TNT’s reboot of Dallas premieres tonight, and we had the pleasure of chatting with two of the stars of the series, Brenda Strong (who plays Ann Ewing) and Julie Gonzalo (who plays Rebecca Sutter), about what to expect this time around in Southfork. From how they got involved in the series and became Ewings to their expectations and concerns, Brenda and Julie dished on how the reboot of Dallas came to be!
How did guys get involved with Dallas? Brenda, I know you were a guest star on the original series – did that have any influence on you being cast here?
Brenda Strong: Absolutely not. They were totally not related. Luckily, Patrick Rush, who is the casting director for Dallas, also had cast me in Everwood and Party of Five, so he was very familiar with my work. He had showed me to Cynthia Cidre and she had said, “Yes that’s exactly what I’m looking for.” So I didn’t know when I walked in the room that they were just waiting to see me fit the character, because they already felt like I was the right person for it. I walked in with my boots on and jeans.
Julie Gonzalo: I got the script via my manager, who was very convinced I should read it. I was a little opposed to it because I thought it was going to be a remake, but then I read it – and it was brilliant. So then I went in and met with Mike (Michael M. Robin) and Cynthia, and then I tested for it and I got it.
Brenda Strong: Like Julie, I loved the script. I did have my concerns, you know whenever you re-invent something there’s a concern, but they weren’t doing that. It’s a continuation, so I was really excited that this role was new. I could actually build from the ground up.
I found out I got it on my birthday. I didn’t even have to test for it. And I was thrilled, because the testing process is grueling. I went straight to Neiman Marcus and bought a belt.
Julie, have you seen the original series? Were you a fan?
Julie Gonzalo: I had heard of the series, and my mother was a big fan. I grew up in South America, in Argentina, and it was really big down there. I do remember the theme song.. But when I got hired on the show, I went ahead and bought all 14 seasons and I got a little familiar with it. It was just so iconic. Just to mention to people that you’re working on the show… It’s such a flashback for so many that it’s just very exciting to be a part of it.
Brenda, what has surprised you most about the series?
Brenda Strong: What really surprised me is that so many Europeans identify television with this series. I have friends that live in Italy and Denmark, and they’re like ‘That’s the show we grew up watching. That’s what we believed American to be, so that was really surprising for me. I had no idea it was such an international hit back when it was.
How is Dallas different in 2012?
Brenda Strong: I think the tone is different in a lot of ways. It’s modernized. It’s very relevant to what’s going on in the world today. It has the same elements of the family drama that the first one had – the competition, the greed, the betrayal, and all the kind of epic Shakespearian themes – but it’s definitely modernized. What’s really great is they took the best part of the series – the family drama and Southfork – and put it in 2012. It’s an exciting preservation.
Julie, what makes the love triangle with your character, Christopher and Elena different than other series?
Julie Gonzalo: I think people are going to be excited. You’re going to see a very tormented Christopher. It’s smart. There aren’t catty fights. Elena and Rebecca are very smart girls.
We’ve got more with Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong to come, as well as an interview with Josh Henderson and Linda Gray! Keep checking back for more Dallas goodness this summer! And be sure to check out Dallas tonight on TNT at 9/8c!
We’ll be watching, will you?