There’s a good reason why 'Glee' star Jane Lynch’s resumé is a mile long. She is, as fans of 'The 40 Year Old Virgin', 'Role Models' and 'Best In Show' can attest to, one of the funniest actresses in Hollywood and the very definition of scene stealer.
While we are only heading into the second season of 'Glee', already Jane Lynch, who plays Sue Sylvester, the cut-throat cheerleading coach trying to destroy the glee club, is going down in history as one of TV’s funniest women.
It comes then as no surprise that on the day Jane Lynch herself and other cast members of the hit show (Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz), are in attendance at the Monte Carlo TV Festival that the conference room is full to the rafters with open and closet Gleeks. Basking in the sun and their success the talented array of actors confidently strut into the room as if their hallmark song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, is swirling around in their heads.
Early on in the interview when asked who is her favourite character in the show, apart from her own of course, Jane Lynch knowingly or not sums up her entire career in once sentence. "My favourite is Tina because she reminds me of myself - she’s kind of in the background, kind of dark and yet when she breaks out she’s amazing."
The utterly infectious hit show that has captured the global imagination with its fusion of music and dance. The darker heir to 'High School Musical', Glee is a musical comedy-drama about a group of high school misfits who find personal redemption – and social isolation – through song. At 50, having spent most of her career playing bit parts and guest spots, Lynch is finally getting the recognition she deserves, as the show’s sublime villain.
"I think Sue Sylvester is so attractive to people because she is so mean, she’s that inner voice that we all have but would never say out-loud", is how Lynch explains her character’s overwhelming popularity.
"She has no filter and people love that – she can put together these rambling sentences of condemnation that everyone wishes they could and at the end of the day she’s not dangerous, she’s laughable – it’s not like Anthony Hopkins in 'Silence of the Lambs', we don’t need to be afraid of her," she adds.
Talking to Lynch about the many amazing episode’s and one-liners from Sue it’s clear from her enthusiasm that the Madonna episode, in which Lynch re-enacts that iconic Vogue video, tops the list.
"Making that Madonna video was such a labour of love and probably a highlight in my life that I’ll always look back on", she remarks.
"I know it was Ryan Murphy’s dream come true to make that and everyone worked so hard on the video – we had more production meetings for that particular number than anything else in 'Glee'. We started working on it last December, all through Christmas and didn’t shoot it until March. It took me every day to get those dance moves right. I understand that she released a statement saying she was very happy with the whole episode and so she should be, it was homage to her."
Lynch couldn’t be further from her on-screen persona and is in-person one of the most approachable stars on the big or small screen. Her openness to talk about her personal life makes her all the more loveable. Growing up in an Irish Catholic family in Dolton, Illinois, the actress remembers her own high-school days fondly.
"I was one of those happy travellers and really didn’t stay in one group. I kind of got around without getting humiliated and was in a little bit of everything. I knew some of the popular kids, I knew the theatre dorks, choir kids (I loved choir) and smoked cigarettes with the burnouts and the woodshop people. I got around", she laughs.
It wasn’t until later in life after high-school that she discovered she was gay, so she thankfully missed out on the taunting experienced by the gay character on 'Glee' and rarely ponders on the fact that she’s a gay actor working in Hollywood.
"I never thought about it. I never hid who I was and nobody seems to care, anyway. I’m really grateful to Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, and Ellen and all those lesbians out there who had the balls, if you will, to say, ‘This is who I am,’ and America went, ‘Sigh, okay.’ Then Jane Lynch comes along and it’s not such a big deal."
Apart from her current professional success, there’s another reason that has Lynch beaming with delight and that’s her recent marriage to partner Dr Lara Embry. The couple swapped vows in June at a ceremony attended by 16 close friends and family. "It was a lovely day. We were in Northhampton in Massachusetts, because that’s where my wife went to school, so it actually had some meaning to us," answers Lynch, referring to the fact that they couldn’t get married in California.
"We had four friends each who came out, and their spouses, so it was really small and lovely with good food. It was a great day."
And the actress adds that getting to know her now step-daughter Haden has been one of the highlights of their relationship.
"She’s a piece of work! She’s eight and a real character", she smiles with pride.
"She’s more my daughter than my wife’s in a way, she’s a lot like me. Her little wedding dress was made out of this fabric that I’m wearing now," she says pointing to her wine-coloured blouse.
So back to 'Glee', and the issue everyone wants to know – what can we expect from season two?
"Even if I knew, I couldn’t tell you," insists Lynch, of course toeing the party line.
Any musical numbers she’s hoping to get her hands on?
"I hear rumours that we may do a Bruce Springsteen episode and I think something like that would be amazing – I’m a big fan!"