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‘Fargo’ Star Juno Temple Says Role Made Her a ‘More Aware, Insightful’ and ‘Even Motherly Woman’

Note: This story contains spoilers from the “Fargo” Season 5 finale.

As touching as Juno Temple’s role on “Fargo” may have been for fans of the FX anthology series, it’s a relationship that goes both ways. The actress described her time on Noah Hawley’s anthology series as both “terrifying” and “one of the most extraordinary experiences” of her career.

“Characters like Dot [do] not come along very often, definitely not to me. I’m eternally grateful to Noah [Hawley] for having the faith in me to play her,” Temple told TheWrap after the crime-drama’s Season 5 finale on Tuesday. “She’s made me a much, much more aware, insightful, maybe even motherly woman. Also, it was something that challenged me in a way that I want to be challenged. I want to feel terrified every day before I go to work because I want to make people proud. This job did that in spades.”

In the fifth installment of Hawley’s crime anthology series, Temple played Dot Lyon, a seemingly innocuous suburban Midwestern housewife. But as Year 5’s story unfolds, it becomes clear that Dot is anything but the mild-mannered mother she pretends to be. Instead she is what Ole Munch (the apparently ageless and immortal 500-year-old played by Sam Spruell) calls a “tiger,” a woman who spends much of the season scheming, shooting and running away from the abusive husband she once escaped from, Jon Hamm’s Roy Tillman.

Episodes 8 and 9 of Year 5 are classic “Fargo.” As Dot attempts to escape the Tillman Ranch where she’s being held captive, there’s double crossing, cryptic messages and endless gunfire. But in comparison, Episode 10, titled “Bisquik,” is far more subdued than any other finale “Fargo” has aired.

As Dot returns to her cozy life with her husband Wayne (David Rysdahl) and daughter (Sienna King), she is visited by Ole Munch, the mysterious man out of time who helped her escape the Tillman farm. Initially, Ole Munch’s presence is as intimating as other timeless “Fargo” foes such as Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) and V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), especially when he declares that it’s now time for her to settle up with him. Yet instead of taking the bait and running from him, Dot embraces the same unrelentingly kind approach as her current husband.

Gunfire is replaced with a warm family meal and Dot asking Ole Munch to help her make biscuits. Midwest nice duels against centuries-long terror. Finally, when Ole Munch takes a bite of one of their homemade biscuits, this 500-year-old sin-eater who has spent his life collecting other people’s debts can let go of his own as Dot lets go of hers.

David Rysdahl as Wayne Lyon, Juno Temple
David Rysdahl as Wayne Lyon, Juno Temple as Dorothy “Dot” Lyon, Sienna King as Scotty Lyon in “Fargo” Year 5 (Michelle Faye/FX)

“Honestly, for me, I found it very emotional. But I also thought it was so genius,” Temple said. “The element of releasing debt and letting go of the things that you’ve been holding on to, and doing it with love and forgiveness and home cooking. The simplicity yet also the complexity combined together — I mean, come on. Noah Hawley is goddamn genius,” Temple said.

The dinner scene between Temple, Rysdahl, King and Spruell was the last one to be shot for Year 5. “We laughed at moments, especially because Sam was so willing to really eat the biscuit in many different ways,” Temple said when asked how she was able to keep a straight face sitting across from this otherworldly character. “But it was also emotional. It was also a moment of like, ‘Wow, we’ve done it.'”

Not every moment in “Fargo” Year 5 was tinged with this lightness. Temple pointed to Episode 7, “Linda,” and Episode 8, “Blanket,” as the two most difficult episodes to film. Both installments dove into the domestic abuse Dot suffered at the hands of her first husband.

Temple described Episode 7, in which Dot recounts her past abuse through puppets as part of a dazed hallucination, as “very emotional.” But it was Episode 8 that was “scary.” That installment saw Dot once chained to a bed frame at the Tillman farm, at the mercy of the monster who started abusing her at the age of 15.

“It was handled so brilliantly by the cast and crew. Jon [Hamm] handled it with such respect that we got to go to the truly scary places we needed to go to, whilst feeling very safe,” Temple said. The actor also praised her stunt double, Louise Hradsky, for going “above and beyond for certain moments that I, as a performer, just am not capable of doing.”

Yet more than anything else, the series’ star is most “proud” of the level of care that was taken around these harrowing scenes. Episode 8, which showcases the height of Dot’s abuse, was filmed on a closed set. Any cast or crew members who did not want to work that day due to the subject matter were also told they didn’t have to be part of the scene.

“What’s extraordinary about playing a character like Dot, who is a true survivor of severe domestic abuse, is a lot of people talk to you about their experiences with that, whether it’s happened to them or it’s happened to people around them. And it happens to so many women. It’s a really important thing to be talking about,” Temple said. “On film or TV sets, when they are dealing with a sequence like that, you never know who might be triggered. It’s really important to protect the people that make the show as brilliant as it is in every single department. That was truly, truly done on ‘Fargo.'”

“I hope in the future that women keep being able to talk more and more about it because surviving experiences like that is heroic,” Temple continued.

All episodes of “Fargo” Year 5 are streaming now on Hulu.

The post ‘Fargo’ Star Juno Temple Says Role Made Her a ‘More Aware, Insightful’ and ‘Even Motherly Woman’ appeared first on TheWrap.