Juno Temple is many things. Posh, delicate, smart, confident – and brimming with energy. When I meet her in a London hotel room, she’s dressed immaculately, her dyed blonde hair tumbling across her face in wild curls. A million miles away from her red-headed angelic teen in Horns.
As Daniel Radcliffe’s on-screen love interest, much of Temple’s character Merrin Williams is seen in flashback. That’s because Merrin is dead from the film’s opening sequence, brutally murdered with her boyfriend, Radcliffe’s Ig Perrish, the prime suspect. When Ig begins sprouting a pair of horns and morphing into the devil, his guilt is all but proven.
But that doesn’t prevent Temple sharing plenty of screen time with the Harry Potter star whom she gushes about pretty much from the moment I bring him up. “I’d gone to see him on stage and I think he was so brave when he did Equus. I took my hat off to him – can you imagine doing that play?
“I just thought it was brave, especially coming from the franchise he was doing. He’s making such brave choices right now, I’m so glad to be part of one of those movies where he’s just kicking ass.”
“Brave” might be a reference to Radcliffe’s full-frontal nudity in the 2007 play – or to one raunchy sex scene between the pair’s characters in Horns, perhaps a shock for fans used to seeing him play squeaky clean Potter.
“Sex scenes are always awkward,” says Temple. “When you watch it, you hope it’s a really sexy, magical scene but while you’re filming it you have people going, ‘Right, grab her left bum cheek, now pull her into the right,’ so it’s so unsexy you’ve got to laugh about it.”
Although, for all the awkwardness, the actress, 25, has no qualms about shedding her clothes for future roles. “They’re part of the job. I’m a strong believer, too, that if you sign on to something, you’re ready to embrace every moment your character has to go through and I think sex scenes, when done right, can be so great. And if you’re doing it with someone you get on with, it is a laugh. You’re like, ‘the f**king situations we find ourselves in at work’.”
Temple – soon to be seen opposite Johnny Depp (“he’s f**king awesome”) and Benedict Cumberbatch in Black Mass – moved to Los Angeles in 2009, but returned to the UK last year to pick up the 2013 Bafta Rising Star Award, overcoming stiff competition from Elizabeth Olsen and Andrea Riseborough.
“The big thing that was so exciting for me was the recognition from England because I’ve been in America a while now. That really, really meant a lot.”
Does she find herself on the receiving end of attention from the press over in the States? “It honestly doesn’t really happen to me very often. When it does, it sucks. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be someone like Jennifer Lawrence. It’s so cruel to have your life taken away from you when you’re going to buy milk.
“It’s bizarre that with this industry that comes with it because nobody asks for that, ever. And I think the rules on how paparazzi work is crazy, it’s bizarre. I know people understand that it comes with the territory but I don’t really have to deal with it right now and if I ever do, I’m literally in the same sweatpants and t-shirt. It would be boring to photograph me – I look like a homeless bum.”
On the subject of the Hunger Games star, Temple was as outraged as most when private photos of the actress were leaked last month – but Lawrence’s response in Vanity Fair earns a giant thumbs up. “I thought that was absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t support her more with that statement. She’s amazing, I love her and would love to work with her. I think we’d have fun.”
In the meantime, she’s trying to be selective about the roles she chooses. Along with Black Mass, next year sees her release a slew of projects from feature adaptation Far from the Madding Crowd to Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s new HBO pilot.
“Career-wise I’m being more patient and learning how to do a little more down time and maybe being a little bit pickier and choosier because, if I had my way, I’d work all the time. But I think it’s important to pick and choose the right projects and really pick things you can challenge yourself with and learn from.”
Does she think there are enough meaty roles for women working in Hollywood? “I have felt the end of this year, maybe not so much. Sometimes there is an inundation of great female roles but I feel actually it’s a little lack lustre in that department right now. I feel like the industry goes up and down with that.”
Horns is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 29th October. Watch the trailer below…