Thursday, August 20, 2009

“Post Grad” mom Jane Lynch now filled with “Glee”

Jane Lynch certainly can relate to her daughter (Alexis Bledel) in the comic “Post Grad." In fact, just as Bledel’s Ryden Malby has to return to a rather eccentric family when her after-college plans go awry, Lynch left her East Coast acting search to go back home a few decades ago.
"After graduate school, I went to New York and remember always having this knot in my stomach, sometimes even doubling over in pain,” recalls Lynch, still perhaps best known for memorable roles in Christopher Guest’s very funny “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind.”
“Then, as soon as I made the decision to leave, the pain went away. At 24, I actually went back to my childhood bedroom in Chicago to a big banner that read, “Welcome Home, Janie,” complete with balloons, and I was so thrilled.”
Lynch, who was working steadily even before Guest featured her in his mockumentaries, explains a few reasons for enjoying her “Post Grad” gig.
“Carmella is a big softie – not to mention a harried mom -- trying to keep all the balls up in the air, and about four or five steps behind everyone at any given time,” Lynch says with a laugh. “I drew my inspiration from my sister, who’s actually always ahead of everyone else, but she’s constantly busy in her head and putting out fires all the time.
“It really worked out well with (movie husband) Michael Keaton, who played this guy with an agitated need to make something out of nothing and this constant optimism.
“Meanwhile,” Lynch continues, “Carmella was worried about everything and had to sort of walk on eggshells around his mother Maureen, Carol Burnett’s character. Of course, that was a dream, too.
“I grew up on television and always wanted to be on ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ and I’m not kidding. And, whom did I get to work with in this movie? That was just mind-blowing. I thought I must have done something damn good in a past life to get this role.
“It’s like genuinely achieving your dream," Lynch says. “I rally wanted to be (Burnett TV regular) Vicki Lawrence and even sent her a fan letter. Vicki sent me a note back with a picture that said something like, ‘Just work hard, Jane, and be persistent.’ I remember the word persistent because I had to look it up.
“This whole ‘Post Grad’ experience was like closing a circle, and Carol was exactly like I thought she would be: open and genuine and she loved telling stories.”
Speaking of television, persistence could pay off again for Lynch this fall with her starring role on “Glee.” She’ll play a nasty cheerleader coach and nemesis to kids on the featured high school glee club.
“She’s kind of the inner mean girl of our writers, and they give me many delicious things to say,” said Lynch, who also remains on the summer big screen in “Julie & Julia” and as a voice in “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” “It’s really nice to get to hang my hat somewhere," she concludes. “I think ("Glee") is going to inspire a rabid following (on Fox-TV, starting Sept. 9)."
For my Q&A with Alexis Bledel, as well as my reviews of “Post Grad” and “Adoration” check out this week's Sun News.

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