09/30/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
What's it like to play over-the-top cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on the new Fox hit Glee?
"It's so delicious," raves actress Jane Lynch. "There's something about her. I've played arrogant before, but the levels and lengths she goes to, it's so entertaining and fun."
Sometimes it's almost too much fun. "The writers love pushing it," says Lynch. "In the first draft, they always go too far. It's like, 'I can't talk about skinning a cat!' " Still, sometimes she wishes the first draft bits would stick. "There have been a couple that I was sorry to lose," she says.
So what can fans expect for the season? A softer side of Sue, for one. "Her heart will be touched by somebody," Lynch reveals. "We learn a little bit about her family life and she's humanized a bit. But then, of course, that quickly goes away because she returns to her wicked ways."
And will the actress, who has a theater background herself, do any performing as Sue? "I did a Lindy Hop with Matt Morrison, who plays Will Schester, in the sixth or seventh episode," says Lynch. "So I'm dancing, which I had no business doing. I'm not a very good dancer but hopefully in the future I'll get to sing. I'd like to do 'Rose's Turn' from Gypsy."
One of Lynch's former acting teachers would be proud. The teacher, from Illinois State (whom the actress says has influenced the role of Sue) was "referred to as the 'Dragon Lady.' " She kind of taught by humiliation and fear and was held up as this great god of acting," says the actress. "That's kind of the Sue Sylvester equivalent for cheerleading."
Unfortunately, the "Dragon Lady" is no longer alive to see her former student's performance. Jokes Lynch of her late instructor: "She's teaching acting in heaven."
-- Rennie DyballKiley Bishop/Retna