06/26/2013 10:40 am ET

Linda Cardellini: Sylvia Inspired By '60s Icon Gina Lollobrigida


When Linda Cardellini burst on the "Mad Men" scene in the Season 6 premiere, viewers were shocked. Not only had Dan Draper (Jon Hamm) gone back to his cheating ways, but sweet Lindsay Weir of "Freaks And Geeks" was his mistress.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cardellini explained that "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner likely brought her in because of her Italian ancestry, as her character Sylvia is based on an iconic actress from the 1960s.

"They gave me a picture of Gina Lollobrigida," Cardellini told THR. "She had this sensuality and that short black hairstyle. The wig was fashioned after that."

Over the course of Season 6, Sylvia managed to weave herself into quite a tangled web that culminated in Don's daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) walking in on Don and Sylvia having sex.

But according to both Cardellini and Shipka, the scene wasn't a traumatizing one for the 13-year-old actress, because the two scenes were filmed separately.

"It was cool to be in that scene, because I knew what my character was going to see, but I didn’t want myself to in the room because I felt bad for Sally!" Shipka told Vulture. "Like, I could stop it but I couldn’t."

Cardellini cleared up any rumors that Sally had seen the actual act unfold on HuffPost Live a few days later.

"When Kiernan walks in, what you see on screen isn't actually what she sees on set," she explained. "What we were doing while she was reacting to that is not exactly as explicit as it is on screen. So that's the nice thing about acting sometimes is that you don't have to actually experience the things as the characters do."

Familiar Faces On "Mad Men"