Are you ready? Because tomorrow it starts all over again.
Of course, I’m talking about Dallas, which is premiering tomorrow in all its glory with a two-hour premiere event on TNT. The series had fourteen seasons, starting in the ’70s, and now we’re back again, revisiting the characters we loved and meeting some anew.
I was fortunate enough to talk to two cast members of the series, Linda Gray and Josh Henderson, who play Sue Ellen and John Ross respectively. And boy were they fun to listen to. Both were super excited about the upcoming series, and if the quick interruption by Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman were any indication, they’re having a lot of fun with it!
So check out some highlights below from the conference call. And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for the premiere!
Well, first of all, I guess I’ll ask a pretty basic question to start off. How do you feel that the new series is different from the old one? And in what ways is it the same? – Popentertainment.com
Linda Gray: It took a diamond and polished it. What can I say? It’s magic. It was magic in 1978, and it’s got a little 2012 fairy dust sprinkled on it. It’s just wonderful.
Josh, did you know about this show at the time? Were you familiar with the older one?
Josh Henderson: I was, yes. You know, I’m originally from Dallas, Texas. I was born there so, you now, my family — it was a very kind-of popular thing for my family. My memaw — my grandmother — Dallas was her favorite show, and she kind-of always said, being from Dallas, Texas, you go to church, and you watch Dallas. That’s kind-of what you do out there. So it was definitely something that I knew of. I was a little too young to remember actual details of the show, but I definitely knew of how big of a deal it was as a child.
I was wondering, Linda, what are some of the storylines that you can tease this season? – Starry Constellation Magazine
Linda Gray: Well, it takes it — when our children, Christopher and John Ross, were very young. Now it is the perfect timing. I’m always about timing. I think Dallas originally started at perfect timing in history, and how its now perfect timing again when both Christopher and John Ross are grownups.
And they each have their own values and their own — focus on where they want to go with their lives, and with whom. So it’s the — it’s obviously a rivalry, and this competition. And there’s all these, you know, wonderful things that one would expect from the show.
And there’s a love triangle, so it takes all of the things that were with the original show and it just kind-of amps it up. There’s a little cayenne pepper thrown in here. So we’re just taking what it was and amping it up a little bit. A lot.
Well, have you been able to take any souvenirs, like your Stetsons on the hat from the show or anything else that you’re really going to remember from your time?
Josh Henderson: Well, I guess so far, you know, I definitely took home my cowboy boots that I wore all season. I became accustomed to those. And you know, for me it was just about, you know, kind-of coming back home. I’m originally from Dallas,Texas. So I got to kind-of come back and shoot the show that put this city on the map, which was just a huge honor blessing for me.
But when it comes to memorabilia from the show, I think the main thing I wanted to take were my boots, and I didn’t want to take the hat, because I thought I would like, you now, not travel well with it and ruin [it], so I left the hat there in Dallas.
I just want to know about the emotionality. I mean, you had a big family back, you know, when Dallas was first on. And you know, you were all together for so long. And then it was over. And now you’re back, I just have — my thought is, it was more than just a job, it was relationships too. – Northwest Indiana Times
Linda Gray: I’ve known these crazy boys for 35 years. And it gets better and better and better every year. You know, we started out, we all had families, and on the show there were deaths and divorces and births and all kinds of wonderful things that happen in normal families, but this was our Dallas family. And now we’re grandparents, all of us, and we were about five years old, the three of us [Gray, Hagman, and Duffy]. So we hang out, we laugh, we love, we’re just, you know.
Oh, I think it will be too, I agree with you. So, I mean, was it like returning home in some ways?
Linda Gray: You know, it was and I use the word seamless, because it seemed as if we had shot this about a month ago. And nothing was different. Dallas the city had changed and grown and become more art conscious. They have a beautiful art section. And everything about it is enhanced. So, you know, we’re just quite pleased about the way it all came about.
So I’ve been watching some of the episodes. I’ve seen like the first four episodes, and Josh, your character seems to have a lot of his daddy in him, as it were. On kind-of a cross, back-stabbing, and plans on top of plans, and –
Josh Henderson: There’s a lot of layers, huh?
A lot of layers… And I was just wondering if your mom character is going to — she might come in there maybe tip her a little bit or maybe push you on. – Shakefire
Josh Henderson: Well, you know, I think when it comes to so far, I guess what you’ve seen. You know, John Ross is — he’s really trying. I think he’s at a pivotal moment in his life where he’s trying to really make his presence known as a businessman. You know, he only knows one way to do business, and that’s kind-of how he’s seen his father do business.
And, you know, it might not be in everyone’s mind the best way, but in his mind it’s the only way, and he knows that it gets stuff done. So he kind-of learned from, in his mind, you know, learned from the best, and at the end of the day he doesn’t have a great relationship at this point with either of his parents. So he kind-of feels like he’s on his own, and I know that he at some point would love to be able to confide with his mother, but he just doesn’t really — he’s not comfortable with that as of right now where he’s at.
He’s really kind-of trying to do things on his own and put his foot down and kind-of, you know, put his footprint in, I guess, in this whole Ewing legacy. And so it’s — he definitely is somewhat like his father and, you know, I know his mother is now at the point where she’s kind-of trying to give him some advice and hoping that he’ll listen, I guess.
And Sue Ellen seems to be a very supportive character as well as when it comes to Elena, helping to try and help him find oil, but then it seems she’s interactive with the other characters on too much of a whole yet and I was just wondering, what might her role be as we go on in the series?
Linda Gray: Well, it starts off — she’s got a wonderful arch to the entire first season. I say first season because I’m totally convinced that there’ll be several more.
So first season, she has a wonderful arc. She starts off pretty, you know, a little small in the beginning and goes through the usual trying to be supportive to her — to her son.
And there’s a lot of motherly guilt there and somewhat — she’s a very, very powerful woman. She’s a powerhouse this time. And so it’s an interesting character for me to play because it’s an entirely different Sue Ellen.
So that’s — and for an actor, that’s the great part. You can play it one season — for 13 years one way, and then all of the sudden, we have a new woman who’s transformed and emerged into a really fully blown woman and she’s very powerful, so I — it’s great to play that.
Well, you can tell that [Larry Hagman] still has so much fun with the role of J.R…. What’s he like to work with in that role? – Top Entertainment.com
Josh Henderson: Well for me, it’s, you know, it’s a — gosh, it’s — when I found out that I was actually going to get to play his son, huge day for me in my life just because, you know, I know how big of a deal the original was.
And I just couldn’t imagine that the amount of fun that I was going to get to have playing John Ross — playing ball with, you know, the great J.R.; he has this energy that just takes over a room.
And it’s a — it’s very — it can be overwhelming and it made me step my game up and really kind-of, you know, I had to, to go toe-to-toe with him a little bit. And at the end of the day I am — I am his son, so I knew that there was never going to be a dull moment with him.
And I can tell you, we go through a great journey in Season one.
And I wonder how has Southfork changed over the years?
Linda Gray: Well, it’s — I think it’s become a big business in how — I mean, every tourist who’s ever come to Texas wants to go to Southfork.
I think it’s their number two tourist attraction. So it’s very interesting to drive down that driveway at Southfork, because it brought back so many memories — so many years spent there.
Josh Henderson: Yes.
Linda Gray: And it’s still — it’s still small. People are always surprised at how small it is. But then on film, they made it look so big and expansive. And it’s just, you know, the — you play the theme song and that’s a character.
You look at Southfork — that’s another character. So those were all the characters that embraced the whole series. So they give you what you had before and it’s just a bit enhanced.
This question is for Josh. Did you get any tips from Larry on how to play more of the dastardly side of John Ross? – MediaMikes.com
Josh Henderson: You know, the first thing he ever said to me when we were on set was, “Enjoy the ride.”
He literally just said, “Have fun. Enjoy the ride.” I mean, you know, I think with this show, Dallas does bring a whole new ride to your life and I think what made the original so special was that they, you know, Larry, Linda, Patrick — the original cast — they truly had fun and they really, you know, like each other.
And I think that when that happens, you can trust your coworker or the actor that you’re with in the scene more, meaning that you can go deeper with the characters to make a better TV show.
And so he really just said, “Enjoy the ride,” and they have embraced the new generation unbelievably. Like, they just made us feel so comfortable from day one.
So, you know, they really – I guess they had a lot of trust and faith in us as kind-of the new generation. And us being so comfortable — them making it so comfortable — really, I think, helped the entire dynamic of the – of the show and the character relationships and everything else.
I was just wondering — this show really has the potential of hitting both audiences of the original and brand new people who have never seen it before. What is it that – what does it offer both sets of people that you really want them to like, know now so that they tune in on June 13th? - Raked Reviews
Linda Gray: I think that it will bring our global audience to the new show.
There’ll be — there’ll be kind-of a lock — a lock — that one. And then what will bring them to the new part is that they’ll see the extended family. They’ll see our children grown up, they’ll see their focus in life, they’ll see which business they have decided to go into, they’ll see a love triangle.
So it’s the expansion of the original show. It still has the same — the same family, but the family’s grown and it’s expanded. And there’s still the same rivalry and greed and all this craziness that went on in the first series.
It will continue, so I think that you’re in for a great ride.
Josh Henderson: Yes. I think like Linda said, it’s everything about the original that made the original so great and so kind-of, you know, magnetizing that people had to run back to the TV every week.
They really kind-of did well of transcending that into the new generation of Dallas. And I think for me, you know, and the cast, our main goal is to satisfy the original fans of the show, give them what they want, give them what they’ve been missing for 21 years.
And also, you know, the show, I believe, speaks for itself. So the new audience — hopefully some of the younger generation can bring in some — the new kind of younger people.
And I think as long as they give us a shot, they’ll truly, really enjoy the show and just be able to — what’s great about this one is that you don’t ever — you don’t even have to have ever seen the original to really be able to hop on board with these storylines. That’s how good the show is.
My little sister is 21 in college and she knew of Dallas, but obviously she was too young and — to have – to have seen the original. But at — she’s seen the first couple of episodes and she is just blown away and in love with it.
So I think that we can really, you know, span generations. And, you know, we just – we just – we just want the fans to be – to be satisfied. We really want them to be happy.
Don’t forget to watch Josh Henderson and Linda Gray on the two-hour premiere event of Dallas on TNT tomorrow night at 9/8c! And if you’re interested in reading more about Dallas, check out the coverage of the Boston screening with Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo!
*images courtesy of TNT