Dallas Cast Previews On-Screen Tension!Thirty-plus years ago, when Dallas wrapped up its impressive 14-year run, the Ewings went out being known for their complicated romantic entanglements, their strong family, despite dueling brothers at the center, and, of course, a zeitgeist shooting mystery. Now Dallas is back, and because it’s a whole new millennium, all of those elements that once made the franchise famous are about to make it infamous. By Danielle Turchiano
“I think if we were doing a remake, it would be a bit daunting,” new Dallas series star Jordana Brewster pondered. “But because we’re not—we’re picking up with the same family and the same characters years later—there’s a little bit of comfort in seeing familiar faces and feeling like the stories are going to be big and emotional.”
Dallas reunites J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) with his brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy), but it isn’t just Miss Ellie’s boys who aren’t getting along these days. Their sons John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) are at odds over the different ways they want to take the family business—John Ross by drilling on Southfork and Christopher by utilizing alternative fuels. And of course there is a girl (Brewster) in the mix as well. But perhaps most notable about Dallas is the tension between the generations. Both boys are basically younger versions of their fathers—versions that mirror the J.R. and Bobby that original Dallas fans may remember from back in 1978. And that means both boys are stubborn and headstrong and out to do things their own way, no matter the consequences.
“John Ross feels like he has a lot to live up to,” Henderson admitted. “He feels like it’s his duty and his birthright to carry the Ewing name to the next generation. John Ross knows enough to know that he might not be able to always fully trust his father. He wants to try to stay one step ahead of everybody, but with his father around, that’s going to be tough; it’s going to be tricky. I think he’s excited about the potential of working with him, but he has his own goals, as does J.R.”
Hagman was happy to share that in looking at J.R.’s actions, the “character has not changed!” He still has more than a few tricks left up his sleeve, and this, along with the fact that Duffy and Linda Gray were already signed on, was what brought him back to the show. J.R. isn’t just out to pull something over Bobby these days but over his own son too.
“[John Ross] is learning more than he wants to know, sometimes, about me,” Hagman laughed.
Bobby and Christopher’s dynamic is just as complicated, but for very different reasons. They may not be trying to one-up each other, but Christopher is still dealing with abandonment issues from being adopted and also with having to walk in the shadow of his “moral center of the family” father.
“He very much wants to prove himself to his father but also prove himself as a capable man that has the ability to care for and run Southfork when and if his father is absent,” Metcalfe offered. “He comes back from a two- to three-year absence; he’s been studying abroad and developing an alternative energy patent in China; and he really just comes back to assert himself in the Ewing family hierarchy. He wants to live up to the person that Bobby is—this incredibly respected and ethical man—but there’s some conflict because Bobby doesn’t really tell Christopher ‘I believe in you,’ and that’s what he really needs to hear.”
For what it’s worth, Duffy shared that Bobby really does have all of the confidence in his son, but it’s because he comes from a generation where you can feel something without sharing it that there is a bit of a divide between the two men: “Bobby may feel like it’s not Christopher’s time yet, but he has total confidence in him as a person—unquestionable confidence and love. But that’s the source of some of the problems, because that’s old-school.”
Duffy also pointed out that Bobby’s parenting philosophy is that his work is pretty much done because “if he didn’t instill everything he was going to in [his son] by the time he was 10 years old, then there’d be a problem.” But he did, and so he feels Christopher is going to be all right.
So long as we never see him in the shower, revealing all that has come before to not be real anyway!
Dallas premieres on TNT on June 13, 2012.
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