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Jane Lynch on Returning to Glee and Getting Physical With Olivia Newton-John

Jane Lynch, the comic actress who brings to life Glee's Sue Sylvester — and who remains completely believable while uttering lines like, "I empower my Cheerios to be champions. Do they go to college? I don't know. I don't care. Should they learn Spanish? Sure, if they wanna become dishwashers and gardeners" — is having a relaxing summer at home with her new wife, Lara. "I'm really nesting," she says of her hiatus from Glee, which starts production on its new season this week. Lynch is doing a bit of promoting, too, for a small comedy she made in 2007, I Do & I Don't, which was just released straight to DVD. We spoke with Lynch about her newfound mass fame and what it takes to play Sue, and she answered some commenter questions.


You made I Do & I Don't back in 2007. Is it funny to be talking about it now?
It is, though I’m glad to be talking about it. It didn’t get a distributor or something, so we’re all very thrilled for it to be coming out. It's disappointing when your hard work doesn't see the light of day.

It's a movie about a couple who goes for Pre-Cana counseling (in order to be married in a Catholic church) — did you and your wife do that?
[Laughs.] My wife and I would have never stepped foot in a Pre-Cana household. The fact that the church thinks it can teach anybody about relationships to me is funny.

Your New York Times wedding announcement was very sweet.
Thank you, we were thrilled. We purposely didn’t do any press about it at all, we chose only one thing, to have an announcement in the Times, and they were kind enough to offer us a featured spot. Both of us are so impressed that the Times puts same-sex couples in their announcements, so we wanted to be one of the happy couples in the Sunday paper.

Were you involved in the wedding planning?
It was basically just our friends. And my wife, through a happy accident, found the Blue Heron, and they were great about helping us put everything together. My best friend Jeannie was the reverend; she went to UniversalLifeChurch.com and clicked on "Ordain Me." And my friend Laura sang, and my friend David rounded up a couple of musicians for a jazz ensemble. And we all went to a restaurant and sat all together and ate a wonderful meal.

What's it like for you, at this point in your career, to have this huge, zeitgeisty fame from Glee.
That it’s happening now is really sweet, though at the same time, I’m kind of slowing down my life. In terms of my career, I’m not running around at the fever pitch like I used to. I’ve got my family, and I’m renovating my house — I’m really doing some nesting, so it’s sweet to have Glee, which is at least going to be on for a couple seasons. We start up again this week, and I’m really excited to get back. They haven’t told me anything.

The day after a show airs, your best lines are all over the Internet — people post them on Facebook and Twitter.
Someone told me today that the writer, Ian Brennan, who writes the lion’s share of Sue’s lines, goes into a trance when writing her lines. I just love that, picturing Ian with his eyes rolling back in his head.

Was it fun to get to sing this season?
With all these great singers around, all day long, I probably sing the most out of anyone — but it’s unconscious. By the end of the day people are going, "Shut up!" But really, it was amazing. Just look at who I got to perform with and the songs I got to do! The "Physical" video was just such a hoot, and Olivia Newton-John couldn’t have been more fun. She was so willing to make fun of herself — she played such a bitch in the last episode! Both [creator] Ryan [Murphy] and I are huge fans, and we were talking about that in the beginning of the season, and randomly, we ran into the guy who wrote all her big hits — we saw him at a restaurant. And Ryan said to him, "You know, I’d love to get Olivia Newton-John on the show," and then I got a call from him saying, "Guess who I got!?" It was unbelievable.

You do a lot of improv, especially in Christopher Guest's movies, though Glee is scripted. Which form do you like better?
I like it all. It takes off some of the pressure when someone’s writing so meticulously for you, but it’s nice on Glee, because I never say just one thing. Very rarely. We go on and on and on, and I’m memorizing lines all the times.

What did you think of last season?
I love how all the characters progressed; I love what they did with Kurt; I love how they started to give Heather and Naya (who play Brittany and Santana) more stuff. I was never more proud than when I saw those guys onstage during the tour.

Did you feel sad that you didn't tour with them?
No, I didn't feel at all left out, and I did a little video welcome for it. I was glad to have my downtime with the family.

Commenter Twirlingthecurls wants to know: What character have you most enjoyed playing?
It’s always the character I’m doing right now — it really is. But I will say that in I Do &; I Don't playing Nora Stelmack was the biggest joy of my life. Stepping into those capri pants, playing someone who’s a delusional drunk the entire time, was so much fun.

You seem to have cornered the market on sexually aggressive older women. (See the clip from I Do & I Don't below.) What gives?
I probably give it off! It’s funny, when I started out doing characters for sketch comedy, when I would create my own stuff, I would do these very sexually repressed women. I remember I did one in particular who had the tagline: "I haven’t been touched in twelve years." I only do extremes. And then I went from that to playing characters who couldn’t keep their hands off of inappropriate people.

Tangledupinwires asks: Had Party Down managed another season, would we have seen Constance again? And we'll add: How do you feel about its cancellation?
It makes me very sad, for several reasons. It’s one of those shows, just by the nature of the premise — catering, where people come and go so much — that they could have mined the improv comedy world of L.A. to come up with another cast of just as fabulous people, I think, to fill in for those who’ve left for fame and fortune.

Stagedandconfused wants to know: Any plans to reunite with Christopher Guest for another improvised film?
I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Annagrace asks: Will we ever see Sue not wearing a track suit?
I did this photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly in which they made me a ball gown out of a tracksuit, though they never actually ended up running the pictures. I thought it’d be great if Sue ended up wearing one of those to the prom. I think we had them sent to wardrobe, so we’ll see!

RickNolan is from Normal, Illinois, and has a long-winded question in which he asks you to emcee a Glee tribute show.
That's funny; Normal, Illinois, is where I went to college. Thank you for the invite, Rick, but I don’t think I'm going to be in that neck of the woods anytime soon. You have to change planes to get to Normal, and I don’t change planes anymore.

And finally, after Madonna and Lady Gaga, what artist would you like to have a Glee episode about?
I know we’re having a Britney Spears episode this season, I heard that. I’d love to have a Joni Mitchell episode: Joni reinterpreted, you know?


Photo: Splash News