"I'm tripping out because I never have interviews like this," says Mary Lynn Rajskub about midway through our 20-minute afternoon phone conversation. "I feel like I'm talking to a girlfriend right now, and it's making me really happy." It should. After all, the 37-year-old actress and comedian is just chatting with Advocate.com, not saving Jack Bauer from yet another life-or-death terrorist situation as code-cracking tech analyst Chloe O'Brian on Fox's high-octane series 24. Having lent her acerbic wit and deadpan delivery to small yet memorable parts in queer-friendly films such as Mysterious Skin, Little Miss Sunshine, and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Rajskub now costars in Sunshine Cleaning, out screenwriter Megan Holley's indie dramedy starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as sisters who start a crime-scene cleanup business. We hacked into Rajskub's complex role as an introverted lesbian before blowing the lid off her real-life flings with girls and gay men.
Advocate.com: What attracted you to the character of Lynn in Sunshine Cleaning?
Mary Lynn Rajskub: People often stereotype gay characters as outgoing, sassy, flamboyant, or extreme, but I love that Lynn keeps to herself. She's really sweet and genuine. Lynn is more adult, responsible, and ready for a relationship, but she's interested in this weird girl: Emily Blunt's character, Norah, who's all over the place. Norah's sort of this open wound looking for someone to talk to.
Though nothing materializes, do you think Norah reciprocated any of Lynn's romantic feelings?
I would say yes, but — and this is going to sound really actor-y — it may have just been me in character thinking Norah was really interested in Lynn. Early in filming there was a scene that was cut where we had another date at her apartment, and when we were shooting it I was like, "Wow, she's really into me!" But I didn't really have that conversation with Emily.
Do you think Lynn and Norah ever reconnect after the film's end credits?
There was another scene that was cut where Norah comes into the blood bank again after I've said, "Don't call me." She's like, "Can't we just talk? I'm just trying to make things right. I'm sorry. Let's be friends." But Lynn's like, "Why do you continue to engage me? If you're not into me sexually or intimately, then what are you doing? I was really into you, and now I'm humiliated." Lynn was pretty adamant about not putting herself out there again for another screwed-up person. But I'd love to see that relationship explored more, because I think those two are an interesting combination.