LINDA Cardellini thrives on chaos. ‘‘You don’t get into this business to know your future, and there’s part of you that loves the roller-coaster ride of the unknown,’’ she says.
‘‘So there’s a give-and-take of being on a series as well because you miss the adrenalin rush of being up and down at any given moment.
‘‘It’s part of what you accept when you choose a job like that. And it’s part of what draws you to it, too.’’
So far the unknown has served Cardellini well.
The 32-year-old actor has costarred in the two Scooby-Doo movies, played a winsome waitress in Brokeback Mountain and has played nurse Samantha Taggart in ER since 2003.
It didn’t happen by accident. Ever since she was five Cardellini wanted to perform.
She used to print out tickets, sell them to her relatives and stage a show in her living room.
But ultimately her parents wanted her to attend college.
‘‘I said, ‘OK, I’ll go to college and be a theatre major’. So I came out and went to Loyola Marymount University as a theatre major, got a degree in theatre and I just loved it,’’ she says.
‘‘My parents did try to talk me out of it a little bit. They were afraid my heart would get broken. And it does get broken still.
‘‘I was adamant. ‘You can’t talk me out of it, it’s the only thing I want to do and don’t put any doubt in my mind. I’m going to Los Angeles to become an actress’. And the first day I got here I cried and wanted to go home.’’ ER W Channel, weekdays, 12.50pm Medical drama Duration: 1 hour
Her first time on a movie set wasn’t exactly glamorous.
It was cold, she ruined a pair of shoes, earned $35 for the day and filming took place in a jail — but she was hooked.
Her first real job came when a manager saw her playing a hunchback in a college production.
‘‘He sent me on an audition and I got the part. It was a small kids’ show called Bone Chillers on Saturday morning,’’ she says.
‘‘I was 21 and thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I’d just come from scooping ice cream at college for $4.80 an hour and now what I was making seemed astronomical to me.’’
SHE didn’t finish college then because the part of the redsweatered sleuth Velma in Scooby-Doo came along, but returned to school after that picture wrapped.
During breaks from ER Cardellini is renovating a house in Venice, California, where she moved after ending a five-year relationship with actor Jason Segel.
Cardellini says she has no rules about dating actors.
‘‘As soon as you make a rule you’re bound to break it.
‘‘You never know where you’re going to find love. As a woman I watch us put expectations on ourselves, and any time you do that I think you’re bound to be disappointed.’’
Linda Cardellini could not be derailed from her acting dream.