Thursday, November 01, 2012

My Jane Lynch Story

Jane Lynch makes her big Disney debut
By Raymond de Asis Lo (The Philippine Star) Updated November 01, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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In Wreck-It Ralph, Jane (inset) provides the voice for Sergeant Calhoun, a tough combat leader whose encounter with the titular Ralph sends her to an adventure far beyond her imagination.| Zoom
MANILA, Philippines - Three years ago, it would probably be difficult to introduce an actress to readers who was so talented yet was not being given the recognition and projects she truly deserved. But it all changed when a quirky and revolutionary TV series about a talented group of outcasts singing their way out of their miseries in life captured the heart of America and made famous stars out of its relatively unknown cast.

The show was called Glee. Today, no writer would have to labor introducing one of the biggest breakout stars of that show. Just mention the name Sue Sylvester and nearly everyone would know whom you are talking about.

This writer is referring, of course, to Jane Lynch, and no, she’s not mean in person. She is very pleasant and cordial — a complete opposite of her TV alter-ego.

The actress met with The STAR recently during the junket for Wreck-It Ralph, the newest animated feature from Walt Disney Pictures. Jane provides the voice for one of the leading characters in the movie and during our interview, she couldn’t hide her excitement at being cast in a Disney production. To her, being in a Disney movie is proof that she’s finally made it in the business.

“To be in a Disney movie is a pretty amazing thing!” she exclaimed. “We all grew up with them and I’ll be, maybe, in a shelf next to Jungle Book, Snow White, Cinderella… It’s a pretty amazing thing.”

It is amazing, indeed, for someone whose long road to success would test the resolve of wannabe actors dreaming of Hollywood stardom but are only willing to sacrifice a couple of months for their dreams. Jane was different. She took her time and waited for the perfect opportunity — and her recent rise in Hollywood is a result of years of hard work, patience and determination.

“I was a ‘jobber’ actor, which is quite a noble thing to be,” she recalled. “I took whatever anybody gave me. I was like, for a while there, a scavenger.

“I think of the time when I was in my mid-30s. I had a pretty nice career. I did a lot of voiceovers — that was what I did for a long time — and a guest spot on TV here and there and when I couldn’t get a guest spot on TV, I would create my own stuff so I kind of contented myself with that.”

But she always wondered if she could still have a bigger career. “I always thought, ‘I wish I could make it big. But this is good, I am making a nice living.’ But to get the (success) that I feel I’ve been handed is a preposterous fantasy come true.”

That fantasy has also produced an Emmy trophy for Best Supporting Actress, among many other industry accolades.

And now, at age 52, comes her big Disney debut.

In Wreck-It Ralph, Jane provides the voice for Sergeant Calhoun, a tough combat leader whose encounter with the titular Ralph sends her to an adventure far beyond her imagination.

Wreck-it Ralph is an inventive and fun movie set in the world of arcade games. It tells the story of a bad guy named Ralph whose role in one of the games was to destroy things until the good guy named Fix-It Felix Jr. comes along to undo all that Ralph has done. After three decades of doing the same stuff, Ralph grows tired of being the bad guy and decides to become the good guy this time. Thus, he goes to an exciting adventure across the arcade universe in search of the proof that he, too, can become a hero.

Jane described working on the movie as the “cruisiest (American slang for leisurely) job in the world.”

“The genius, of course, takes place with everything that happens around you — the animation, the designing and everything,” she added. “Not to belittle what we add to the character, which is really important, but the job itself is just a joy. You don’t have to show up with make-up. You don’t have to put on nice clothes.”

But what surprised her most was when the director told her that her character would essentially look and sound a lot like her. “During the first session, I was a little nervous, I thought, ‘Does he want me to do a different voice? Does he want me to do my voice? Does he want to me to do my thing? It turns out the reason I was there was he wanted me to do my thing! It was a big relief. It was a lot of fun!”

Now that she’s successful and famous, how is she coping with the perks and drawbacks of being a celebrity?
“It’s fun,” she replied after a brief laughter. “For me, it’s not a bad gig. If they (referring to the paparazzi) want one more picture of me coming out of the coffee shop and that means something to somebody, that’s fine with me.”

Did she actually wish to be famous?

“I always wanted, specially when I was younger, to have the spotlight and have people want me and want a piece of me,” she admitted. “That was definitely a dream but as you mature, it does become more about the work than about what people think about me. It’s nice but sometimes it’s a little pain in the ass. But for the most part, it’s fine.”

The movie also features the stellar voices of Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly (as the titular Ralph), comedian Jack McBrayer (as the good guy Fix-It Felix Jr.) and Emmy-winning comic Sarah Silverman, who voices Ralph’s foil in the movie, the bratty game glitch, Vanellope von Schweetz.

Wreck-It Ralph opens in theaters today. 

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