When you open your heart, it doesn’t make you weaker, it makes you stronger and more whole – Jane Lynch
Like most Disney films, Wreck-It Ralph is rich in visual detail. When I spoke to John C. Reilly, who voices Ralph in the film, he said that audiences would have to watch the film 3 or 4 times to really take in everything. What I also find intriguing about the film are the sub-plots that create layers and add depth to the storyline.
There are three arcade games featured in the film, and the first one Ralph ends up in is Hero’s Duty. Consistent with Disney’s focus on storytelling, we learn that Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) has a “back story.” I had an opportunity to sit down with the “Glee” actress to talk about her role as the “tough-as-nails” leader in the film.
Visually, the animators represented Lynch beautifully as they modeled her character after her body. But it turns out that the semblances don’t simply run skin deep. While Lynch wasn’t consciously drawn to the fact that Sergeant Calhoun is a strong female character, she commented on the fact that she tends to play characters she needs to be more like. “It has to live in me somewhere for me to play it truthfully” (Lynch).
As the story progresses, we learn that Sergeant Calhoun carries around this guilt about not protecting her beloved from the cybugs on the day that they were to be married, and thus she is “impenetrable”. ” I certainly know what it’s like to be deeply wounded, punishing everyone that gets in your way” (Lynch). So she stops at nothing to protect against a deadly Cy-Bug invasion, thus coming across as unrelenting.
Lynch is known for portraying powerful female characters, and while she thinks it is great that little girls will see Sergeant Calhoun as a powerful woman, she also hopes that they will see the power of vulnerability. “Her greatest strength is that she can love. When you open your heart, it doesn’t make you weaker, it makes you stronger and more whole” (Lynch).
When asked about her thoughts on a sequel, she commented on how she would love to see a “spin-off” of her character. “There are many stories to be told in the arcade world.”
See Jane Lynch in Wreck-It Ralph, now playing in theaters nationwide.
No compensation was received for this post. I was invited to a roundtable interview with the talent and filmmakers which helped facilitate the writing of this post.