In the all-new contemporary take on The Three Stooges, from Peter and Bobby Farrelly, actress Jane Lynch plays Mother Superior, the head nun at the orphanage where newborns Moe, Larry and Curly were left on the doorstep. Now adults (and played by Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso), they set out to help out the nuns, which also include Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David) and Sister Rosemary (Jennifer Hudson), and raise enough money to save their childhood home, with all of the pratfalls and slapstick comedy that they’re famous for.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, the always funny and charming Jane Lynch talked about talked about her first exposure to The Three Stooges, how blown away she was to see them brought back to life so meticulously, how she got involved with the film, her most memorable moment with Larry David, working with Jennifer Hudson as a singing nun, wearing a nun’s habit in Atlanta in the summer, and what made Peter and Bobby Farrelly the right filmmakers to bring The Three Stooges back to life. She also talked about voicing a character for the Disney animated feature Wreck-It Ralph, about a character from a 1980s video game who wants to get out of his game and into a more high-tech one, her role in A.C.O.D. (which stands for Adult Children of Divorce), the status of the Party Down movie, and what she’s looking forward to on her Fox TV series Glee. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
JANE LYNCH: I don’t remember not knowing The Three Stooges. They were on WGN after school, when I was growing up in Chicago, with The Little Rascals. I loved them. I thought they were just amazing. I loved the physical comedy and the slapstick. For kids, especially, that’s always a good time, but I ended up being one of those people that grew into adulthood, still loving a good pratfall.
Having been a fan, what was your reaction, the first time you saw these guys on set, embodying these characters and bringing them back to life?
LYNCH: I was blown away. They just captured the characters so much and made it so very much their own. They were meticulous. The poking and the slapping and the prodding is basically a dance, and they were just absolute masters.
How did you come to be a part of this film? Was it something that you were just approached about doing?
LYNCH: Yeah, I got a call. I’ve been a big fan of the Farrelly brothers (Pete and Bobby), so it’s not like I thought twice about it. I got a call, asking if I wanted to play Mother Superior and to read the script. I think I gave it a cursory glance and was like, “Well, of course, I want to be in it!” And, I went out to Atlanta to shoot it.
Do you have any particularly memorable moments, working with Larry David as Sister Mary-Mengele?
LYNCH: Yeah, he was amazing! There was one point where he was yelling at Larry and Curly in the hospital room. They were doing his coverage of it, so we had to be off camera, and we just couldn’t stop laughing. Larry just told us to leave the room. He said, “I’ll do it without you!”
Was it fun to also add Jennifer Hudson to the mix, as the singing nun, Sister Rosemary?
LYNCH: Yes, she’s just a real sweetheart. What a talent! It was just a real coo for them to have gotten her, and to have gotten her to sing. She’s just a really beautiful woman.
How did you get involved with Wreck-It Ralph and what character are you voicing for that film?
LYNCH: I was asked to do it. I actually took a tour of the Pixar facility, just north of San Francisco, and I met John Lassiter and a bunch of other people. I don’t know that I did anything for them right after that, but I ended up doing a short (Small Fry) for them, and they asked me to do Wreck-It Ralph. Wreck-It Ralph is a 1980s video game from an arcade that no one plays anymore, and Wreck-It Ralph himself wants to get out and get into a more high-tech game. My game is a military game, where we’re armies and I’m the general of this particular game, and Wreck-It Ralph jumps into our reality.
Do you enjoy getting to do that kind of voice-over work?
LYNCH: Oh, yeah, absolutely! I love it! I made my living doing voice-over for several years, before my acting work became a little more consistent, so I love doing it. I’m so glad that I get to keep doing it.
What is A.C.O.D. about, and who do you play in that film?
LYNCH: I was concerned about the fact that I’m playing a psychologist in A.C.O.D. ‘cause I play a psychologist on Two and a Half Men and I played a psychologist on Boston Legal. I’ve played a lot of psychologists, so I was a little concerned about that. The guys who wrote it didn’t even know. They weren’t familiar with Two and a Half Men. But, the character is nothing like the character that I play on Two and a Half Men anyway. She’s an academic, and she’s a mess. She has very few social skills. There’s not going to be a chance that she looks the same as that character.
I worked with Adam Scott, who I adore. I did Party Down with him, and he’s become a good friend. I just came back this morning from finishing that, and I had such a good time. Adam Scott is the lead. His parents got divorced when he was a kid, and they’re played by Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara. It was a horrible, ugly divorce. My character was an academic writing a book about children of divorce, at the time, and she interviewed Adam when he was a kid. Adam is trying to put the pieces of his life together, so he goes back to her and says, “Can you tell me what I was like?” And then, I decide to write a sequel about what he’s like now. I had written a book before about him, unbeknownst to him. He’s basically trying to put the pieces of himself together, and it’s very funny.
Have you hear anything about the status of the Party Down movie?
Do you have a favorite upcoming storyline or episode in the remainder of the season of Glee?
LYNCH: Yeah. Well, I’m pregnant, so that’s the most exciting thing. There’s some interesting developments with Quinn (Dianna Agron). She got in a very bad accident, texting and driving. There’s a lot of fun stuff coming up. We have a Saturday Night Fever episode. That was so much fun.
And, you got to kiss Matt Bomer (White Collar), in an episode.
LYNCH: I did. That was my idea, too. I said, “What if you kiss me?”
With some of the original cast members graduating at the end of this season, are you excited about how that will effect things, in the future?
LYNCH: Yeah. Well, I know they’re coming back, but it will be interesting. It will be nice to shake things up. It will be really great.
LYNCH: I think it’s like how The Three Stooges are famous for being violent with each other. No one gets hurt. Sue Sylvester doesn’t really hurt anybody. She’s mean and she says awful things, but she’s not Hannibal Lector.
Do you enjoy having those little glimmers of being nice, every once in awhile?
LYNCH: I love ‘em! Anybody that mad is protecting something very tender.
When you have a hit TV show that you’ve won a number of awards for, you have a successful film and TV career, you’ve published a memoir and you’ve hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards, is there another career or personal triumph that you’re striving for, or does everything just feel like the cherry on top now?
LYNCH: Everything is the cheery on top. I’m sitting back and letting the world roll in at my feet, and it’s nice. I love keeping things varied.
Do you have a dream role that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?
LYNCH: No, I don’t. I really don’t. I think Sue Sylvester was about the biggest dream role in the world. I have such great faith that what I’m supposed to play next will show up.
Could you ever have imagined that you’d be in a film that was bringing The Three Stooges back to life for people who have never had the chance to experience them before?
LYNCH: No, and it’s thrilling. I’m really proud of this movie. I think it’s so good.
LYNCH: It’s the slapstick comedy. It doesn’t matter that it was done in Depression Era America. It’s just the absolute commitment to the wackiness and the pratfalls and the hits and the punches, where no one is getting hurt. It scratches that itch that we all want to put fingers in each other’s eyes.
Did you ever wish that you could get more physically involved on set, or were you happy just watching it from the sidelines?
LYNCH: I was happy just watching it. It was a real joy to be an audience member, watching them do their thing.
Were there challenges in enduring the nun’s habit in Atlanta?
LYNCH: Yes! It was polyester and so hot. But, it was nothing compared to the guys who were running around wearing wool suits. That was hot.
What made Peter and Bobby Farrelly the right guys to bring back The Three Stooges?
LYNCH: They’re fans, that’s why. They love it. Mike Cerrone, their co-writer in this, really nailed the story and the script. They’re just huge fans.
What is it that attracts you to projects, these days?
LYNCH: I like working with people. It’s about who I’m working with, and if there’s good food.
When did you first realize that you were good at comedy and that it was something that came so naturally for you?
LYNCH: I don’t remember a moment of realizing that. I just knew it, all along. I was very pleased that I was able to do that, and that I seemed to have a gift for it. I come from funny people and we value humor, so I’ve always been very thrilled that I’m able to bring that for people. That makes me happy.