June 08, 2012 2:16pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Dallas': Jordana Brewster, Linda Gray on Bridging the Gap Between Loyal Fans and New Viewers (Video)
Longstanding drama meets a new generation of troublemakers when Dallas returns to the small screen, as TNT strives to draw in both loyal diehards and new viewers with its summer series.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, returning cast member Linda Gray, who brought the iconic Sue Ellen Ewing to life back in 1978, explains how the reboot will have cross-generational appeal.
“I feel that we have a global audience already built in,” she said. “We've had, for years and years and years, these wonderful followers. They have stories related to the show -- they sat with grandma, blah blah blah. They have these delicious stories that we still hear about to this day.
“And then I feel that because of that, and because they have the stories, they will be taken into this new expansive show where we include the young people,” she continued. “I think that they'll just go right to it. They'll be excited about it. They won't miss a beat.”
Joining the cast is Fast Five actress Jordana Brewster, who plays newcomer Elena Ramos. Her character grew up on Southfork ranch with Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and John Ross (Josh Henderson) and finds herself right at the heart of a love triangle between the two of them. For Brewster, prepping for her role was what she calls “fun homework.”
“I was familiar with Linda, Larry, Patrick, obviously. They're just internationally famous. But I had not seen episodes [of Dallas],” Brewster confessed. “So I started watching episodes once I knew I was going to play Elena. I watched about three seasons. Then there's this awesome website called Ultimate Dallas, which lists all the episodes and all the history -- there's 13 years of it. There's a lot there.”
Having lived through the madness of Dallas for more than a decade, one would expect Gray and her longtime co-stars, Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman, to have a few pearls of wisdom to share with the new cast members. But as it turns out, the opportunities for learning went both ways.
“It wasn't about advice. It was about setting an example,” said Gray. “It was: if they wanted to check out what we had done before, great. If they didn't, great. They were fabulous actors -- really solid human beings. Good human beings. Beautiful. Who just happened to be, thank God, actors. So we embraced them into this family. There was nothing to give them advice about.”
“I'm asking them things,” she added with a laugh. “I ask the boys, ‘How do I tweet? How do I do that? I messed up here. My battery's dead!’ It’s more like a mother-son relationship.”
For more from THR’s chat with Brewster and Gray, watch the video above.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci