This summer TNT is reinventing the classic TV series “Dallas” and bringing back to TV. It is bringing a mix of original and new characters. Patrick Duffy is returning to his role, along with new co-star Jesse Metcalf. “Dallas” premiers Wednesday, June 13th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Media Mikes had a chance to ask the guys a few questions about what we can expect from the new 2012 “Dallas”.
Mike Smith: How do you feel that the new version of “Dallas” differs and how is it similar?
Jesse Metcalf: Okay. Well, I don’t think we’ve changed what made the original series great.I mean the show still centers around the major themes of family dynamics, greed, loyalty, love, and betrayal. But we’ve just updated it. We made it modern and definitely socially relevant to the times. And in addition to that we added some new characters. Obviously, Christopher and John Ross were established in the original series. But, now you now get to see the type of man that these two children have grown up to be. We also introduced the character of Elena Ramos, who is the one side of the love triangle between, Josh Henderson and Jordana. She’s the daughter of our…
Patrick Duffy: The Ewing housekeeper…
JM: Yeah, the Ewing housekeeper. She definitely wasn’t a part of the original series. Then we also have my fiancé, Rebecca Sutter played by Julie Gonzalo. It’s a great marriage of the original show and the original cast and some new cast members.
PD: 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.
MS: So 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?
PD: 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 Cassman. And he died. 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. Then Cynthia Cidre wrote a script and it was submitted to Larry and Linda 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. 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.
MS: Do each of you have a favorite scene that you’ve done or favorite moment from the first few episodes that you could each talk about?
JM: I probably have a favorite moment from every episode. It’s really difficult for me to pick just one scene. I mean the fun thing about this show is that it’s a magnificent ensemble. Every single day you get to work with a different actor. I love working with all these different actors on the show for different reasons. But I’d say 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. Patrick and I have had a number of really strong scenes
JM: What do you think, Patrick?
PD: Well it’s interesting to me, because several of my favorite scenes didn’t make it to the show. That’s what’s interesting is that these scripts are so compact and so intense 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. Well because, you just can’t put everything in each episode. I am sure it still exists somewhere; especially when it comes out on a DVD there will be, additional scenes as an ancillary side to the DVD. 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, 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.
MS: Jesse, what really made you want to be apart of this show?
JM: It was the writing. The pilot episode was the initial script that I read. To be honest, I think this probably speaks to our critics a bit.
I was a bit hesitant to even audition for the new “Dallas”, because I wasn’t sure of remaking such an iconic show was a good idea. With the wave of remakes and reboots of various different shows over the past 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. I was like, wow, I think I want to throw my hat in the ring. 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. And they came back for Christopher and I was even more excited for that role. 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 is completely necessary.
MS: Patrick, what do you think it is about the show that really captures so many viewers?
PD: Well, Jesse nailed it because we’ve been 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.