I had opportunity to talk with Jane Lynch about a few of her upcoming projects including her appearance at Dinah Shore. She also shared some great advice for those struggling with whether or not to come out of the closet.
What are you working on right now?I finished a movie last Wednesday. It’s working title is Ticket to Ride. It’s with Michael Keaton, Carol Burnett and Alexis Bledel of the Gilmore Girls.
Wow, Carol Burnett.I know. She plays my mother-in-law. It was the highlight of my life. Michael Keaton is wonderful too. But boy did we enjoy Carol Burnett!
What can you tell me about the movie?I’m the mother. Alexis is trying desperately to start her own life and circumstances foil her. It’s about finding the boy nextdoor is the love she’s been waiting for and that there’s no place like home.
So, a romantic comedy?Yeah. It’s a very wacky romantic comedy.
How long have you been working in Hollywood?I’ve been out here about 14 years. I’ve been chugging right along.
You have been. You’ve been in everything: movies, commercials T.V. Are you the busiest workingwoman in Hollywood?I don’t know. I’ve been very lucky, I work a lot.
Do you prefer comedy or drama?I prefer work. Just doing it. I love to be busy.
Do you have a role that you consider one of your favorites?Laurie Bohner in A Mighty Wind. I really enjoyed doing that character. I loved singing in a group. And we toured. The best part was being this sexpot who has no shame about her body and loves her femininity.
It seems like a lot of the characters you play have a swagger, like in the 40 Year Old Virgin and The L Word. Is that swagger you?No. It’s me on a REALLY good day.
A few years back, you won an award from POWER UP for one of the Ten Amazing Gay Women in Hollywood, which was the first time I realized you were out. I wanted to ask you about that. Was coming out a decision you made at some point?No, it was very organic. I didn’t stop going to gay events because my visibility was a little greater, I just continued to live my life. I benefited from the work of the brave people like Ellen and Melissa and Rosie. They did the grunt work and I happily walked that trail, whistling a tune. It was much easier for me.
Has being out affected your career that you can tell?No. If it has it’s been behind my back. But you know what, I don’t play ingénues. I think if I were a Julia Roberts type, wait, no that’s not true, I know some women in television who are gay and it doesn’t seem to affect them. But I think if you’re a really big star, then it can affect you. But that seems to be getting better.
Do you have advice for young lesbian looking to pursue a Hollywood career?I would say don’t be a young lesbian pursuing a Hollywood career. These identifications that we wrap ourselves around: I’m tall, I’m a lesbian, I’m African American. Yeah, those things affect how people perceive us. But ever since I was a little kid, I never wrapped myself around any of those labels. So I think that’s why I always assumed more was possible for me. So I would say, if you want to be an actor, go out there and act.
The thing is, the world has changed. Like I said, there were really brave, powerful people before us who laid this groundwork, who sacrificed and were given a hard time. But work has been done, so jump on that path and benefit from that. It’s all about how you feel about yourself. Do what ever is comfortable for you. Some people are more comfortable in the closet. You’ve got to let them be. It doesn’t make them bad people and it doesn’t make them dishonest. They have to ask themselves, where am I comfortable? It’s a process.