Brenda Strong: "It's Like They Upgraded It to 'Dallas' 6.0"

She was the soft, sultry and calming voice fans heard every Sunday night for eight seasons on “Desperate Housewives.” After Brenda Strong's . . . erm . . . spirit left Wisteria Lane, the award-winning actress slipped on a pair of cowboy boots and trotted down to “Dallas,” where she won Bobby Ewing’s heart. Read the edited version of our phone interview with her below about her latest role; plus, she opens up about her struggles with infertility

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
Photograph: © 2012 WBEI. All rights reserved.

More: Your character, Mary Alice, from Desperate Housewives carried a secret that drove her to commit suicide. Now we learn your character Ann on Dallas is hiding a big secret. I am sensing a pattern.
Brenda Strong: Isn’t it interesting? There are distinctive differences in the characters, yet there is this common thread that I am starting to see between Ann and Mary Alice—although one was a victim and took her own life, and the other is much more proactive. It is kind of cool how I have all of these secrets, huh? In Ann’s case her secrets give her character depth. Otherwise she would be too perfect and boring.

More: My gut says Ann lost a child. 
BS: You are guessing that?

More: Yes. That’s my final answer.
BS: The way the show has revealed the photo of the little girl in the flame, it is safe to assume that, especially since Ann gets so emotional and protective when Julie Gonzalo [playing the character Rebecca] reveals she is pregnant. Let me say it will be an interesting dynamic going forward. Keep an eye on Ann’s ex-husband, Harris [played by Mitch Pileggi]. You are going to learn the reason behind all of the hurt he has caused her.

More: Are you surprised by the Dallas’s enormous success?
BS: Yes and no. I think we all had a little trepidation stepping into something that had been done before. But this is not a remake or reboot. Rather, it is a continuation, so in that respect this is something we can all support and get behind. Whenever you have something as beloved as Dallas you run the risk of people getting upset that their favorite TV show is not the same.

More: In some regards it is not the same.
BS: What is nice is they kept some of the old fan favorites [Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray] and added in some new faces. When you think about it, it’s like they upgraded it to Dallas 6.0 (laughs). I think my character had the hardest time getting her footing in the world.

More: Is it because so many fans were used to seeing Patrick Duffy [in the role of Bobby Ewing] with his former wife [Pam Ewing, played by Victoria Principal]
BS: Yes, there is an attachment to the Bobby/Pam story, but Bobby did go on to marry someone else after that. People still hold that relationship as the Romeo and Juliet of their time. As for Ann and Bobby, they have a mature relationship and have become the matriarch and patriarch of the family. What I admire about their relationship is they know how to work through difficult times together.

More: Is Patrick a good kisser?
BS: Patrick is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I love this man. Not only is he tall, gorgeous and generous to work with, but I am so lucky to be his onscreen wife. He really knows how to make me laugh. He is just so funny.

More: Since your character on Desperate Housewives was only seen a handful of times, is it nice as an actor to finally step back in front of the camera?
BS: Are you kidding? I feel like I have just been let out of prison.

More: That was so funny!
BS: I loved Mary Alice and I could have played her forever. Voicing Mary Alice was a dream job. She was so singular, interesting and different. Yet at the same time I am an actor, not a voiceover artist. I had to learn how to work with only one aspect of my craft while I played Mary Alice. With Ann, I have been given more room to explore my character and use the instruments I was trained to play.

More: And you reunite with Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Christopher Ewing, Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross Ewing, and Larry, who all had recurring characters on Desperate Housewives.

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