Who doesn’t love Jane Lynch? We see her everywhere these days either as Sue Sylvester on the hit show “Glee” or hosting the NBC game show “Hollywood Game Night.” Lynch is an endlessly talented actress who never fails to give a tremendously entertaining performance. While we didn’t recognize her right away as a doctor working alongside Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive,” she would later go on to steal scenes in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind.” She then made her big breakthrough opposite Steve Carell in “The 40-Year Old Virgin” as Paula, the electronics store manager who offers in a rather bizarre way to have sex with the man of the movie’s title.
We got to meet with Lynch during the press day for the comedy “A.C.O.D.,” its title meaning Adult Children of Divorce. In the movie she plays Dr. Judith, a therapist who was there for Carter (played by Adam Scott) as a young boy when his parents go through an incredibly messy and bitter divorce. Now Carter has come back to Dr. Judith after hearing that his younger brother has just gotten engaged to get her advice on a few matters. But what Carter soon realizes is that Dr. Judith wasn’t actually his therapist when he was a child, but instead a writer who used him and other kids for her study on children of divorce, and it ended up turning into a book that is now in its umpteenth edition.
The press day for “A.C.O.D.” came just a few days after the Emmy Awards in which Lynch got to share the stage with a number of entertainers including Neil Patrick Harris.
The opening of the Emmy Awards this year was fantastic. What exactly were you going to do to lynch Mr. Harris?
Jane Lynch: I was going to throw him down and show him what kind of a woman I can be, but that’s something he would not enjoy unless I said that I would enjoy it less (laughs).
You did have the somber tribute to your “Glee” co-story Cory Montieth, but then you’re also celebrating and you get to have this great comedic moment.
Jane Lynch: Yes, that was great and to see the company I keep and being one of the guys with Jimmy, Jimmy, Judy and Neil and Conan, I was just out of my body going “wow this is pretty amazing!”
Many were surprised that you didn’t have a singing and dancing number given that you have been on Broadway a number of times.
Jane Lynch: Yes exactly! Well I’m kind of glad that it was confined to what it was (laughs).
What attracted you to the role of Dr. Judith in “A.C.O.D.” You have actually played many therapists throughout your career.
Jane Lynch: Many times, and I’m playing one on Saturday too in a little spot for a friend of mine. I think I’m fascinated with therapy and I’m fascinated with my own therapist (laughs). I have a terrific therapist who I have seen over the years and I would say that we’re probably friends now. We’ve come to the point where we’re friends. I always take a little bit of her and blow it up because she’s a very interesting person.
Has your therapist ever been offended by your portrayals?
Jane Lynch: NO! She’s like, “Ha! Ha! Ha!” She loves it.
It seems that many actors do go to therapy for years and years. Why do you think that is?
Jane Lynch: Well I don’t know that that’s absolutely true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. What we do is we examine ourselves because we’re interested in all aspects of humanity, and the place you have to start to be any good at acting is with yourself. Everything is inside of you, all of it; the murderer, the great mother, the therapist, the husband, everything is inside of us. Because we’re human beings, we can relate to almost every emotion and I think that kind of exploration you do in therapy makes you more open and creative and more empathetic. You are able to see a character from the point of view of the inside out as opposed to, “Ooh! I’m playing a bad guy!” Let’s get deep inside this person so we know what makes this sociopath tick. What in me is sociopathic? We all have it. For me, my therapy has always run parallel with the characters I play. I’ll find something that I’m dealing with that will come up in a character.
For the longest time there was a lack of roles for women of age but now that seems to be changing. Do you believe that the tide is turning?
Jane Lynch: I don’t know if you will be able to point to a moment in time where the tide did turn, but I think that it definitely has. I love this new generation of girls coming up. It sounds so old when I say that, but there’s an entitlement to people like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey where they just expect to have a seat at the table so they have a seat at the table.
Do you ever think you will step behind the camera to direct?
Jane Lynch: I don’t know. I don’t feel that I have to, but I have a feeling that I will at some point. But it will come out of something that will have me saying, “Ooh I want to do that.” But I don’t think I can sit here and go, “I would like to direct one day.”
Do you think you could direct yourself?
Jane Lynch: Yeah. Sometimes I wish I could, you know? One of the worst moments on set is when the director says, “Jane I have an idea…” I hate that! I will have the ideas thank you! I think a great director sees what you bring to the table and they go okay and maybe they build on that. But to take you in a completely different direction… If Christopher Guest does that than fine, but not Bo Schmo.