Capone chats with the incomparable Jane Lynch about her new film I DO & I DON'T, "Glee," and PAUL!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
I think it's fair to say that Jane Lynch is a hot property right now. After years of blowing our collective minds being the one of the funniest elements in several Christopher Guest films (BEST IN SHOW being arguably the most memorable), she moved into the Apatow fringe with THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (she's played the sexually aggressive boss at the electronics store) and ROLE MODELS (not an Apatow film, I know, but it felt like it). I first remember spotting her in a small but memorable sequence in THE FUGITIVE, when she was a struggling Chicago actor trying to make a name for herself on the local theater scene.
In her career, she's been in every television show know to mankind, she played Ricky Bobby's mama in TALLADEGA NIGHTS, had a frank interview with Dewey Cox in WALK HARD, and had a long-standing run on Showtime's "The L Word." More recently, she had a memorable (award-worthy) role as Julia Child's sister in JULIE & JULIA and just earned two Emmy nominations--one for a guest spot on "Two and Half Men" and, of course, one for portraying Sue Sylvester, the scene-stealing queen of mean gym teacher on "Glee."
The film that brought up together on the phone at the crack of dawn on my first day of Comic-Con (no connection) was an indie comedy she made a couple years back called I DO & I DON'T, which was released on DVD two weeks ago. I think it's safe to say that the film is seeing the light of day because of Lynch's success, and she's exceptionally funny in this movie, playing opposite Matt Servitto as a married pair attempting to give a soon-to-be-wedded-couple (Bryan Callen and Alexie Gilmore) marriage classes before the youngsters take the plunge. The movie overall is hit and miss, but Lynch and Servitto make it worth seeking out. If I told you Lynch plays a sex-starved alcoholic, would that make a difference? I thought so.
The recently married Lynch was so sweet during our interview that I almost wanted to ask her to insult me just so I remembered who I was talking to. Still, I think she's great, and I always love talked to former Chicago theater actors who went on to national recognition. Please enjoy Jane Lynch…
Jane Lynch: Hey there.
Capone: Hi Jane. How are you?
JL: Good. How are you?
Capone: Excellent. So you are from around the Chicago way, aren’t you?
Capone: I think there have been a couple of times in the last few years where you have been in town, and they have tried to put us together, and it never worked out, but I’m glad I finally get to talk to you.
JL: Me too.
Capone: One of the things on the DVD that they sent me was that video testimonial with Judd Apatow and Christopher Guest. It occurred to me that when Judd was talking about taking your 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN audition improv and just putting into the script and then, and when I interviewed Paul Rudd a while back, he told me that he wrote the part in ROLE MODELS with you in mind, and obviously Christopher Guest has complete confidence in you--that has to be really hugely satisfying as an actor to know that all of these people just trust you completely.
JL: It is. Yeah, it’s very nice. It’s lovely. It’s very nice and that was nice to hear from what you said about Paul, and yeah I was very flattered by the Judd thing and the Christopher tribute, if you will.
Capone: What was that video for?
JL: I got an award at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival, and they showed I DO AND I DON’T there. I think it was like a year and a half or maybe two years ago.
Capone: Okay. Now this movie has been, if I’m reading this right, this movie has been around for a while. Is it now finally just getting out there because--not to put too fine a point on--your name is really out there now?
JL: I know that [writer-director] Steve [Blair] has been trying very hard to get this thing released and I know he’s had it edited a few different times and so I don’t know, but I’m really thrilled that it’s seeing the light of day. We had so much fun making it. I haven’t seen it in a while and I think it’s been edited, I think, since the last time I saw it, and if it has any of the spirit we felt making it, then it should be pretty damn good, because we had so much fun making it.
Capone: I don’t know if it’s the same one or a different one, but I know there’s a lot of you getting spanked in it.
JL: Yeah, I love it. They obviously left the good stuff in.
Capone: How do you go to work in the morning knowing that there’s going to be that amount of physical abuse?
JL: Oh, with a bounce in my step. [laughs] As you probably remember, I initiated the spanking.
Capone: That’s true.
JL: I loved it.
Capone: Let’s step back a bit. How did you get involved in I DO AND I DON’T?
JL: It came out of the blue. It was a script sent to me. “Do you want to go to Baltimore to do this for very little money?” [Laughs] And I said, “Yes!” Then I got to the airport and there was Bryan Callen, and I kind of knew him and we flew out together and it ended up just being so much fun. We had such a gas doing this movie.
Capone: Speaking of spanking, a lot of the characters that you have played over the years have had these odd or aggressive sexual proclivities. What do you like about playing those kinds of characters?
JL: I guess it’s that entitlement and that arrogance and the “Aren’t I so hot?” kind of thing that I just don’t have in real life, and it cracks me up and it also kind of embarrasses me. It embarrasses me for them, and so I guess to work it out I play it.
Capone: Yeah, it’s priceless how forward you can be in those roles and to watch the recipients of your behavior get really uncomfortable.
JL: [laughs] I love it, too. Someone won’t say, “Stop doing that. You are embarrassing me.” I’m fascinated at how bold people are who think they are so hot and are actually like that way, and I go “Where did I get that entitlement? Where did I get that arrogance? I want some of that.”
Capone: And the other thing you get to play with this character is, I think it’s safe to say she’s bordering on alcoholic.
JL: Oh I think she’s probably slipped over to the side of alcoholism.
Capone: So what are your tips on playing a convincing drunk then?
JL: Well I think what I did for this is… She lives in her own world. When she is drunk she lives in an imagined world where people are saying wonderful things to her and telling her how hot she is, and when she’s coming onto someone in her imaginary world, they are right there with her and she doesn’t noticed that like Bryan Callen is looking at her like “What are you doing?” So I think that’s it. If I always had an inner-monologue going on or an inner dialogue that just wasn’t happening in real life. That’s some wet brain, huh?
Capone: Indeed. Going back to what we were talking about and you being from Chicago, I think the first time I remember seeing you was in THE FUGITIVE, but you had been doing theater before that in and around Chicago. Can you talk about your time in the theater and then transitioning into the film and TV work?
JL: I did the graduate program at Cornell in about '84, and I got out and I eventually went back to Chicago within a year and started doing theater for free, but you know we have a lot of nonequity financed theaters, which is very good in Chicago. Eventually after several years I got into the Second City touring company, which was kind of a fluke. I really didn’t have that on my radar as a goal and I loved it, and from there I started doing film, because I became an equity member, I was able to do some professional theater. I did a couple three or four plays at Steppenwolf and then I got THE FUGITIVE. I went to New York and L.A. with "The Real Life Brady Bunch" and was there, and then when I came back from that I got THE FUGITIVE. After that, I thought “Well, I’ll go to California and be an actress,” and things went really almost immediately in L.A. Then I started working on television, and then it got very dry for me and I started doing voiceover.
JL: I did voiceover for several years, yeah.
Capone: Recently, you've done a lot of animated work; I know you were just in the most recent SHREK film. How active do you get during the recording process? Is it a performance in the booth?
JL: I think so. It kind of is, yeah. You don’t have to worry about what you are wearing or doing with your body so much, but you end up kind of doing something with the body.
Capone: I’ve seen people break a sweat in that booth just putting on a show for nobody.
JL: Yeah, uh huh.
Capone: At this point in your career, do you have the ability to sort of generate projects for yourself as a producer or are you more interested in just getting scripts?
JL: With "Glee" happening, I really have only been able to do that. I’m sure I’m going to get a breather once we got through the season and we have like a hiatus in front of us, and maybe I’ll be able to look at something else. But yeah I don’t really know about that phase of my life yet. We will have to see. Like all parts of my life I just kind of fall into the next level or the next thing to do.
Capone: Yeah, your career is not predictable, and yet it always seems to work out.
JL: It’s like I designed it.
Capone: Yeah, exactly. Now I’m actually in San Diego for Comic-Con this weekend and there’s a "Glee" panel on Sunday. Are you coming in for that?
JL: No, I wont be in for that. I have a family thing I have to deal with, but all of the kids will be there. They were there last year.
Capone: Were they? I have no recollection of that.
JL: That’s how we kind of knew our show was a hit, because they just got blown away with people.
Capone: I have to ask one "Glee" question. As much as I enjoy Sue Sylvester’s nasty side, the episodes that have shown her more wounded personality aspects are some of my favorites. Do you like being able to flesh her out?
JL: I love how they do it in measured doses too, very carefully. I do. I love switching it up and showing a different side.
Capone: You know one of the films we are profiling here is PAUL. I meant to ask you “What are you doing in that film?”
JL: I have one scene with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. I play the proprietor of a restaurant called The Alien, and we just have one scene together. It was fun. I know it’s about how they meet up with an alien and Seth Rogen is the voice.
Capone: So the name of the place is called “The Alien”?
JL: The name of my establishment is called “The Alee Inn.”
Capone: Oh, I get it, okay. Well, Jane I should have said this off the bat, congratulations on the Emmy nominations and on getting married.
JL: Oh, thank you.
Capone: Yeah. It was great to talk to you.
JL: Thanks, it was good to talk to you too. Bye.
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Aug. 1, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST
I thought she was pretty good in Role Models, Walk Hard, and especially Talladega Nights.
Aug. 1, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST
by The Gospel According to Bastardface
Aug. 1, 2010, 11 a.m. CST
remains the only to watch. when she is not screen, I dont watch.
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST
remains the only reason to watch Glee. when she is not on screen, i dont watch.
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST
Like her in everything she's in.
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST
by Drunken Busboy
Man, you guys are slipping! :( Those were groundbreaking films!
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST
Aug. 1, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST
Love her as Charlies therapist on Two and Half Men.
Aug. 1, 2010, 1:39 p.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Aug. 1, 2010, 1:55 p.m. CST
Saw them live in Seattle - hilarious
Aug. 1, 2010, 3:04 p.m. CST
A bit more drama than comedy, which I like, as Alan's sex therapist. BTW she's married to a psychologist.
Aug. 1, 2010, 5:09 p.m. CST
I don't see how Cera gets flack, when Lynch practically plays the same character, too. She's annoying. She getting 15 or whatever on EW's 100 characters was a fucking joke. A FUCKING JOKE. She's just a female Dr. Cox in Glee. It's such shit.
Aug. 1, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST
Speaking as somebody who did school plays, sang in chorus and did the whole deal minus all the gay shit I really H-A-T-E Glee. It's unoriginal populist tripe. Maybe if they did like Fame and actually wrote original songs for the kids I'd dig it. But the fact that Glee is getting all this award recognition while Community is getting the shaft all the time makes no sense to me. Dan Harmon must have burned a bunch of bridges sometime between Heat Vision and Jack, Channel 101 and now.
Aug. 1, 2010, 6:10 p.m. CST
She can't go away soon enough.
Aug. 1, 2010, 7:19 p.m. CST
Oh, the gays love her.
Aug. 1, 2010, 10:56 p.m. CST
Aug. 1, 2010, 10:57 p.m. CST
I am absolutely desperate to see a trailer and what's taking so long with this film anyway?
Aug. 1, 2010, 11:40 p.m. CST
They reek of lubricants
Aug. 2, 2010, 2:18 a.m. CST
but I see they're already here in full idiot-mode.
Aug. 2, 2010, 5:24 a.m. CST
in a stately manner home, Madonna is weeping! Jane Lynch is frickin' hilarious.
Aug. 2, 2010, 5:27 a.m. CST
That'll teach me to cut and paste a quote from the web without checking it.
Aug. 2, 2010, 5:56 a.m. CST
Bullshit each other.
Aug. 2, 2010, 8:49 a.m. CST
Hit the fuckin stair master Jane!
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:27 a.m. CST
With Spike Lee as Sophia! <P> I think that was the character's name. <P> Anyway...so glad another gay person got a cake walk into their career. Its a shame Glee is such a pedantic pile of propaganda. <P> I have nothing against her sexual preference. Its the agenda that comes with it that's disgusting.
Aug. 2, 2010, 7:18 p.m. CST
Aug. 2, 2010, 8:48 p.m. CST
"Gay people are normal and should be treated like everyone else." if that is propaganda to you, then you're a homophobe. and that's fine, just admit it. don't hide behind the "I have no problem with the blah blah blah" bullshit. if you really have no problem with gay people, you shouldn't care if they are featured on a few TV shows or GASP are interviewed by AICN.<p>and not for nothing, besides one reference to getting married, did she mention being gay at all? did Capone?<p>it's all of you small-minded morons that have the problem, not Jane Lynch. (and this is coming from a dude who has never seen a minute of Glee)
Aug. 3, 2010, 12:32 a.m. CST
but I will...haunt...your...dreams. Best comedic actress the last ten years?
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