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Jane Lynch, 'Wreck-It Ralph' Star, On Seth MacFarlane's Oscars & 'The West Wing'

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Jane Lynch in
Jane Lynch in "Wreck-It Ralph."

Jane Lynch and animated movies go together like Sue Sylvester and megaphones. Lynch has lent her voice to numerous animated films over the years, including the 2012 hit "Wreck-It Ralph." In the popular Disney film -- which is nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards -- Lynch plays Calhoun, the no-nonsense squad leader in a video game not unlike "Call of Duty." (Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and John C. Reilly, as the title Ralph, star in the film as well.) With "Wreck-It Ralph" available now via digital download and arriving on Blu-ray on March 5, Lynch spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about the joys of animation, her expectations for Oscar host Seth MacFarlane and her appearance on "The West Wing."

You've done a lot of voice work -- from "Wreck-It Ralph" to "Escape from Planet Earth," which is out now. How do you keep the voices fresh?
It's not so much with a different voice, because I'm not so adept at that. But I do think I'm a good actor, so if I'm cast in a role like Sue Sylvester, I'll do it like that. I'll find a different place to reach down with each of the animated characters. Instead of coming up with a funny voice, I let my work on the character inform how I sound, so its grounded. There's differences in the character, of course, but it's a job I really love to do. I love doing voice over. I love providing voices for characters.

Rich Moore said there was a script reading of "Wreck-It Ralph" in 2010, before anyone was even cast. What was that like?
I remember flying Southwest and we were absolutely appalled with it. [Laughs] No, I'm kidding. We flew up to Pixar -- it was like a field trip. It was me, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and a bunch of other character actors. John Reilly wasn't attached at that point. We went to Pixar. They gave us a tour. We met with Rich and John Lasseter. They fed us lunch. It's the most enchanting set of offices you've ever seen. It was a delightful day. I loved the script. I thought all the actors were fantastic. Then we all hopped on a bus, hopped on a plane and flew back.

Then you just waited?
Yeah. It's a two or three year thing, so you forget about it. Then at some point they called and said you're going to have your first session, and I was like "Yee-haw!"

"Wreck-It Ralph" is filled with talented improvisers. Were you given some leeway with the performance?
Rich Moore said, "Put your own spin on it. If you have a better way to say that, let's go with it." He really saw the value of actors working eye to eye. I had a couple of sessions with the actors too, and I know Sarah and John had a bunch of sessions together, and you can tell they're improvising. When you work with John Reilly and Sarah Silverman, you're going to get gold. You can tell in their interactions together that they're improvising a lot of this stuff. I don't know if it was written, but it sounds improvised. The humor is so particular to Sarah and so particular to John that it makes you think they're making this stuff up right there.

What did you think of the "Wreck-It Ralph" Oscar nomination?
I was just really proud of them. I'm a small cog in the wheel. I think that the Oscar nomination is amazing and I'll be watching with bated breath.

Are you excited to see Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars?
Oh, I think it's going to be groundbreaking. It'll be exciting and he's such an original guy. I'm looking forward to it. I think people are going to get a treat this year.

Why?
He's just one of those guys that's really out there. He doesn't hold himself back. He has a particular way about him. He's one of those guys who doesn't mind pushing the envelope. In fact, he doesn't know how not to push the envelope. He's not a safe guy. I think it's going to be fun.

Do you like watching the Oscars?
No, I don't like it at all. All awards shows! Yes, I've been to them and hosted them, but watching them on television makes me riddled with anxiety. I get embarrassed for people. I totally project my own fears on them. But to be there? It's not as anxiety provoking. It was less anxiety provoking to host the Emmys than to watch the Emmys. I'm worried about me! I have only me to worry about.

Switching gears for a second: "The West Wing" is on Netflix and you have a small part in the show's second season. What do you remember about that?
I remember being completely honored even though I had a very small part. It was a great show; it was a historical show. It's like when I had a tiny part in "Friends": you're part of history. What I remember most of all was talking to Lawrence O'Donnell, who was a writer on the show. At the time I remember talking politics with him. Bush was president, probably, at that point. We were talking about Al Gore and he was saying how Al Gore was always the funniest guy in the room, but that didn't come through in his run for the presidency. It was such a squandered thing for Gore. People did not get to know him. He was over-handled. Remember when someone told him to wear earth-tones or something?

And the "lockbox."
Lockbox. He got stuck in his handling unfortunately.

We've seen that a lot, I think: You could argue that John Kerry and Mitt Romney did as well.
I think Mitt Romney isn't an overhandled person. I don't think there's anything underneath him that's interesting. I think there is an Al Gore. I still wish he had been elected president. I'd love to see an alternate universe of what would have happened.

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