More: Dallas fans have reason to celebrate--can you explain why?
Linda Gray: Dallas is coming back to TV. We already shot the pilot.
More: Take me to the Ewing ranch. What is currently taking place there?
LG: [The pilot] is called “Changing of the Guard,” and the story will focus on Sue Ellen and J.R.’s son, John Ross Jr., and Bobby’s son, Christopher.
More: What made you reprise your role after all these years?
LG: Two years ago Patrick Duffy [Bobby Ewing], Larry Hagman [J.R. Ewing] and I received a phone call from Warner Brothers asking us if we would be interested in shooting a pilot for a Dallas series. We all said yes, but then two years went by, and we didn’t hear anything else. Fast-forward and we finally did get a call saying, “This is happening.”
More: What was it like to share the stage with your former costars after so many years?
LG: It was so much fun. It was surreal to go back there again after all these years. Larry, Patrick and I have known each other for 33 years, and we are dear friends off camera. To have friends like that is pretty impressive, and it is a really solid relationship.
More: You have all come a long way.
LG: Yes. When we met, we were all having children, and now we all have grandchildren.
More: Is Victoria Principal, who played Bobby’s wife, Pam, returning as well?
More: Does your son turn into his backstabbing, womanizing and ruthless dad?
LG: We don’t know. We shot one episode, and in that episode, me, Patrick and Larry are more of the supporting cast. Our kids are the main focus.
More: What’s different about the show this time around?
LG: There is a woman writer. The original Dallas series was written by a man, and the women in the cast were more in the background. We basically served as bookends. We were the reactors. That is what my character, Sue Ellen, was all about. She drank and had affairs because her husband, J.R., was not nice to her. Sue Ellen was a victim.
More: She sounds fun to play.
LG: Not really. I didn’t want to play that character anymore, because it is boring me. In the 1980s women were starting to change. The First Lady, Betty Ford, went public with her drinking problem and founded the Betty Ford Center. Women were starting to take charge of their lives and were no longer the victims in the corner.
More: Sue Ellen had a drinking problem in the original series. Is that still the case?
LG: No. That would mean Sue Ellen would be going backwards, and I want her to go forward. I will say this about Sue Ellen: She is more powerful than J.R., has more money than J.R., and they are still divorced.
More: I read that because your portrayal of an alcoholic on Dallas was so realistic, fans came up to you and thought you really had a drinking problem.
LG: Yes, that is true. I actually went to bars to study people drinking and would watch what happens when they consume too much alcohol. But what was so incredible for me was having fans tell me that watching those scenes and seeing the devastation of what an alcoholic like Sue Ellen can do to a family, and how out of control she got, made them go to AA to get help. I heard that a lot. I had no idea of the impact those scenes had.
More: While you were starring on Dallas, Larry Hagman saved your job after the producers had fired you.
LG: Yes. Talk about friendship. He threatened to leave if they did not hire me back. Larry was the hub of the show. He loved being J.R.
More: When I made reference to interviewing Barbara Eden about her book, which talked about Larry’s drinking during the filming of I Dream of Jeannie, you told me those pages upset you. Why?
LG: Because it was about my friend, and Larry is my dear friend.