With so much focus on the loss of Larry Hagman – and the death and funeral of his dastardly TV alter ego, J.R. Ewing – as the second season of TNT’s “Dallas” gets underway this week, one can’t help but wonder whether the show can go on once they’re finished saying goodbye.
Jesse Metcalfe is convinced it can. Asked if he thinks there will be a Season 3, the handsome 34-year-old actor now known to “Dallas” fans as Christopher Ewing answers flatly, “I know it will happen.
“Obviously, I don’t have that information yet from the powers that be,” he adds. “But I feel strongly that this is a hit show and that the ensemble of actors we have is incredibly talented. We all have great chemistry, and the writing is very strong.”
He acknowledges, “Yes, it was Larry Hagman’s show. He was the heart and soul of the show — by far the most popular character on the show. Most people identify the show with J.R. Ewing. I thought we would have more time with Larry, and that time was definitely cut short. But the writers and the producers and of course the actors are doing everything they can to honor Larry and honor J.R. and do everything in the best way that they can. And that’s why they’ve succeeded in producing some of the most entertaining episodes. Out of a very tragic event comes some very exciting television — and I don’t think Larry would have wanted it any other way.”
Indeed. With show re-creator Cynthia Cidre having revealed that J.R.’s death will not be from natural causes, Hagman will posthumously rack up what will, in all probability, be the distinction of playing the only TV character to have not one, but two major murder mysteries surrounding him. Of course you’ll recall the ratings record-breaking “Who Shot J.R.?” of 1980.
The storylines involving the younger generation of Ewings are rolling on as well. Christopher, the ecology-minded, adopted son of nice guy Bobby (Patrick Duffy), has won back the lovely Elena (Jordana Brewster) from J.R.’s ever-more-craven oilman son John Ross (Josh Henderson) — and the cousins are fighting for control of their Ewing Energies company.
“Elena and Christopher are still in the honeymoon stage of their rekindled romance, and certainly John Ross is not very happy about that. He gets his digs in wherever he can,” Metcalfe relates. “But for at least the first half of the second season Elena and Christopher are pretty solid. I’d say the first season was more raw emotions, the second season is more of a chess match. And obviously, we’re always in each other’s faces — we’re all living in the same place, Southfork, and working in the same place, Ewing Energies.”
The “Dallas” team certainly doesn’t have THAT degree of closeness, but the cast members do stay in Dallas condos while shooting is underway, they do hang out together, they do sound fond of each other. Metcalfe says, “If anything, we’ve all grown closer in the wake of Larry’s death.“
The Carmel Valley, California-born actor, who gained public attention as sexy teenage gardener John Rowland on “Desperate Housewives” — and went on to big screen success with “John Tucker Must Die” — makes it clear he cares very much about the “Dallas” fans. In fact, he sounds downright affectionate toward those who “stuck with the original show through all 13 seasons and now are staying with our show. You feel a responsibility toward them.” He says he hasn’t found any downside to his newfound “Dallas” fame – here or overseas. The show is a huge hit in the U.K. and elsewhere.
But fame does have its, um, distractions. For instance, it’s been widely reported Metcalfe is engaged to the beautiful Cara Santana. But he says, “No, I’m not getting married. I have a very serious girlfriend but that’s just a piece of misinformation that keeps reappearing.” He laughs, “As if there wasn’t enough pressure already.”
This season’s shooting will wrap in April, and Metcalfe would like to find a juicy new assignment, he says. In fact, “All of us are looking for hiatus projects. I’d just like a piece of material that feels right for me, a story I want to tell. That’s a great thing about being on a cable show. It’s not that rigorous a schedule. It’s intense while you’re shooting it, but it’s only 15 episodes. The first season was 10, now we’re lucky enough to get 15. But it’s still only six months of the year – very different from a 22-episode season.”
So, he wouldn’t mind continuing to play Christopher on and on?
“I think the viewers are going to be very pleased with Season 2,” he says. “So I don’t see any reason why there won’t be a third, a fourth, and probably a fifth season.”
Time will tell.