June 06, 2012 2:21pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
Patrick Duffy, Larry Hagman on Returning to 'Dallas': 'We Do What Linda Says' (Video)
After a 21-year hiatus, beloved soap opera Dallas returns to the small screen this summer with new storylines, old rivalries and classic southern drama on TNT.
Sitting down with The Hollywood Reporter, returning cast members Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman opened up on what it took to get them signed on for the series (“We do what Linda says,” Duffy claimed of returning co-star Linda Gray), where their storylines pick up and how the rookie cast members fit in to the family.
“I personally never thought that Dallas would resurrect itself because I didn't think anybody knew how to do it,” Duffy said. “And it was proven to me on the few attempts that were made. The movie that was going to be done, I read that script, it was atrocious. It was just awful. And I just didn't think anybody understood it anymore. So I thought, ‘Well, they might talk about it but it's never going to happen.’”
With no hope for a respectable continuation of the series, Hagman and Duffy came up with the idea to do an Airplane! type spoof of their soapy drama. “Nobody wanted to screw with the iconic nature of the show,” Duffy confessed. “So we could never convince people to do it.”
“Then we heard that TNT and Warners wanted to do it,” Duffy said of the new series, debuting on June 13. “And I still thought, ‘Yeah right, well let's see what it's like.’ And then I read the script, and the script told me it can be done. That's how I felt. Sold.”
But Hagman took a bit more convincing.
“I didn't read the script,” he said with a laugh. “They said, ‘Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray are going to do it. You want to do it?’ So I called Linda, and she said, ‘Do it.’ And I said, ‘OK.’”
“Pretty much we do what Linda says,” added Duffy. “But the three of us, none of us would've done it if the other two wouldn't have done it. That's just the thing. We all felt it couldn't be done without the other two.”
Joining the iconic trio are newcomers Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong as Bobby Ewing’s (Duffy) new wife.
“The nice thing was the script is as if Dallas had continued to shoot the entire time and people just didn't tune in on the right channel,” Duffy explained of the premise. “And now they tune in, and there's Dallas continuing on as if it never stopped.”
Brothers Bobby and JR Ewing continue their feud, even as Bobby attempts to make peace, but in the new series, cousins John Ross (Henderson) and Christopher (Metcalfe) Ewing bring the family dysfunction into a new generation. John Ross, a budding oil tycoon, has apparently inherited his father’s scheming ways and uses them to find a way to drill on the Southfork ranch, despite Bobby’s best efforts to prevent it. Christopher, meanwhile, returns home for a wedding after spending years in Asia developing eco-friendly oil alternatives. Adding fuel to the fire are multiple love triangles involving Elena (Brewster) and Rebecca (Gonzalo).
“It's as simple as you can explain all of Dallas,” said Duffy. “We're a dysfunctional family forced to stay together.”
In the video above, watch as the actors speak more about the tradition of cliffhangers and how the new show will bridge the gap between loyal followers and a new wave of viewers.
Dallas premieres on TNT June 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci