When asked who he’d call for the upcoming all-lady Ghostbusters reboot, Bill Murray rhymed off Melissa McCarthy, Emma Stone, Kristen Wiig…and Linda Cardellini. “What better compliment could there be?” asks the 39-year-old actress, whose diverse, Murray-approved CV includes television both classic (Freaks and Geeks, ER) and current (Mad Men, New Girl). And then there’s a different in-development project with Murray as well as upcoming films co-starring Kristen Wiig (Welcome to Me) and Will Ferrell (Daddy’s Home). Coming up first: her next marquee TV show, Florida Gothic thriller Bloodline (Netflix, March 20).
Cardellini plays Meg, the overachieving baby of the Rayburn clan, opposite Kyle Chandler, Sam Shepard and Sissy Spacek. “I definitely grew up wanting to make my family happy and proud,” says Cardellini, also the youngest of four IRL. “But, unlike Meg, I am fortunate to not have so much terrible drama.” Troubled oldest brother Danny returns home to the Rayburns’ oceanfront inn, opening old wounds and sparking a series of events that culminates in an explosive tragedy (like, literally, a boat explodes). “It gets pretty dark,” Cardellini warns. Her life off-screen is much lighter: she has a three-year-old daughter, Lilah-Rose, with her makeup artist partner (and childhood sweetheart), Steve Rodriguez. “My other half does my makeup, so that’s really fun. The red carpet can be nerve-racking,” she says. “But it’s also a celebration of doing what I do.”