
Justin Timberlake. I was an 'N Sync fan. "Dirty Pop" was my favorite song. I think I still know all the words. Wait -- don't write that.