Most of the time, actors will get scripts where their character goes on a rather typical journey. There are always a few bumps and hurdles along the way as a way of creating drama (or comedy), but the change in direction is generally minimal.
That was not the case when Juno Temple got the script for the fifth season of the FX series “Fargo” that will be available on the streaming service Hulu starting Nov. 21. Her character of Dorothy “Dot” Lyon doesn’t just make a simple 180-degree turn, but it is more like a 540-degrees spin.
The new season — set in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2019 — introduces Lyon as a mom and wife who appears to be your average waffle-cooking, school board-attending Midwesterner. That changes when an unexpected event brings her to the attention of North Dakota Sheriff Roy Tillman (Jon Hamm) and his son who have been searching for Dot for a long time.
Dot attempts to shield her family from her past, but her well-meaning husband keeps asking his mother, Lorraine Lyon (Jennifer Jason Leigh) for help. That only makes matters worse.
Temple’s immediate reaction to the character was, “Wow!”
“I could not believe this had come my way. To take a look at. And I think having been such a huge fan of the original movie, ‘Fargo,’ and of previous installments made it more exciting,” Temple added. “One thing I loved about Dot is that her through line the whole time is that she is a mother and a fighter together. It is going to come back – ultimately – to be the person she wants to be the most, which is a mother.”
The two-time Emmy nominee found the character so interesting and complex that even after she read the first three scripts, Juno had no idea where the character and this incarnation of the series was headed. Each season of “Fargo” has featured different casts, stories, locations and time periods.
Those three episodes were enough to make her want to be part of the series. She also was equally intrigued with all the other characters because they are equally mysterious and different.
“Every single one of them is this extraordinary presence that shifts and turns and meanders,” Temple says.
Temple knew how strong the character was in “Fargo” having been a professional actor for more than two decades. She started work on “Fargo” after completing the third season of the streaming series “Ted Lasso” where she plays Keeley Jones. Temple next will star in Sony and Marvel’s “Venom 3” opposite Tom Hardy.
Other credits for Temple include “The Offer,” “Little Birds,” “Palmer,” “Los Transmissions,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and “Dirty John.”
Roles have often required the London native to take on an American accent. Working on “Fargo” came with the additional challenge of Temple having to mimic the regional accent that is so distinct.
Temple admits trying to find the correct accent was an intimidating process.
“I was just starting to figure out Dot and her words and her accent while still filming season three of ‘Ted Lasso.’ So, I was housing the character of Keeley Jones. Then there was Juno’s voice and her inside voice and the newly birthed person in Dot Lyon,” Temple says. “So, it was a hectic flat for a minute.
“There were a lot of voices in the kitchen but Liz, our incredible dialect coach who also worked on the original movie, was so patient. She gives you these incredible words to come back to if you are feeling thrown by the accent.”
Calling on her best Minnesota accent, Temple says one of the phrases she used to keep the accent right was “Barb’s large apartment.” It’s a phrase that she will never forget.
Shortly after Temple had started doing the “Fargo” accent, she invited her brothers to her home for dinner. The meal was a way to test out her Minnesota accent in front of a very small audience. The response from both was how much more time did she have to practice and that she should not worry because it would eventually be fine.
Along with the accent challenge, the role in “Fargo” required Temple to be involved with the most action sequences in her acting career. Dot will do anything not to be taken back to the life she had hoped had disappeared forever.
Her ability to handle the physical elements impressed the crew. Temple was told by the person operating the camera that when she ran, that he thought she was a faster runner than Tom Cruise. Anyone who has seen a cruise movie knows there is always a scene where he gets to show off his sprinting skills.