How Karaoke Helped Juno Temple Get The Role Of Keeley On Ted Lasso

"Ted Lasso" has become one of the surprise hits of the pandemic — not to mention one of the best feel-good shows in recent memory. 

Created by "Saturday Night Live" alum Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy–winning series on Apple TV+ follows the fictional AFC Richmond soccer team in England after they hire an American football coach, Ted Lasso (played by Sudeikis), who knows nothing about soccer — or football, as it's called outside North America.

Despite the show's focus on men's soccer, two women have emerged as breakout stars. Hannah Waddingham portrays the team's owner, Rebecca, while Juno Temple plays Keeley, a model-turned-marketer who dates two of the team members and becomes close friends with Rebecca. (As the two central women on the show, Temple and Waddingham often get asked about their relationship in real life.)

Prior to landing the role of Keeley, Temple wasn't known as a comedic actor. Her most prominent roles were in dramatic fare such as "Atonement," "Dirty John," and "Little Birds" (per IMDb). 

"I genuinely thought that [Sudeikis] potentially had texted the wrong actress because I am definitely not known for my comedic roles," she said on "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

How did Juno Temple land the role of Keeley?

When Jason Sudeikis was trying to cast the part of Keeley on "Ted Lasso," he considered many funny folks known for their comedic chops but just couldn't find the right person. "There was something specific about this character that wasn't about hitting a joke," he said in an interview with Variety. "It was about a vibe."

Eventually, Juno Temple's name was suggested. Sudeikis' former partner, Olivia Wilde, had acted with Temple on the HBO series "Vinyl," and the three had done karaoke together.

"You can learn a lot about someone by the way they do karaoke," he told Variety. "Juno's such a good actor, listener, and spirit. She's open and curious and messy in all the beautiful ways a human can be."

Sudeikis was so convinced that she was perfect for the role that he didn't ask her to audition. 

In a group interview with The Wrap, he said to Temple: "I saw your name on a piece of paper and it glowed. There are only two people that didn't audition for the show: Anthony Head and Juno Temple. I just knew the authenticity of what that role needed to be."

The actor was nervous about doing comedy

Even after being cast as Keeley, Juno Temple was nervous about flexing her comedic muscles on "Ted Lasso."

"Comic timing is an art in itself, like being able to write a song; it's a rhythm that I don't naturally know," she told W Magazine. "But big jokes — the big, heavy-hitting genius lines and stuff so terrified me. They belong in the mouths of all the true comedians on the show."

She also discussed this fear with Deadline. "I was terrified because the entire cast that was attached were these extraordinary people who were all very good at being funny. I don't think of myself remotely as a comedy actress," she said.

Clearly viewers — and industry insiders — disagree. The role of Keeley has earned Temple a devoted fan following, along with both Primetime Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award nominations. 

And Temple is enjoying portraying such a funny, upbeat character during a somber time in the world. 

"Normally I'm cast as very dark, dark characters," she told Deadline. "But getting into the headspace of Keeley — who truly is a bundle of light — during this crazy time to be alive, where the world is hurting on so many levels and people are closing doors rather than opening their ears and hearing each other, has been special."

Juno Temple's future on Ted Lasso

Some fans worried that Keeley's departure from her AFC Richmond marketing role in the Season 2 finale might mean the end of Juno Temple's part on "Ted Lasso." On March 2, 2022, Temple tweeted to reassure her concerned fans: "Don't worry my loves, Keeley will be on screen power walking her way through season 3 x #TedLasso."

From the start, the feel-good show was planned to have a three-season arc. But, ever since the series exploded in popularity, Jason Sudeikis has been asked repeatedly if the third season really will be the final one. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he gave a vague answer to the often-asked question, saying, "I'm glad that [Apple is] willing to pay for those three seasons. As far as what happens after that, who knows? I don't know."

Which means there's a chance Keeley's sunny personality could stick around much longer than just three seasons. As Ted himself would say, "Believe."