Florida Keys

'Bloodline' star Linda Cardellini calls Fla. Keys 'awesome'; series debuts March 20

Linda Cardellini portrays Meg Rayburn in the 13-episode thriller series 'Bloodline' that debuts Friday on Netflix. The Sony Pictures TV crew spent eight months filming 'Bloodline' in the Keys and south Miami-Dade County
Linda Cardellini portrays Meg Rayburn in the 13-episode thriller series 'Bloodline' that debuts Friday on Netflix. The Sony Pictures TV crew spent eight months filming 'Bloodline' in the Keys and south Miami-Dade County Netlfix

At a weathered dining table of a Florida Keys home not in the Keys, Linda Cardellini punched up a cell-phone video of her dangling bait fish off the docks at Robbie's of Islamorada.

She erupted in laughter at the memory of big tarpon lunging to swallow the ballyhoo whole.

"The tarpon jump out of the water!" she told a "Bloodline" crew member. "It was terrifying, and at the same time exhilarating," she recounted. "My daughter loved it."

Cardellini joined an eminent cast of actors who came to the Keys almost exactly a year ago to begin eight months of filming "Bloodline," the island-based thriller series premiering March 20 as a Netflix original series. It's based in Islamorada.

"The Keys are awesome, really extraordinary," Cardellini said. "It's a great place to work and a beautiful place to be. I think it's a world people will enjoy being introduced to."

Cardellini was sitting at the Rayburn family table -- part of a realistic interior set erected inside a cavernous warehouse that was converted to a sound stage in south Miami-Dade County.

As Meg Rayburn, Cardellini plays a lawyer, the daughter of Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard and sister to John (Kyle Chandler), a Monroe County Sheriff's Office detective.

Meg's other less-reputable brothers -- troubled Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) and struggling Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) -- make for family complications as secrets become known.

Cardellini welcomed the chance "to be working with people so wonderfully talented," from the cast to the producers who made "Damages."

Cardellini earned an Emmy nomination for her 2013 run in "Mad Men" and is fondly remembered for her breakout lead role in 1999's "Freaks and Geeks" and 128 episodes of "ER."

Her movie credits run the range from "Brokeback Mountain" to turns as ghost hunter Velma in two Scooby Doo films. She is in demand as voice actor for animated series, commuting to a Miami studio from the Keys to perform her roles long-distance.

A native Californian, Cardellini joked that in coming to the Keys she "exchanged earthquakes for hurricanes" in the realm of potential natural disasters.

"It's worked out so far," she said, literally tapping the wooden table for luck.

She lived in the Upper Keys with her daughter, now age 3, during filming that wrapped in November. On quiet evenings, they watched the sunset from a favorite spot on Florida Bay.

Cardellini described being greeted by "a giant barracuda and stingray" on her first snorkeling trip near Alligator Light.

"I don't mind the heat" of the Keys summer, Cardellini said, "as long as the mosquitoes aren't out. Friends came down to visit and talked about how hot it is. I said, 'You missed July and August.'"

"The locals are kind people and really relaxed," Cardellini said. "People seem to be enjoying island time, being out on boats, catching fresh fish to eat. It's a totally different feeling, being in a small community that's surrounded by beauty."

Go to KeysNet.com to read more.

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