She’s come a long way. Freaks and Geeks watchers may recall Linda Cardellini as awkward teenager Lindsay Weir on Fox TV’s short-lived but well received comedy that ran from 1999 to 2000.
Cardellini wasn’t done with TV, returning as a nurse in ER, Don Draper’s neighbor in Mad Men, Wendy in Gravity Falls. She currently plays Meg Rayburn on the Netflix original drama Bloodline, shooting its second season in the Florida Keys.
At 40, the California native, who played Velma in the two Scooby-Doo films, is back on the movie train in the comedy Daddy’s Home, opening on Christmas Day. Cardellini plays Sara, who is married to a responsible man, Brad (Will Ferrell), who will do anything to win the affections of her two kids. But when the studly biological father, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), comes back into the picture, a fierce — and mostly ridiculous — battle ensues between the two men. In one scene, Brad literally is shocked to death and is brought back by Dusty, an All-American hero with a special ops background and abs of steel.
We spoke to Cardellini, who was in Miami last week:
You have to be serious while these two men fight over you under some insane circumstances. What was that like?
Their chemistry was great in The Other Guys, and they bring it back to this movie. You do crack up sometimes and other times you really want to keep a straight face. Everyone is doing such hysterical stuff that you don’t want to wreck it by being the person who cracks a smile and then they can’t use the take. You’re a team, and when all is going well you really try to hold it together, especially for my character, who really doesn’t think the guys’ behavior is all that funny.
It looked as if this was a fun set.
It really was. I had a great time. To be in the middle of those two guys was kind of a dream job. We shot in New Orleans, and I got to go to Mardi Gras for the first time. Will is great. He’s everything you would want him to be when you watch him. He’s just super funny, really smart and very kind. Mark was also very sweet. Everyone was kind of walking around pinching themselves, like, ‘Is this real?’
How did you approach the part?
I had a lot of conversations with the director Sean Anders. We wanted to make sure I didn’t play a generic wife. She had a really strong history with Dusty and because of her choices, Brad comes into her life, someone she has a loving relationship with. But she used to love this wild guy, and now she has come to her senses. She has to try to find a way to make those worlds connect instead of completely clash. We wanted her to be an intelligent, cool mom and a smart, capable woman who won’t have the wool pulled over her eyes.
How are you enjoying your short stay in Miami?
It’s 80 degrees in December; how can I complain? When I’m here, I love to look at the ocean. I’m from the West Coast, where the Pacific is deeper and darker. Here, the sea is clearer, with these light blues and greens — really, really gorgeous. I like the vibe here. There’s a lot of culture, and it’s fun.