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Jane Lynch approaching new TV role with “Glee”

There were a dozen cast members from the new FOX series Glee onstage at the Television Critics Assn. Press Tour Thursday and my guess is that in-demand character actress Jane Lynch has more acting credits than all of the rest combined.

The out actress, who plays Meryl Streep’s sister in Julie & Julia which hits theaters today, has been a standout in such films as A Mighty Wind, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Role Models and in various TV series including Two And a Half Men, Boston Legal and The L Word.

But it is her role as evil high school cheerleading advisor Sue Sylvester in Glee that may end up being Lynch’s signature role if the  becomes as big a hit as the buzz indicates it will.

Jane called it “the role of a lifetime and added that ” Sue’s dialogue is “the best, most heinous things I’ve ever said. I could not be happier… this is really a highlight.”

Why, she was asked, does she thrive at playing such people as the mean boss or, as in Glee, the scheming faculty member?

“I love that lack of shame, ” she said. “I find it fascinating that someone can walk through life that way thinking they’re really something. I guess I’m attracted to that at some level. I don’t think it’s first and foremost in my personality but it’s a lovely, delicious thing to call upon and I love doing it. I think it’s reached a pinnacle though with Sue Sylvester, she has to be the most scheming, unashamed, entitled person I’ve ever played and I absolutely just adore her.”

Jane also said that even though her character isn’t a singing character (the show is about a high school glee club) but she hopes she will get to belt out a number at some point. And what number would that be?

Rose’s Turn from Gypsy.”

After the panel, I joined a small gaggle of reporters that surrounded Jane. She was asked why she thought Glee was causing such a sensation when just one episode has aired and that was last spring.

“It’s the kids and obsessed adults,” she said. “Kids get ahold of something, they’re like pitbulls and they don’t let it go.”

She credits things like Twitter and Facebook as well: “I think it is this new age, I think it’s a new metric. In addition to how many viewers watch it, I think they’re also going to look at the presence on the Web and of course the iTunes. I think it will be huge.”

As for her singing, Jane reminded me that she did her own singing on A Mighty Wind so “anytime I get an opportunity to sing, I’ll grab it.”


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