In person, Sue Sylvester isn’t half as scary. Rather, Jane Lynch, who plays the loudmouthed megalomaniac on the mega-hit musical TV show, Glee, seems like someone you wouldn’t be terrified to run into in a dark hallway.
When asked whether people are scared to say hi to her on the streets, and Lynch laughs, “Sue Sylvester isn’t dangerous. She's mean and insulting, but she's not Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs. What she says is ridiculous, but most people who meet me wish they could say what she says and get away with it.”
Does the audience ever find out why the cheerleading coach is always so angry? She says, “We find out that Sue herself may have been a lover of the musical theatre as a child. And perhaps someone bad-mouthed her. I don't know.”
Despite her instantly recognisable mug, Lynch admits she’s glad that, at 51, success took its time. “When I was younger, I would probably have my self-esteem blown with the winds of public opinion. I’d have read blogs and comments, and hurt my feelings. Or if they were positive, they’d have inflated me. At this age, I have equanimity, so I'm able to handle success.”
Lynch admits to being plagued by self-invented personal demons when she was younger, which she turned into acting fuel material after visiting a therapist: “I started to see the power of all the shames and fears, not just sexual orientation, that I was afraid to look at.” She created a character called The Angry Lady, channelling her angst into a raging monologue. “She wears a neck brace and a patch over her eye, and she’s always suing everybody. So now the part of me that's all righteous makes me laugh.”
Ask whether we’ll ever see her character in anything other than a tracksuit, and Lynch grins, “I’m a trackie. I have 30 suits now, including some in fuchsia and lime green.”
As for Sue’s complicated love life, Lynch admits that the third season might see TV’s favourite hell-raiser revealing her romantic side: “Well, we might actually see Sue’s heart engaged to a certain fella...”
Get the lowdown on Lynch
* Lynch’s character Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach, is the Glee club’s arch nemesis in the superhit series.
* The show has shattered records with its music, with over thirty-six million digital single sales and eleven million album sales worldwide.
* Lynch recently released her autobiography, Happy Accidents, through which she addresses issues like her alcoholism.
* She is openly gay and is married to partner Lara Embry.