When we first see Fanny Robin, a minor character in “Far From the Madding Crowd,” she’s mooning over her handsome fiance (Tom Sturridge). When we next see her, she’s arriving for their wedding — at the wrong church. The third time, she’s unmarried, pregnant and starving. We don’t know what happened between the mixup and the destitution, but Juno Temple, who plays Robin, says it’s not actually that important.
“I think, in a weird way, it works,” Temple says. “You just know that whatever happened, it’s not nice; it’s a completely huge downward spiral.”
Sudden reversal of fortune is one of the major themes in the film. Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) starts out orphaned and poor; thanks to a dead uncle she winds up the mistress of a farm. Sheep farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) begins prosperous; accidentally, he ends up not. Fanny isn’t immune to the disastrous hand of fate.
“If she had just made it while he was standing in the church,” Temple says. “It was just a mistake, just an honest mistake.”
While Temple pities her pitiable character, she says she’s also proud of her.
“The thing for me that was really key is that, even when her life had completely tumbled out of control, she never felt sorry for herself,” Temple says. “I don’t think she’s a tragic character, because she fights right to the end.”