Christina Applegate & Linda Cardellini on Getting Through ‘Dead to Me’s Emotional Scenes


Suddenly, Killing Eve no longer has the most complicated female relationship on television. On this biting, pitch-black comedy, TV veterans Linda Cardellini (ER, Bloodline) and Christina Applegate (Married…With Children, Up All Night) play budding friends who are bound by loss, and then rocked by betrayal. (The laughs do come — we promise!)

After her husband is killed in a hit-and-run, Jen (Applegate), a real estate agent in well-to-do Orange County, California, joins a grief support group, where she’s befriended by Judy (Cardellini), a mysterious jokester who’s processing her own tragedy. Sitting down with TV Guide Magazine, the actresses avoid spoilers — and (literally) hold hands over their own new friendship.

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It's a brisk ride to a cliffhanger end in the Netflix comedy, even when your feet begin to hurt waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Christina, you’ve done a lot of comedy already, and Linda, you just starred in the Oscar-winning Green Book. What drew you both to Dead?

Applegate: I was in a semiretirement, so I wasn’t looking to do anything. But [the script] punched me in the side of the head! It was a gift.

Cardellini: I had just come off Green Book — period piece, drama — and [the upcoming Al Capone movie] Fonzo — period piece, drama. I wanted to do a 180 from what I had just done. And I thought, “What a fresh way of looking at the concept of grief.”

(Credit: Netflix)

This is an extremely dark comedy.

Applegate: Life can be funny amid tragedy. You need those moments where you can forget about it all. I believe the show’s best humor comes from when these women [think], “I don’t want to feel the pain anymore.” They help each other [heal] by talking about The Facts of Life and who’s more Jo and who’s more Tootie.

How did you get through the more emotional scenes?

Applegate: If Linda was feeling low, I’d say, “What can I do?” or “Do you need me to sit with you?”

Cardellini: Back rubs! Really, we had a rapport that I’ve never had with any other partner onscreen. It made the humor come out more naturally.

Applegate: Linda showed me that there are people who have your back, no matter what. Darn it — I’m going to cry.

Cardellini: I am too! [To TVGM] We do this a lot.

Dead to Me, Series Premiere, Friday, May 3, Netflix