Dallas' stars Jordana Brewster & Julie Gonzalo visit Philadelphia to discuss new TNT series
Two of the stars of one of the most anticipated shows of the summer stopped through Philadelphia last week.
Actresses Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo were in town for a red carpet screening of the relaunch of Dallas, which kicks off with two episodes airing next Wednesday, June 13th at 9pm on TNT. During their stay, the two affable actresses also participated in a Q&A session, in which Brewster (Fast and the Furious) and Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) discussed everything from continuing the tradition of the old series, working with icons Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray, and shoulder pads!
In the new series, Brewster plays Elena Ramos, the daughter of a cook on Southfork Ranch who further complicates matters by becoming part of a love triangle between J.R. Ewing (Hagman) and Sue Ellen’s (Gray) son, John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Bobby Ewing’s (Duffy) adopted son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe). Gonzalo plays Rebecca Sutter, a law student engaged to Christopher..
While there hasn’t been too much released as far as plot lines for the new Dallas, we do know that younger brother Bobby is now remarried to a woman named Ann (played by Desperate Housewive’s narrator Brenda Strong) and that Christopher has taken an interest in alternative energy, much to the chagrin of his cousin John Ross, who is just as scandalous and conniving as his father.
Keeping secrets on the set of Dallas has been a long standing tradition. On the night the nation found out who shot J.R. in 1980, the tape of the episode was delivered to CBS at the last possible second so nobody could spoil the secret. The new Dallas is no exception, which Gonzalo and Brewster acknowledged.
“All of our characters are not what they seem, and that’s the beauty of a show like this,” says Gonzalo. “You just never know where it’s coming. We never knew while we were working.”
Brewster adds “We would have to push to get scripts and then we’d get an advanced copy and then we would text each other and go ‘Oh my God!’ They are so paranoid about scripts where they’d be watermarked, and once we got the pages, we would have to send them to the production offices to be shredded. It was crazy. There’s more than one twist per episode.”
For more on Jordana and Julie, you can watch their Q&A session on Philly2Philly’s YouTube Page!
Though the two actresses were aware of the history of the show, they started watching the older episodes once their respective roles were cast. After she landed her role as Sutter, Gonzalo bought all 14 seasons and even hosted some parties.
“We’re just on the third season, but it was nice to work on Dallas, be in Dallas and see everything while we were shooting. This is probably the best job I’ve ever gotten for my mom,” deadpans Gonzalo. “It’s great that it’s a continuation and not a remake.”
Brewster also participated in watching the episodes and noted how fun it was it was “to watch Sue Ellen and then talk to Linda the next day and gossip about all her love interests.”
“We made fun of Patrick so much for the disco dancing. I think we still make fun of him,” added Gonzalo. “It’s nice to be able to be working with these characters now and then look back at their history and where they came from. Our characters are new, so we really don’t have a frame of reference going back to the original (show), so it’s fun to create something new and fresh for the audience, but also kind of cool to see where they came from.”
What differentiates the TNT offering from the original series is that everything is shot in Dallas and all of the exterior shots are filmed at the Southfork Ranch. Despite shooting on location, Brewster and Gonzalo were not subjected to the extreme weather conditions of the Lone Star State, as the first season was shot in the Fall.
“I think that’s a Patrick, Larry, and Linda (decision),” notes Gonzalo. “No summer! We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this right.”
However, Brewster noted that location shooting does have its benefits.
“I love shooting on location because the cast and crew get much closer because of that, but Dallas is close enough to where it’s only a two hour plane ride away.”
“It’s not that bad, and you get to feel like you’re part of the city that you’re working in. It’s nice,” Gonzalo says.
Wardrobe was always a big part of the original Dallas, and both Brewster and Gonzalo are aware of the glamorous standards set by the original series. The two also discussed their preference of focusing on current trends, and to even possibly start new ones.
“We said ‘no shoulder pads’! Absolutely not. We cannot do that!” stressed Brewster. She and Gonzalo, along with their costume designer, made a concentrated effort to distance themselves from anything representing 1980’s fashion. “The hair had to be really current. Setting trends is fun. Shows like Gossip Girl, when a bag becomes popular because one of the characters wears it. That’s fun. So if our show takes off in that way, that would be awesome.”
“I never expected (the) women to be so fashionable,” Gonzalo observed about the women of Dallas. “They really do care and they dress up, so it kind of really gives you an idea of how women should be on the show.”
While Brewster joked that “The boys ride more horses and take their shirts off more,” that doesn’t mean that the women of Dallas are exactly slouches when it comes to the great outdoors.
“I actually had to shoot guns, so that was fun,” Gonzalo noted. “I had to get comfortable with a rifle. When do you ever hear that?!”
Brewster and Gonzalo are well aware of Hagman, Duffy, and Gray’s hijinks on the set during the first series, which created a pretty impressive blooper reel (which you can see on YouTube).
“They still have a good time,” Gonzalo insists. “We were shooting promos out in L.A., there was a table of food, we were all freezing, and they wanted to start a food fight right away. They literally joke all the time. They’re good people.”
The two also were quick to add that despite their longevity in the business, the three original stars never pull rank, and are always there to give advice if needed. In fact, their efforts inspired Brewster and Gonzalo to put their best foot forward.
“They’re so not ‘those’ people,” says Brewster. “Linda (Gray) and Patrick (Duffy) just said to have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
“Larry (Hagman) said save your money, have fun, and don’t take anything too seriously,” says Gonzalo. We don’t want to mess up. This is Linda’s, Larry’s, and Patrick’s show. We’re just lucky to be there, so we just really wanted to do the best job we possibly could. We as actors wanted to be on our best behavior.”
But that might not last for too long, according to Brewster.
“Next year, all bets are off!”
You can see Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo on Dallas Wednesday, June 13th at 9pm!