Patrick Duffy and Jesse Metcalfe Talk ‘Dallas’

Tonight’s the night. If you’ve been wondering whatever happened to J.R., Sue Ellen, and Bobby, tonight you get to find out. And if you’re wondering whatever happen to those kids and what men they grew up to be, well, get ready to see the Christopher and John Ross for who they really are now. It’s been 20 years, and it’s time to see what the Ewings are up to.

But first, how about a quick chat with the stars? I was thrilled to be part of a conference call with Patrick Duffy and Jesse Metcalfe, who play Bobby and Christopher respectively. Check out some of the Q&A below, just in time for tonight.

And don’t forget. The two-hour premiere event of Dallas airs tonight at 9/8c on TNT!

Big fan of the show…How is the new version different and how is it similar? – Popentertainment.com

Jesse Metcalfe:  Okay. Well, I’d say it’s a more contemporary version of the original show. You know, I don’t think we’ve changed what made the original series great. I mean, the show still centers around these major themes of, you know, family dynamics, and greed, and loyalty, and love, and betrayal.

But we’ve just updated it. And we made it modern and definitely socially relevant to the times. And in addition to that, you know, we added some new characters.

Obviously, Christopher and John Ross were established in the original series. But, you know, you now get to see the type of man that these two children have grown up to be.

And, you know, we also introduced the character of Elena Ramos, who is the one side of the love triangle between me, Josh Henderson, and Jordana [Brewster], and she’s the daughter of our…

Patrick Duffy:  The Ewing housekeeper for, you know.

Jesse Metcalfe:  Yeah, the Ewing housekeeper. And, you know, she definitely wasn’t a part of the original series. And then we also have my fiancé, Rebecca Sutter played by Julie Gonzalo so.

It’s a great marriage of the original show and the original cast and some new cast members.

Patrick Duffy:  Yeah. The difference also is just technologically speaking television is done so differently now that if we tried to duplicate the old school Dallas, I think it would be slow in appearance and in substance for a modern audience.

So with the technology that we have with high def cameras and the new way of directing television, which is so dynamic and so intense in terms of the pacing. And the scripts reflect that also. They’re much more condensed.

We get maybe four or five episodes of an old Dallas in one episode of the new Dallas. So all of these things, I think, contemporize the old show. But we maintain the honor that Cynthia Cidre and Mike Robin feel towards the show. So that hasn’t changed.

And I think that’s what will impress old viewers as they look at the new Dallas is it’s so much similar to what they were used to. But it’s done for a contemporary audience.

So we think we got the best of both worlds. And we’re hoping that everybody out there is going to agree with us.

*****.

I have to say I grew up on the original Dallas. And when I heard the news that TNT was bringing it back, which was about a year ago, I immediately called my editor and said that’s mine, I’m covering it. – Fantatics.com

Patrick Duffy:  Nice, I love that.

So I have to ask, Patrick, what was it like to hear the news that they were recreating the show? And did you ever see it coming back as a series?

Patrick Duffy:  No, because I didn’t think that anybody knew how to do it as a series again. The real brains and heart behind the show is our executive producer, Leonard Katzman. And he died.

And all of these other attempts to write scripts and to promote a movie or a television show that fell so far short of what the original concept was. I didn’t think anybody had the ability anymore.

And then Cynthia Cidre wrote a script, and it was submitted to Larry [Hagman] and Linda [Gray] and myself. And it was phenomenal. The pilot script for the show had everything even better than I would say half of the original Dallas scripts that we got.

So from the moment, the three of us read it we were onboard. And it was the first time I ever thought it was a possibility of returning as a series. And we filmed the pilot. I was sure that we were going to series. I was sure we were going to do this show.

And I’m still as optimistic that it’s going to go for years and years, because the quality of it is so satisfying having done the show for 13 years to see how well it can be redone again in 2012. I would be more than happy if this were my swan song.

*****

I want to say I’ve seen the first seven episodes, and I’ve been really impressed. And I want to ask you each, among those first seven, do you each have a favorite scene that you’ve done or favorite moment from the first few episodes that you could each talk about? – The Dallas Decoder

Jesse Metcalfe:  I probably have a favorite moment from every episode. You know, it’s really difficult for me to, you know, to pick just one scene. I mean, the fun thing about this show is that it’s a magnificent ensemble.

You know, and every single day, you get to work with a different actor. You know, and I love working with all these different actors on the show for different reasons.

But I’d say, you know, from the pilot episode, my favorite scene would have to be the scene where Christopher confronts Elena about possibly betraying him and about the email.

That’s a good scene. You’re great in that scene.

Jesse Metcalfe:  Thank you; appreciate it. You know, Patrick and I have had a number of really strong scenes, you know.

Patrick Duffy:  Yeah.

Jesse Metcalfe:  I don’t know, what do you think, Patrick?

Patrick Duffy:  Well it’s interesting to me, because several of my favorite scenes didn’t make it to the show. And that’s what’s interesting is that these scripts are so compact and so intense. And every scene is so brilliantly done.

You finish filming, and you think, I can’t wait to see that. And then it’s edited out.

Interesting.

Patrick Duffy:  Well because, you know, you just can’t put everything in each episode… It still exists somewhere; especially when it comes out on a DVD there will be, you know, additional scenes as an ancillary side to the DVD…

So they will exist at some point. And you have to as an actor let that go. But I had a scene with Jesse in a barn, which they only kept the lead in scene for that. And they eliminated it. And it was one of my favorite ones of that episode.

But over the years I’ve learned to let those feelings go and just enjoy what I see. Most of my new scenes that I have with my wife, with Brenda Strong, are really satisfying, because, you know, that to me is the big test to find someone who would be the new Mrs. Bobby Ewing is a tough decision that casting had to make.

It was a tough role for somebody to accept, and Brenda is so good and I…feel like when I watch us on camera anymore that we’ve been married for 20 years. There’s just an ease that we have with each other that makes those particular scenes very enjoyable for me.

And I like being a father. So every time I work with Jesse it’s another level of satisfaction.

*****

I was just wondering, Jesse, for you what was it about the show that really captured you and said, you know, I want to be apart of this version? – Starry Constellation Magazine

Jesse Metcalfe:  It was the writing, you know. It was the pilot episode, you know, that initial script that I read. I mean, to be honest, and I think this probably speaks to our critics a bit.

I was a bit hesitant to, you know, to even audition for the new Dallas, because I wasn’t sure of remaking such an iconic show was a good idea. And with the wave of remakes and reboots of various different shows over the past, you know, five years, it’s really been a trend — most of which weren’t very successful. I was definitely hesitant. But after reading that pilot episode I was like, wow, this is really good story telling.

The characters are really well defined and complex. And I said — I was like, wow, you know, I think I want to throw my hat in the ring. You know, initially I auditioned for the role of John Ross.

There was some interest there. But they ended up going with Josh Henderson, who I think is perfect casting for the role. You know, and they came back [to me] for Christopher, and I was even more excited for that role.

And, yeah, and then I think the thing that really pushed it over the top for me was that Larry, Patrick, and Linda were going to be a part of the new series, which I think, you know, I think is completely necessary.

I don’t think we’ve could’ve done the new series without the original cast members or… I mean, I know we don’t have all of them, but at least, you know, the big three as we like to call them.

And Patrick, what do you think it is about the show that really captures so many viewers?

Patrick Duffy:  Well, Jesse nailed it, because we’ve been, you know, approached over the years both to be in a show or how do we feel about, you know, redoing Dallas or movie versions that didn’t even involve the original cast members and they all fell so far short…even approaching the original show that I didn’t think it was possible to do. And as Jesse said, once I saw the script and Larry and Linda saw the script and read it, we realized not only was it possible, but it could end up being better than the original because of the timely nature of how the scripts were written and what we could do with technology now.

So the three of us got onboard, and I’ve not been disappointed in a page, a paragraph, or anything since the original pilot episode. So I’m onboard as long as they can squeeze another year out of this old horse.

*****

Don’t forget to check out the two-hour premiere event of Dallas tonight on TNT at 9/8c! And while you’re at it, check out what Josh Henderson and Linda Gray have to say, and see the coverage of the special screening in Boston with Julie Gonzalo and Jordana Brewster!

*images courtesy of TNT

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