Tag Archives: Larry Hagman

Jesse Metcalfe Convinced ‘Dallas’ Will Have Long Life Even After J.R.’s Death

jesse metcalfeWith 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.

 

 

 

Larry Hagman Overcame Steep Challenges Before Happiness Came His Way – An Appreciation

Viewers around the world are expressing their sadness over Larry Hagman’s passing.  The man who brought the inimitable J.R. Ewing to life on “Dallas” certainly went out on top, with J.R. and the rest of the Ewing clan having become a TV hit for a second time. We will miss his outsized personality, his humor, warmth and charm. We will never forget his silent Sundays rule — when he would refuse to speak one day each week — because one of those silent Sundays happened to be the wedding day of Marilyn Beck and Arthur Levine at the Bel Air Hotel, which Larry attended.  He socialized by smiling, gesturing and whistling. Asked to express his wedding wishes on tape, as other guests were doing, Larry whistled “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Larry gave up silent Sundays in more recent years. He worked on making himself a better human being.  His successes on and off-camera, with his long-running marriage to wife Maj, his family and many friendships, was all the more phenomenal given the colossal challenges Larry had to overcome.   Known for many years as the biggest eccentric in Hollywood, the son of famed musical star Mary Martin told Marilyn that his childhood was a kaleidoscope of broken homes, step-parents, private schools and strange surroundings. He attended 18 different schools, lived everywhere from London to Texas to New York — and recalled times of loneliness and rejection and depression.

By the time he was in his thirties and costarring in “I Dream of Jeannie,” the depression had grown so acute that, he confided, he went through a series of nervous breakdowns, “about a breakdown a month. The first time they had to haul me off the set in a truck and cart me over to a psychiatrist’s.”

At another time he said, “I’m a schizophrenic. I really am. I’m wild and undisciplined.” And referring to his behavior on the “Jeannie” set, he said, “Lots of times without any warning, I’d start screaming or crying or vomiting. And towards the end, I cried an awful lot.”

Intense psychotherapy helped a lot, but even after times for Larry improved, he stood out as one of the industry’s kookiest characters. He drove around in a beat-up Volkswagen bus, usually dressed in cowboy attire — including a 10 gallon hat and a necklace fashioned out of horses’ teeth.  His many escapades included riding a bike home from a party near his Malibu digs early one morning, dressed in a chartreuse gorilla suit.  Invariably, slung over his shoulder was a suede pouch crammed with objects he would display at the slightest provocation: chopsticks, a magnum of champagne, incense, candles, long-stemmed wine glasses and a flute he would toot in the middle of most conversations.

When “Dallas” – and Larry – rocketed to super success, Mary Martin was asked what she thought of her son becoming a legend.  Her response:  “I’m a legend.  He’s a cult figure.”

Certainly she had her own eccentricities.  After second husband Richard Halliday died in 1973, she had his body moved from town to town as she traveled, unable to decide where to bury him.

Larry’s silent Sundays rule came into effect in the 70s, as did his edict that no one on his “Dallas” set would be allowed to smoke. “I don’t smoke – and I’ve laid down the law that no one can smoke on the set, at least not when I’m there,” said Larry in January of 1979.  “And I’m there five days a week. There are 36 smokers in our company of 40 – and when they’re all puffing away, I can’t breathe by the middle of the day.  I know I’m causing resentment on the set.  I know it became so impossible for some of the crew to accept that a couple of them left, quit, I guess.  But I figure I’m more important than those folks.  After all, it’s my face on screen.”  He kept a supply of hand-held, battery-operated fans with him, so that if he ended up being in the company of someone who was smoking anywhere, he would turn on the fan so the smoke would be directed back in the face of the offender.

In 1995, Larry, who had been a big-time drinker for many years, underwent his liver transplant. He came through the experience fine. In fact, life for him for many years seemed very fine — something he never expected it to be when he was young and lonely and seldom saw the mother who cast such a huge shadow.

Brenda Strong Addresses Victoria Principal ‘Dallas’ Rumors

Forget internet rumors that have Victoria Principal making a surprise appearance on the “Dallas” continuation that TNT is offering up tomorrow (6/13).

“I’m not sure where those rumors were generated.  I do know that she’s not part of our first season,” says Brenda Strong, who segued from “Desperate Housewives” to becoming the current Mrs. Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy).  “That doesn’t mean that if we continue on that she won’t be a part in some way.  Our executive producers haven’t denied the possibility of any of the older character coming back”.

As you are likely aware, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray are back, along with Duffy, in addition to brief guest turns by Charlene Tilton and Ken Kercheval.  As far as the new guard, TNT has hit a gusher with the oh-so-watchable Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Hamilton, Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo.

Brenda’s character, Ann, is a perfect fit into theTexasclan.  She and Bobby have been wed seven years as viewers rejoin the action at Southfork Ranch.  “InLos Angeles, that’s a long-term marriage,” she quips.

Brenda says that the new and original cast members bonded so well and spent so much time together while shooting in Dallas, “That long-term friendship of Larry and Linda and Patrick started bleeding over into the rest of us.  We wanted to spend time together, so we did.  I think part of it is that we all got lifted up out of our normal lives and deposited into this magical place half-way across the country.”

Hence, Jesse and Patrick would be out horseback riding together while Brenda and Julie were working on their shotgun skills at the target range.  Cast members went to concerts together, or met to view episodes of the original series.  “Julie had all 14 seasons,” notes Brenda.

As far as whether the zeitgeist is right for Ewings2, she points out, “There are similarities between now and the ’70s.  We’re in an economic crisis, and that’s the climate we had then.  That’s why people love to hate J.R. Ewing — because he’s a man with a lot of money and a lot of immorality.  I think in a lot of ways, it’s a guilty pleasure for those who are struggling to escape to a more rich and decadent environment.  In that respect, we’re right on the money — no pun intended.”