TV Article

Sister Act

Isabella Rossellini joins ''Alias.'' She'll play Sydney's aunt, the sister of MIA spy Lena Olin

As ''Alias'' fans know, Sydney's mom, KGB agent Irina Derevko (Lena Olin) is still missing in action, having last been seen bungee-jumping off a building in May's second-season finale. Perhaps making up for that maternal absence will be the arrival of a new mysterious and beautiful relative, Irina's sister. E! Online reports that Isabella Rossellini will join the show for several episodes to play Sydney's aunt.

Like Olin, Rossellini is a star of Swedish parentage (her mom, of course, was Ingrid Bergman; dad was Italian director Roberto Rossellini) who's better known for art films than TV work. (Rossellini did have a memorable cameo as herself on ''Friends'' in 1996.) Unlike Olin, she seems not to have asked for ''Sharon Stone-type'' dollars (as TV Guide reported) for her recurring guest role on ''Alias,'' as money has apparently been a major sticking point that has kept Olin from returning to the show this season. Last month, ''Alias'' creator J.J. Abrams issued a statement, saying: ''After doing everything we possibly could including meeting the agents' requests, Lena ultimately decided it wasn't the right time for her to return to the show.'' He added that producers were ''hopeful that it will work out in the future.''

If Olin does come back, she may find that Rossellini has moved in on her territory in more ways than one. While ABC won't say what sort of intrigues her character will get involved in (or whether she'll have to do any bungee-jumping), an on-set source says she may have a romance with Sydney's father, Jack (Victor Garber).

Originally posted Dec 10, 2003
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