Hooray for Boobies by Bloodhound Gang
I remember hearing Hooray for Boobies by Bloodhound Gang and thinking they were absolutely brilliant. When I was 11, my mum was driving my friends and I back to the house so we could have a picnic in the garden. We were listening on the car cassette player and she picked up the tape box and went: “Hooray for Boobies? Why isn’t there an all-girl band called Whoopee for Willies?” I was mortified.
Bloodhound Gang are completely genius and just full of brilliant songs. I still listen to them on a regular basis. As you get older you start to understand the irony, but as a teenager, I just felt so rebellious listening to a song where they’re talking about getting horny and doing it like the mammals on the Discovery Channel.
The Slim Shady LP by Eminem
I was brought up in a household where incredible, groundbreaking music was always being played. There was a lot of punk and rock’n’roll coming from my father [the director Julien Temple]. For school dances in my teens, I would get dressed, come down the stairs and my dad would play Dedicated Follower of Fashion by the Kinks, which to this day I still think is a great song to help you decide what to wear.
In my teens, I was completely taken aback by The Slim Shady LP by Eminem. I loved the singles My Name Is and Guilty Conscience with Dr Dre. I thought Eminem was this most incredible poet. I write a lot of poetry and play with the idea of songs, but my brain doesn’t work in a musical instrument, rhythmical way. I regret having not learned an instrument as a teenager, although it’s never too late. I do have a little synthesiser in my home in Los Angeles, but I need somebody to teach me the basics.
La Belle et la Bête
Terrence Malick’s 1973 film Badlands very much shaped who I am as a woman, as did the 1993 Quentin Tarantino-Tony Scott movie True Romance. Patricia Arquette’s depiction of Alabama Whitman in the latter was a big influence; I found her to be kick-ass. I also discovered Martin Scorsese in my teens. I still can’t believe that I got to work with him [in the TV series Vinyl]. It was everything you would want and more. Anytime you had a conversation with him about a movie, the DVD would be in your trailer 15 minutes later. He is such an excited and present human; he just wants to share his love of film, music and art.
I had chickenpox when I was four and I remember my dad putting on La Belle et la Bête. This little four-year-old creature, who would have given anything to be out of her own skin, forgot that she had chickenpox. It was magic, just like the film. I am a huge fan of surrealism, so rediscovering La Belle as a teenager made me realise that John Cocteau is a genius. His take on Beauty and the Beast is one of the loveliest pieces of film of all time.
When I was 14, I thought Brandon Flowers of the Killers was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was intoxicated by the sophistication and flamboyance of the way he dressed and I found the confidence in his voice just so attractive. Every time their song Mr Brightside came on my cassette radio, I would record it on this blank tape. Eventually, I had a tape with Mr Brightside on it 11 times in a row to listen to it repeatedly.
My dad was always filming at the Glastonbury festival and ended up making a really great documentary [2006’s Glastonbury]. So we grew up going to the festival and running free and wild. I remember, age nine or 10, running into this naked woman in the tipi field and running back through the mud thinking: “What is happening?”
I went to Glastonbury in 2019 to see the Killers, and I was there when they played three years in row: in the New Bands Tent in 2004, on the Pyramid Stage in 2005 and headlining the Pyramid in 2007. It was so cool that I got to watch them blow up like that.
I grew up in a 650-year-old farmhouse in the Quantock hills in Somerset. The area has beautiful pink soil and pink stones, so it looks like the hills are bleeding when it rains. But there was no phone reception, only shoddy internet, and sometimes the power would go out for days.
When I was 14, I told my parents that I wanted to be an actor. They were like: “Fuck. That’s going to be hard because you’re going to get told no a lot, and that’s going to break your heart.” I caught the train to London with my best girlfriend and waited in line for an open audition to Notes on a Scandal. They took my picture and sent me home. Twenty-four hours later, I got an email saying that the director, Richard Eyre, wanted to audition me. I was biked my first script and was like: “Oh my God.” I was so nervous; you could hear the person auditioning before you. I got the part and my parents were like: “What the hell?” It meant I could learn from all these other great actors. Cate Blanchett had her young children with her. Watching her walk on set and transform herself into character is still one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.
Fashion has always been a big thing for me. I have been designing clothes since I was 14. It started with a fascination for corsetry and crinoline skirts and the pain that women would put themselves through to be seen as beautiful. I found that eye-opening, because your teens is when judgment floods your body and fills you with insecurities and you start questioning your entire existence. Lingerie excited me because it felt as if it could be my secret; it could be my power move to wear beautiful lingerie under tracksuit pants or whatever.
I got a scholarship to London College of Fashion, but the acting had taken off, so I never ended up going. I would still love to go on a course. I still have the sewing machine that my grandmother bought me and I still make and alter all my clothes. I would love to do a surrealist, Salvador Dalí melting clock corset, or create underwear made out of moss, or design a swimsuit with a graphic print of a shark bite, so that, from far away, you’re like: “Oh my God, is she OK?” Every time I land a role, I buy a new pair of knickers. My underwear drawer is filled with knickers that will remind me of that character for eternity.
• Palmer is on Apple TV+ now