On a cold Friday evening on the train home from Exeter to Reading, I certainly wasn’t expecting to have the amazing luck of meeting Juno Temple, renowned British actress and recent recipient of a BAFTA voted for by the British public. But no, that’s exactly what happened, showing what a small world we all live in and how it’s entirely possible to bump into a national, even international, star in the strangest of places.
I was just listening to my iPod, trying to block out the other travellers – when suddenly, Juno appeared completely out of the blue. I, of course, was shocked – experiencing that jolting feeling when you think it’s a celebrity you see but are too surprised to make out if it’s actually them – and was even more so when she and her friend asked to sit opposite me! No one else on the train seemed to recognise Juno, but to be completely honest I wasn’t entirely surprised. Just weeks before I’d read an interview of Juno’s where she frankly admitted that, even walking down busy London streets, she was very rarely recognised by passersby.
But a train from Exeter – seriously? What a strange and unglamorous place to meet this budding talent. But that’s the thing with famous people, you meet them in the weirdest of places. When I was in Paris for the 2008 French Open, I met later world no. 3 Russian tennis player Elena Dementieva in a grocery store. Juno seemed like a very likeable young woman, who just happens to have starred in famous films such as Wild Child (Natasha Richardson’s last film before her tragic death), The Other Boleyn Girl (alongside Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana!), Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and Atonement.
Only 23 years old, I strongly believe that Juno has a long and successful career ahead of her. We had a very nice conversation, ranging from Juno and her friend’s love of games on their iPhone, acting alongside Portman and Johansson, her family relations (her younger brothers are talented poets and musicians respectively), and the perks of an acting profession. Admitting that it was incredible, but that there were lowpoints, Juno must have felt as if she was in another interview session. But I had no clue what else to ask, and she did very kindly write me a note, in pink.
So why do we adore celebrities so much? And why, more to the point, do we get so nervous, shell-shocked, or awestruck around them if we are ever lucky enough to meet one? This is the bemusing and bewildering nature of celebrity culture in the world today. Of course, I’d like to meet more celebrities, with Chris Colfer and Lady Gaga heading the list. But underneath it all, celebrities are just like us, normal people who experience insecurities, doubts and sufferings as well as enjoying phenomenal success. That’s what meeting Juno Temple made so great – although she’s one of the UK’s most successful young stars, she was a thoroughly likeable person because of her down-to-earth, even ordinary, manner.
Written for Razz by Conor Byrne.