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Jane Lynch�s Glass is Half Full

Jane Lynch�s Glass is Half Full

Make no mistake, Jane Lynch is very disappointed about passage of California’s Proposition 8, but the politically savvy actress prefers to see the glass as half full. The hardworking actress talks politics, Tru Loved, The L Word and more.

Make no mistake, Jane Lynch is very disappointed about passage of California’s Proposition 8, but the politically savvy actress prefers to see the glass as half full. “I don’t think people are ready,” she says, “but they’re almost ready…”

Lynch was surprised by the outcome. “It's the millions of dollars and the demonization of us by the churches that's tough to fight,” she says.

“The church people are motivated to come out and vote against something…I’m going to make a huge sweeping statement ,” Lynch says. “But religion always needs an enemy to get it motivated… it needs the evil to fight against… but, you know, it’s less and less...”

Lynch is grateful to everyone who worked so hard to defeat the amendment especially the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and its CEO Lorri Jean.

“Did you see the march?” she asks. “There were tens of thousands of people out all over California and that’s due to the LA Center and the center in San Francisco and some grass roots organizations and straight people, black people white people, all banding together … it’s a process and we’re almost there.”

Beyond Prop 8, Lynch is exuberant about the Obama presidential victory. “I love it… I think this is just an energetic shift that we needed so badly. I’m a fan.… I have a crush on Obama … I really think he is along the lines of what FDR was for us in 1933… people were about to run to the bank to grab their money … he became president and said ‘don’t do it… I’m going to put you all to work’…basically that is what Obama says… ‘hang in there, we’re going to get ourselves out of this… it’s going to take time but we’re going to do it.’”

But the election and Prop 8 were not the only things keeping Lynch busy this summer. She starred in a slew of recently released films and received several awards including the Faith Hubley Memorial Award in Provincetown, an Artistic Achevement Award in Philly and a Career Achievement Award in Fort Lauderdale.

A Mighty Wind

At 48 the tall, attractive blond finds life productive and rewarding. “It’s wonderful to be appreciated for what you do… I’ve had a really nice summer,” she says. “I love what I do and every time I get a project, it’s something even more exciting than before and I’ve been working with really great people… so, no complaints.”

Lynch has come a long way from her native Chicago. With an undergrad degree from Illinois State and an MFA from Cornell, Lynch fine-tuned her skills in the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theater, The Second City Touring Company and as Carol Brady in the cult favorite, The Real Live Brady Bunch. She moved to Los Angeles and landed her share of parts but it was a chance encounter with filmmaker Christopher Guest that led to her breakthrough role as the butch dog trainer in Best in Show and earned her a place in the Guest improvisational ensemble cast.

Best in Show

Lynch says her career works best when she keeps her hands off and she doesn’t even try to find the perfect role. “When I try to plan things, I always shoot lower than what I end up getting. I don’t have any ambitions that way… I used to, but I just take what comes and it’s a much happier life and much more fulfilling.”

Whether it’s the big screen, the small screen or the computer screen, Lynch has created memorable characters and her recent work has added to that impressive list.

In I Do and I Don’t, she plays dysfunctional marriage counselor Nora Stelmack. “It was really good writing. I had a gas doing it and coming up with who she is. My fellow actors, Bryan [Callen] and Matt [Servitto], played a part in that and we all supported each other and had terrific chemistry… it was one of the happier accidents of casting that I have ever experienced...”

Lynch gets to stretch her more dramatic muscles in her recurring role as Diana Reid, the mentally disturbed mother of Dr. Spencer Reid on the Criminal Minds TV series.

“That character has such a slow tempo and she's struggling to make sense of things all the time … it’s a whole different tempo to step into and I really enjoy it… She has schizophrenia and it’s really hard for her to process the present moment… being in an institution kind of allows her to breathe and not be overwhelmed…When I get to be just sitting there in the institution, boy it’s a relief, because I really don’t try to process anything, I just try to be.”

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Moving in yet another direction, Lynch sang and made a music video for Another Cinderella Story, in which she plays Dominique Blatt, the wicked stepmother.

“That was like a dream come true -- 100 percent good old-fashioned fun… singing and dancing and having all these handsome guys making me look like I know what I’m doing and it was the answer to a preposterous fantasy I have always had,” Lynch says.

The ubiquitous actress is only in Stewart Wade’s Tru Loved for, as she says, “a nanosecond,” but her scene with Alec Mapa is one of the funniest in the film. Recently released theatrically by Regent Releasing, the movie tells the story of a young girl with two moms who starts her school’s first gay-straight alliance. Lynch thinks the film tells an important story.

"It’s about a regular gal -- a kind of fish out of water -- [who] gets thrown into unfamiliar, uncharted territory and through the power of her character and her charm, she wins people over ... With the new families we have today, where there are two same sex parents, I think [Wade] told a story that hasn’t been told yet," Lynch adds.

She also got high marks from both critics and viewers for her part in David Wain’s Role Models, portraying former addict Gale Sweeney, director of Sturdy Wings, a kid’s mentorship program.

Lynch is not sure she believes Sweeney's story about her past. “I think that it probably is a story that has gotten more dramatic and more horrible with each telling and I’m not sure any of it really happened that badly but she loves the role she’s in where she gets to say, ‘yeah I crashed and burned but like the Phoenix, I rose from the ashes and now I get to tell people what to do,’” she says laughing.

Lynch stays in character on the Sturdy Wings web site (www.sturdywings.org) in the Gale Sweeney video blog -- like DVD outtakes on the web. “I guess that’s the future… that’s what the strike was about because everybody wants to protect their stake in that. It’s a whole new world… it also means there is more content out there for people to choose.”

Lynch is no stranger to the Internet. She sang to the Rabbit Bites bunnies on Salon.com, appears in two of Illeana Douglas’ web series -- Supermarket of the Stars and Easy to Assemble -- and appears in Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy series.

Supermarket of the Stars was a pilot for the Oxygen Network that didn’t get picked up,” Lynch explains. “So Illeana Douglas split it into little YouTubes and it got hundreds of thousands of hits… you do a pilot, it doesn’t get picked up and you move on with your life and then you see it on YouTube and it’s great... I’m glad people get to see it.”

But don’t think for a minute that Lynch is taking a rest. Possibly the hardest working actress in Hollywood has several new projects in the pike. “I did a movie with Nora Ephron called Julie & Julia starting Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams [that] will be out in 2009… it’s a wonderful romantic comedy,” Lynch says. Her movie with Carol Burnett, The Post Grad Survival Guide, is slated for release next year and she's waiting to hear about the fate of a few TV pilots.

This coming year fans and castmembers alike will bid farewell to the L Word and to Lynch’s character, attorney Joyce Wishnia.

“It’s half a season,” she says. “It’s very exciting… a lot things are tied up, some things are left hanging and some very dramatic things happen… I think people are just going to friggin’ love it.”

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Edie Stull