Back in 2004, Jane Lynch was cast as Amelia Earhart in Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator. Her scenes did not survive the brutal final cut.
For an actress who has spent the last 16 years looking for her big break, it was a huge blow. It’s no wonder Lynch confessed to having been to psychic readings.
“It was very helpful and comforting early in my life to seek them out,” the actress said in an interview in Los Angeles, California.
We’re not too sure what the psychic told Lynch during one of her readings, but it must have been something along the lines of “keep hanging in there.”
A year later, Lynch was cast as Steve Carrell’s sassy store manager in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She ad-libbed a scene where she serenaded Carrell’s character with a made-up Guatemalan love song. Critics praised her performance and Lynch’s brand of wry humour took off.
Lynch who has a Masters in Fine Arts for theater from Cornell University said the secret to her comedy style is simply being instinctive.
“I will practice a moment. Sometimes I almost go too far and I’ll have to bring myself back. For the most part, when you’re out there and the camera is rolling, you are basically in your insticts,” she shared.
In 2009, Lynch was cast as Sue Sylvester in musical-comedy TV series Glee. She described the tracksuit-wearing cheerleading coach of William McKinley High as show creators’ (Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan) “inner mean girl”.
Her portrayal of Sue earned her numerous accolades including an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the Supporting Actress category.
Lynch also brought her comedic chops as the host of Hollywood Game Night where celebrities like Eva Longoria, Mario Lopez and Chrissy Teigen have appeared as guests to compete in party games.
“What’s great is that everyone shows up to have fun. There is 99.9% chance of looking like an idiot at any given time and they do it anyway. I love that about actors. I love that kind of mining the moment for the most fun that you can have. I really respect my own kind in that way.”
Lynch’s stint on Hollywood Game Night earned her back-to-back Emmys as Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.
Despite the fame and recognition that came with Glee, Lynch said she was not rolling in acting offers when the show concluded in 2015. We didn’t believe her.
“It’s true. Things were not coming to me. I might have a couple of things here and there but nothing made me sit up and took notice,” she explained.
Lynch also wanted to break away from playing the Sue Sylvester-types.
“It’s easy for people to go ‘Oh, Jane can do this’. Then there is really no challenge for me.”
Then came Angel From Hell. Lynch loved the script (“I laughed out loud!”) and agreed to the role of the titular character right away.
In the comedy-drama, Lynch is Amy, an eccentric alcoholic who claims to be a guardian angel to dermatologist Allison played by Maggie Lawson.
“I love how Amy is not like Sue Sylvester. Her heart is unguarded while Sue had steels around a very tender heart.
“This woman’s vulnerability is her greatest strength. She’ll admit when she is wrong, she’ll admit when she is right, she’ll let you take credit for something that maybe she did behind the scenes. She doesn’t have an ego around being vulnerable,” the 55-year-old actress said.
Suprisingly, one thing makes Amy very similar to Sue and its her choice of sticking to one type of clothing. Much like how Sue sticks to her tracksuits, Amy wears the same vest.
Lynch, who was incidentally wearing a vest with her all-black outfit during this interview, said she was simply making a conscious decision with the wardrobe choice.
“Two reasons. If you have a great little body, you can throw things on anything, like the cute little girls here in Hollywood, they look good in anything. But I have to go through fittings and you have to nip and tuck.
“So I was like, ‘If I could wear one thing that fits, that would be great’.”
She also wants Amy’s identity to be a mystery to viewers of Angel From Hell. Having to change outfits all the time might give it away too easily. Lynch hints that Amy may not be an actual angel at all: “A lot of the good deeds she does are probably court-mandated. She probably sleeps in her car.”
When Lynch thinks about her career at this point, she feels contented. She confessed to not having any plans or goals and to allow things to happen naturally.
The affable actress also shared that she no longer feels the need to visit a psychic.
“I don’t necessarily have the need anymore to know what’s going to happen in the future or why something happened in the past. I just kind of do my best to stay very much right here.”
Angel From Hell airs every Friday at 9pm on RTL CBS Entertainment (HyppTV Ch 616).