In the Oscar-nominated animated feature "Wreck-It Ralph," Jane Lynch voices a video game warrior named Calhoun, who mixes Arnold Schwarzenegger brawn with Jessica Rabbit curves. Her character gets dragged out of her video game for a recon mission to find villain Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) when he goes AWOL from his home box, Fix-It Felix, putting all the games in the arcade at risk. Ralph wants to think outside the video game box and become a hero for a change. Who wouldn't?
Like Wreck-It Ralph, Lynch doesn't want to be boxed in either. Whether she's a villain or a heroine, live action or animated, she's always giving her all to entertain. For Lynch, who achieved TV stardom as Sue Sylvester in "Glee" and cult status as a regular player in Christopher Guest comedies like "Best in Show," performing vocal work for cartoons is a lucrative lark. "Doing animation has always been the brass ring, a great joy. I love the process," the actress and mother gushed while talking to Yahoo! Movies from the set of "Glee."
Thelma Adams: Your character has a wicked backstory: Calhoun failed to protect her fiancé from electronic bugs on their wedding day, which leaves her shoulder permanently chipped. It's so Charles Bronson; now, it's personal.
Jane Lynch: There is a part of me that is very protective. I would be pretty upset if my fiancé was killed on my watch.
TA: Your character, Calhoun, packs some hefty artillery. That doesn't seem like your thing.
JL: I'm afraid of guns. I'm kind of a Fix-It Felix video girl. I like the simpler, sweeter kind of games.
TA: Did you play video games growing up?
JL: No. I never was into it. As a kid we didn't have many. We had Pac-Man and Ms. Pack-Man and Asteroids. I was not the kid that hung out at the arcade. We weren't mall people. In high school, we would go out drinking.
TA: That story's a little less uplifting, but relatable. With Calhoun, you've created a strong role model that your 11-year-old daughter can appreciate.
JL: I guess I'm not consciously trying to create role models, although I'm glad they made this character female. And I'm glad that she's powerful and uses her power wisely and has good judgment. That's important.
TA: She's also hot, and recognizably you. She's a super-you.
JL: Super-me is a good way to put it. There were things that she would do with her mouth or ways she'd move her head and I'd think: That's me. That's me in a 3-D cartoon -- and going to the gym and doing Pilates for six years in a row.
TA: Is it a challenge to leave your body behind and just voice a character?
JL: There's nothing hard about it at all. It's a joy. At the worst, it's repetitive. I'm a person who likes habit and knowing what my job is. It's a cushy job, just five or six sessions over a two-and-a-half year period.
TA: I'm a Christopher Guest junkie. I love "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show." Are there any plans for a reunion?
JL: Not that I know of. Over Christmas, we all got together at John Michael Higgins' and sang choral music.
TA: Well, let this be a nudge to Guest to get cracking! Do you go to the movies, or are you a cable girl?
JL: I do like to go to movies. I like to be in the theater. I like the event of it. A lot of time I choose what to see by the actor, but I also pick movies by whether it's a place I want to go --- is this set in Paris, or the Hamptons, or New York City? I'm not rushing to see Cleveland in 1960 on a cloudy day.
TA: Did you watch cartoons growing up?
JL: I watched Saturday morning cartoons. By the time I was a kid growing up in Chicago, "The Flintstones" were no longer in prime time. I watched "Pebbles and Bam Bam," "Tom & Jerry," and "Clutch Cargo."
TA: There weren't as many powerful role models for little girls then in the pre- "Powerpuff Girls" era.
JL: There sure weren't. I do think there's scientific evidence that it does help girls in their career development later for them to see independent, really powerful girls. There's nowhere near parity with that, but we're certainly getting there. Is parity the right word?
TA: Parity works.
JL: It makes me sound like I'm smart.
TA: Game over.