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Feature: Jane Lynch, Paul Sorvino at 2013 Chicago Film Critics Awards Press Conference

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CHICAGO – As the stars, presenters and award recipients gathered at the Chicago Film Critics Awards on February 9th, they took some time out to mix with the media at a pre-show press conference. Jane Lynch, Paul Sorvino, Joe Piscopo, Nadine Velazquez, Regina Taylor and the other award winners offered their perspectives.

HollywoodChicago.com’s Brian Tallerico, Patrick McDonald and Matt Fagerholm covered the presser, and contributed several questions asked to the awards show participants. Photographer Joe Arce captured his stellar portraits at the event. Below is a summary of the afternoon’s best.

StarJane Lynch, Recipient of “Comedia Extrarodinaire”

Accepting this year’s award for Comedia Extraordinaire was the incomparable Jane Lynch, the Chicago-bred actress who achieved mega-stardom with her portrayal of Sue Sylvester, the bullying high school coach on “Glee.” It was a role impeccably designed for Lynch’s uproarious wit and deadpan timing, which she cultivated in a multitude of roles in theatre (the Annoyance Theater’s “The Real Live Brady Bunch”) and in film (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”). Yet it was her role as the fearsome dog trainer Christy Cummings in Christopher Guest’s 2000 comedy classic, “Best in Show,” that provided Lynch with her first big break.

Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch at the Chicago Film Critics Awards, February 9th, 2013
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

“When I saw ‘Waiting for Guffman’ in 1998, I fell out of my chair and went, ‘Oh my god, I want to do this!’ And just through a series of happy accidents, which happens to be the name of my book,” Lynch said while posing in front of the nearest lens with typically sublime comedic flair, “I did a [Frosted Flakes] commercial for Christopher Guest, and he asked me to do ‘Best in Show’ several months later. I got hooked into a form and style and energy that suited me so well. It blew open the doors for me, not just for my career, but for my confidence.”

During the press conference, Lynch also praised her longtime collaborator, and “Real Live Brady Bunch” creator, Jill Soloway, who became the first woman to win a Best Director prize at Sundance for her feature debut, “Afternoon Delight,” starring Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple. Curiously enough, the picture was one of two official selections at Sundance 2013 featuring Lynch as a therapist.

“I play therapists all the time,” Lynch half-joked. “I’m such a messed-up person, I don’t understand how that works.”

StarPaul Sorvino, Recipient of “Commitment to the Craft”

Actor Paul Sorvino is the definition of “artist.” Besides his very familiar character roles in films such as “Reds,” “Cruising,” “That Championship Season,” “Dick Tracy,” “The Rocketeer,” “Bulworth,” “The Cooler” and as the unforgettable Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas,” Sorvino is a trained opera singer, activist, sculptor, writer, director, pasta sauce entrepreneur and father of Oscar winner Mira Sorvino. He accepted the “Commitment to the Craft” Award from the Chicago Film Critics, and gave an impassioned acceptance speech on his appreciation for the art of acting. Sorvino has four films scheduled for 2013 release, including “How Sweet It Is,” co-starring Joe Piscopo, who introduced Sorvino at the awards show.

Paul Sorvino
Paul Sorvino at the Chicago Film Critics Awards, February 9th, 2013
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

He talked about his relationship with the craft of acting at the press conference, “I study the way people behave, the way they look, how they sound and how they behave. If you really want to be a good actor you have to find out what makes people tick. When I did Paulie Cicero, for example, I found out what he wants, what he does on a daily basis and what is important to him. That tells us something about his behavior. You don’t try to do anything but make it look like what you think it should look like, when you feel you know you have the character…and then you’re ready to go to work. Playing Paulie Cicero took me about a month.”

Concluding, he said, “Part of the actor’s tools is his child-like belief in things. Any fine artist retains his simplicity from childhood, he has to believe completely when he creating character, like a child using his finger as a gun. The actor’s work is different from any other artist because you have to believe in imaginary circumstances. As [famous acting instructor] Sanford Meisner once said when I studied under him, ‘you must find the pinch that will give you the ouch.’”

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