Jane Lynch, a brilliant comedic actress, became known for her roles in the Christopher Guest films, like “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” and her role in the Starz series “Party Down” helped to generate the series hardcore following. She left “Party Down” to play Sue Sylvester in the tv show “Glee” which became a huge hit, and brought her mainstream fame and numerous awards. Jane stopped by the SiriusXM studios last month to talk with Ron Bennington about “Escape From Planet Earth.” We’ve finally been able to get excerpts from the interview to post, which appear below.
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Jane Lynch: I got the moves like Jagger.
Ron Bennington: You actually, for a comedian also, because you’re so funny and so dry. But also have great physicality.
Jane Lynch: Oh, well thank you so much.
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Ron Bennington: The film that’s going to be out Escape From Planet Earth.
Jane Lynch: Yes, indeed.
Ron Bennington: And all these great people are doing voices and all these great comedians are in it. But you don’t actually work with them? You work separately?
Jane Lynch: We don’t. Yeah, that’s one of the things I love doing. Is being in a booth by myself, no I’m kidding, is working with other people. And locking eyes with other people. I love ensemble work and I’m sure I speak for probably a lot of people in comedy. But no, you’re by yourself in the booth. So you’ve got to use your imagination. It’s just a different process.
Ron Bennington: You’ve done a lot of voice over work in the past though?
Jane Lynch: I have, yeah, I used to make my living doing that. Voice, radio, and television voice overs. I was kind of like an announcer in those hopefully funny things you would hear on the radio. I would do those. And so doing animation was always the big deal to try and get an animated movie.
Ron Bennington: Because you really don’t know what the rest of the movie is about when you’re doing voice over, right?
Jane Lynch: Well I do, you know, you’ve got a script and you know what it’s about. But I don’t know what Craig Robinson is doing. Although I could probably guess. I don’t know what George Lopez is doing, but I can probably guess. But they’re not there in the room. We’re not informing each others performances in that way, yeah.
Ron Bennington: So you do this in between your TV show?
Jane Lynch: Yeah, the great thing about animation is – depending on the movie. This one, and this is a singular experience for me in an animated movie. I only did one session. It was a long eight-hour session. But usually it’s – because it takes years to make these films. It’s very complicated, it’s a great art, it takes a lot of work. You typically will do seven or eight sessions over a period of two years sometimes. When I would do – I did a Shrek, I did the last Shrek, and I felt like I was recording that for 17 years. It went on. But, you know, it’s an hour here, an hour there. Maybe your first couple of sessions are long and maybe a few hours long. But for the most part it’s kind of knocking it out in an hour.
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Ron Bennington: Of course you have this giant hit TV show, but I have to admit. When you did that show it broke my heart because you left Party Down. Which was my favorite, favorite TV show.
Jane Lynch: Me too.
Ron Bennington: And from what I understand, they always do rumors…
Jane Lynch: Of there’s a movie?
Ron Bennington: That there’s a movie.
Jane Lynch: I hear that too and I think I kind of heard what the story might be, and I don’t know when they’re going to do it. And I hope – the story I heard I was in it. So we’ll see. But that was one of those accidents of casting where, you know, I’m sure the producers knew what they were doing. None of us really knew each other. There were a couple people…
Ron Bennington: Is that right?
Jane Lynch: Yeah, I hadn’t met Adam yet, Adam Scott. I didn’t know Ryan Hansen or, Lizzy Caplan, or Ken Marino – had I worked with Ken yet? No, I hadn’t worked with Ken yet either. We hadn’t done Role Models yet when we did the pilot for Party Down. And Paul Rudd was supposed to play Adam Scott’s part. And then Paul, his movie career just went (Boom) and took off. So Adam did it, and we literally loved each other, we loved each other. And I know the same – after I left and Megan came in, she’s such a doll. That they all loved each other too. And we all started smoking cigarettes, which is not a good thing. But at least we weren’t doing crystal meth…
Ron Bennington: Yet. That’s because you left, but who knows.
Jane Lynch: Who knows what happened after I left. But we had the best time and Martin Starr, oh my God, just – it was a really wonderful, and you know, Starz network was great in that they gave no notes. We had one guy writing, John was writing. And his name is escaping me right now and I love him so much. He was our writer, and he wrote for all of us. He captured all of our voices so well. Martin Starr improvised everything. Because that’s just who he is. And man, every episode was just oh.
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Ron Bennington: Well, all you guys seemed to be working in the same way. And there now seems to be, in my opinion, this change in comedy has taken place. I would say that maybe it started with the Christopher Guest films.
Jane Lynch: Ensemble.
Ron Bennington: That people who watched that type of thing and said, “I’m going to put the other person over. I’m going to make this thing work.”
Jane Lynch: I think what happened, and I benefited from this, I have a career because of it, and a lot of other people do as well. Is we became ensemble comedies. And as opposed to – even if Will Ferrell was the headliner, or Steve Carell, or a Paul Rudd. It was the best joke wins. It was let’s improvise this scene let’s try it 12 different ways. When we were doing The 40 Year Old Virgin Judd would say, “Jane get in there.” Like I was sitting on the bench at basketball team. He’d say, “You get in there now.” And, you know, my part got bigger because he kept throwing me in. It was just, it was a joy, just a joy. To have that kind of trust from your director like that. He’s just like, “Let’s see what we can make out of this.”
Ron Bennington: But is there any down side to it? Do you sometimes feel like, “Okay, I left a lot of great stuff that didn’t make the film.”
Jane Lynch: Oh no, I never think about that. First of all…
Ron Bennington: You just let it go?
Jane Lynch: …I have no memory. My short term memory sucks. Rarely do I walk away and go, “I can’t believe…” I never, I can’t think of one time. You just don’t remember, and these guys know how to edit. Guys and girls. They know how to put things together.
Ron Bennington: Well, your breakthrough stuff in the Guest movies – when you go back and measure it, you weren’t really on that much in some of those early roles. But they were such memorable scenes I think. I think that had a gigantic thing for you. Where every time we saw you, you were just hammering it, time and time again.
Jane Lynch: And also, again there, another wonderful accident of casting was Jennifer Coolidge and I just falling in love on that movie. And we couldn’t wait to get to the set. In fact, the days that we didn’t work, we walked around town together and laughed and went on ridiculous escapades. And, you know, so I loved working with her. She is a unique, wonderful human being.
Ron Bennington: Specifically unique, because you can’t ever see anyone else doing the kind of characters…
Jane Lynch: No, she does her own thing. She’s just her own thing and it’s just a delight.
Ron Bennington: Boy, this would be great if you just like announced the next Guest film today.
Jane Lynch: Wouldn’t it be. Ladies and gentlemen…
Ron Bennington: Decided what we’re going to do.
Jane Lynch: Right, it’s going to be Civil War re-enactors. Some people have pitched that. I bet people pitch to him all the time and I’m sure he loves that. But he’s doing a show on HBO now with Jim Piddock, who’s another guy who’s in that unofficial ensemble. And I, God, I’m looking forward to that. Because I know he’s got some of the old crew back.
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Ron Bennington: Alright, so your film is Escape From Planet Earth. Coming out in theaters everywhere this Friday. And what else is next for you? Have you looked into it?
Jane Lynch: Yeah, I might be back here in New York doing a little Broadway. We’re working on it, I’m not at liberty to say just yet. But it looks like I’m going to be here for two months and you’ll be the first one to know.
Ron Bennington: Now, did you – have you done Broadway?
Jane Lynch: I did kind of Broadway. I did Love, Loss, and What I Wore. My beloved Nora Ephron’s play. And I did that for a month, you know, she had a rotating cast. But that was sitting on a stool and reading from a book. So it’s not like, you know, what you put into doing eight shows a week. Although I was exhausted at the end of the week of just doing that. I’ll be hopefully doing eight shows a week on something here.
Ron Bennington: And you knew Nora very well?
Jane Lynch: I knew Nora, I wish I had gotten to know her. I didn’t know her very long. A few years. I did Julie, Julia and then I did that play. But I had a really nice connection with her. She was a huge champion of mine. And then I’m talking to people who know her and the first thing they say is, “You know, Nora was such a huge champion of mine.”
Ron Bennington: Wow, that’s phenomenal.
Jane Lynch: She was wonderful at sitting down with people and saying, “What can I do for you to help you?” Or, “Let me tell you what’s unique about you and why I like you so much.” And, you know, she’s the person who said, “Never have a square dining table. It should always be round so people can talk to each other.” She’s just, she’s an amazing human being and I really miss her. And I’m so grateful, so grateful I had the three years I had with her.
Ron Bennington: She’s such an extraordinary person. And so many people say the same things that you’re saying. That she saw something I did, contacted me, and boom.
Jane Lynch: Yes, that’s what she’d do.
Ron Bennington: People don’t do this. People seem to be so much more competitive. But what is there to be competitive about if these projects begin and end all the time anyway?
Jane Lynch: Exactly. And what she’s interested in, from what I could tell in the short time I knew her. She’s so interested in human nature. She was all questions. She would reveal stuff about herself if you asked. In fact, she was quick to do that. To be intimate immediately. But she was, “What was your mother like? Really? I wonder if that’s why you’re blah, blah blah.” And she like connects the dots about why you are who you are, and oh my God, who doesn’t love that? Somebody who pays attention to you and says, “Why are you who you are?” And that’s what she was interested in.
Ron Bennington: I was at Nick Stoller’s premiere and she was there and just came across her. And it was like my real New York moment. This is exactly – when you moved to New York you want to feel like you’re at this party. And she’s there, Nora Ephron is standing there.
Jane Lynch: And she was New York personified.
Ron Bennington: Absolutely.
Jane Lynch: And I come here and I still feel her here, to me she’s still here.
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Ron Bennington: That’s terrific. So great to have you stop by. And I hope you come back to New York. I hope you come back and see us when you do.
Jane Lynch: You bet, you bet.
Ron Bennington: And seriously, let’s get the Christopher Guest thing done, locked in…
Jane Lynch: I would love it. I wish I had the power to do it. Why don’t we all just put the energy out there?
Ron Bennington: Put the energy out there. We won’t stop until it happens. Escape From Planet Earth. This is a great fun time to take the kids out and see a movie that you could also enjoy with them. Thank you so much Jane Lynch. I’ll see you next time you’re coming through.
Jane Lynch: Great.
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You can hear this interview in its entirety exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio. Not yet a subscriber? Click here for a free trial subscription.
You can learn more about Ron Bennington’s two interview shows, Unmasked and Ron Bennington Interviews atRonBenningtonInterviews.com.