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By Suzanne

Interview with Linda Gray and Josh Henderson of "Dallas" on TNT 5/4/12

TURNER ENTERTAINMENT
Moderator: Kristina Stafford
May 4, 2012
11:00 am CT

Operator: Good day everyone and welcome to the Turner Entertainment hosted Linda Gray & Josh Henderson Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded.

At this time, I'd like to turn the conference to Kristina Stafford. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Kristina Stafford: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining the Linda Gray and Josh Henderson Conference Call. Dallas premiers Wednesday, June 13th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

The conference call is now open for questions. Please press star 1 to ask a question. Thank you.

Operator: Thank you. And just as a reminder when you ask a question, please make sure that your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Again, please limit yourself to one question to allow everyone an opportunity to ask.

Our first question will come from Jay Jacobs of Popentertainment.com.

Jay Jacobs: Hi. Nice to talk to you all.

Josh Henderson: Hello.

Linda Gray: Good morning.

Jay Jacobs: Good morning. Well, first of all, I guess I'll ask a pretty basic question to start off. How do you feel that the new series is different from the old one? And in what ways is it the same?

Linda Gray: It took a diamond and polished it. What can I say? It's magic. It was magic in 1978 and it's got a little 2012 fairy dust sprinkled on it. It's just wonderful.

Jay Jacobs: I like that answer.

Linda Gray: That was a good answer.

Jay Jacobs: I like that. Again, I mean, Josh, did you know about this show at the time? Were you familiar with the older one?

Josh Henderson: I was yes, you know, I'm originally from Dallas, Texas. I was born there so, you now, my family - it was a very kind of popular thing for my family. My me maw - my grandmother, Dallas was her favorite show and she kind of always said, being from Dallas, Texas you go to church and you watch Dallas. That's kind of what you do out there. So it was definitely something that I knew of. I was a little too young to remember actual details of the show, but I definitely knew of how big of a deal it was as a child.

Jay Jacobs: Very good. Thank you very much.

Josh Henderson: Absolutely.

Operator: Thank you. And as a reminder, that is star 1 if you would like to ask a question. We'll go next to Jamie Steinberg of Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jamie Steinberg: Hi, it's such a pleasure to speak with both of you.

Josh Henderson: Hello.

Linda Gray: Thank you. Good morning.

Jamie Steinberg: I was wondering, Linda, what are some of the storylines that you can tease this season?

Linda Gray: Have you seen anything? Have you seen any promo material?

Jamie Steinberg: It's a little.

Linda Gray: What does that mean?

Jamie Steinberg: Not an episode, but just a little preview of what's to come?

Linda Gray: Little snippits. Okay. Well, it takes it - when our children, Christopher and John Ross were very young. Now it is the perfect timing. I'm always about timing. I think Dallas originally started at perfect timing in history, and how its now perfect timing again when both Christopher and John Ross are grown-ups.

And they each have their own values and their own - focus on where they want to go with their lives, and with whom. So it's the - it's obviously a rivalry, and this competition. And there's all these, you know, wonderful things that one would expect from the show.

And there's a love triangle, so it takes all of the things that were with the original show and it just kind of amps it up. There's a little cayenne pepper thrown in here. So we're just taking what it was and amping it up a little bit. A lot.

Jamie Steinberg: Well, have you been able to take any souvenirs, like your Stetsons on the hat from the show or anything else that you're really going to remember from your time?

Josh Henderson: Well, I guess so far, you know, I definitely took home my cowboy boots that I wore all season. I became accustomed to those. And you know, for me it was just about, you know, kind of coming back home. I'm originally from Dallas, Texas. So I got to kind of come back and shoot the show that put this city on the map, which was just a huge honor blessing for me.

But when it comes to memorabilia from the show, I think the main thing I wanted to take were my boots, and I didn't want to take the hat, because I thought I would like, you now, not travel well with it and ruin, so I left the hat there in Dallas.

Jamie Steinberg: Okay. Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes Jane Ammeson of Northwest Indiana Times.

Jane Ammeson: Hi. My question is directed at (Susan). (Susan), emotionally, what's it like to be back? Is it like coming back into a family, you know I always had the feeling that it was more than just a job, that you know, you guys have been together for so long and there were so many connections. And then it was over. And now it's back. I'd like to know what your feelings are.

Linda Gray: Okay. She addressed it to (Susan). I didn't know who she was speaking to.

Jane Ammeson: Oh I'm sorry, Linda. Sorry.

Linda Gray: Yeah, I thought wait a minute. There may be someone else on the line.

Jane Ammeson: No. Sorry.

Linda Gray: No, I heard the name Susan and I thought -

Jane Ammeson: No, as I was talking, you know, I was looking at my computer screen, and the name (Susan) popped up from an email that I got so -

Linda Gray: Oh, so you're multi-tasking.

Jane Ammeson: Well, no I just have my computer on.

Linda Gray: No, you got busted. You got busted. Okay, well let's start over. Okay. So now that I'm focused on that -

Jane Ammeson: I just want to know about the emotionality. I mean you had a big family back, you know, when Dallas was first on. And you know, you were all together for so long. And then it was over. And now you're back, I just have - my thought is, it was more than just a job, it was relationships too.

Linda Gray: I'm talking to a lovely lady.

Larry Hagman: Hello lovely lady, this is Larry Hagman here.

Patrick Duffy: And this Patrick Duffy.

Linda Gray: See what I mean. I'm keeping out, get out. I love you. Get out of here. Go into the other room. Go.

Larry Hagman: I've been thrown out of better places than this.

Linda Gray: Get out. Okay. This is normal. So you asked about it was, being with these two crazy people. Now you know. So they've just walked into the phone conference. And it's all about them. They can't stand to be omitted. So they had to come in get coffee and interrupt our phone conference, so I'm sorry about that. But I think you go the best use of it.

Jane Ammeson: I did. That is like real life experience.

Linda Gray: Yes. Well, we're in this wonderful room, and they have coffee and water and everybody is getting make-up and hair and all that stuff done for our big day today. And they just walked in, not knowing we were on the phone, and just got coffee and started talking loud. So that's my life.

Jane Ammeson: My heroes. Yes.

Linda Gray: So anyway, that's the segue to your question ten minutes ago, that I've known these crazy boys for 35 years.

Jane Ammeson: Wow.

Linda Gray: And it gets better and better and better every year. You know, we started out, we all had families and on the show there were deaths and divorces, and births, and all kinds of wonderful things that happen in normal families, but this was our Dallas family. And now we're grandparents, all of us, and we were about five years old, the three of us. So we hang out, we laugh, we love, we're just, you know. I don't connect ((inaudible)) happens, and here to make this show absolutely magical, and I think it is.

Jane Ammeson: Oh, I think it will be too, I agree with you. So, I mean, was it like returning home in some ways?

Linda Gray: You know, it was and I use the word seamless, because it seemed as if we had shot this about a month ago. And nothing was different. Dallas, the city had changed, and grown and become more art conscious. They have a beautiful art section. And everything about it is enhanced. So, you know, we're just quite pleased about the way it all came about.

Jane Ammeson: Okay, great. I wanted to tell you I interviewed you years and years ago for Northwood Carolina Magazine and met you in a hotel room, and I've seen your pictures and you look still the same and absolutely gorgeous, so.

Linda Gray: Oh, thank you very much. It's really lovely to hear, thanks.

Jane Ammeson: Well listen, thank you.

Linda Gray: I hope you got a good interview.

Jane Ammeson: I did. I did. It was fun then and fun now.

Linda Gray: Great.

Operator: We'll go next to Maria Jackson of Shakefire.

Maria Jackson: Yes hello, good morning.

Josh Henderson: Hi, how's it going?

Maria Jackson: So I've been watching some of the episodes. I've seen like the first four episodes and Josh, your character seems to have a lot of his daddy in him, as it were. On kind of a cross, back-stabbing, and plans on top of plans, and -

Josh Henderson: There's a lot of layers, huh?

Maria Jackson: A lot of layers. And it was really surprising because it was like, oh wow, I didn't know he could ((inaudible)) and doing pretty well.

Josh Henderson: Well thank you.

Maria Jackson: And I was just wondering if your mom character is going to - she might come in there maybe tip her a little bit or maybe push you on.

Josh Henderson: Well, you know, I think when it comes to so far, I guess what you've seen. You know, John Ross is - he's really trying. I think he's at a pivotal moment in his life where he's trying to really make his presence known as a businessman. You know, he only knows one way to do business, and that's kind of how he's seen his father do business.

And, you know, it might not be in everyone's mind the best way, but in his mind it's the only way, and he knows that it gets stuff done. So he kind of learned from, in his mind, you know, learned from the best and at the end of the day he doesn't have a great relationship at this point with either of his parents. So he kind of feels like he's on his own, and I know that he at some point would love to be able to confide with his mother, but he just doesn't really - he's not comfortable with that as of right now where he's at.

He's really kind of trying to do things on his own and put his foot down and kind of, you know, put his footprint in, I guess, in this whole Ewing legacy. And so it's - he definitely is somewhat like his father and, you know, I know his mother is now at the point where she's kind of trying to give him some advice and hoping that he'll listen, I guess.

Maria Jackson: And Sue Ellen seems to be a very supportive character as well as when it comes to Elena helping to try and help him find oil but then it seems she's interactive with the other characters on too much of a whole yet and I was just wondering, what might her role be as we go on in the series?

Linda Gray: Well, it starts off -- she's got a wonderful arch to the entire first season. I say first season because I'm totally convinced that there'll be several more.

So first season, she has a wonderful arch. She starts off pretty, you know, a little small in the beginning and goes through the usual trying to be supportive to her - to her son.

And there's a lot of motherly guilt there and somewhat - she's a very, very powerful woman. She's a powerhouse this time. And so it's an interesting character for me to play because it's an entirely different Sue Ellen.

So that's - and for an actor, that's the great part. You can play it one season - for 13 years one way and then all of the sudden, we have a new woman who's transformed and emerged into a really fully blown woman and she's very powerful, so I - it's great to play that.

Maria Jackson: All right. Thank you so much.

Josh Henderson: Thank you.

Operator: We'll go next to Jay Jacobs of Top Entertainment dot com.

Jay Jacobs: Well, you can tell that ((inaudible)) still has so much fun with the role of J.R. and even the - like, ((inaudible)) when he just popped in? What's he like to work with in that role?

Josh Henderson: Well for me, it's, you know, it's a - gosh, it's -- when I found out that I was actually going to get to play his son, huge day for me in my life just because, you know, I know how big of a deal the original was.

And I just couldn't imagine that the amount of fun that I was going to get to have playing John Ross -- playing ball with, you know, the great J.R.; he has this energy that just takes over a room.

And it's a - it's very - it can be overwhelming and it made me step my game up and really kind of, you know, I had to, to go toe-to-toe with him a little bit. And at the end of the day I am - I am his son, so I knew that there was never going to be a dull moment with him.

And I can tell you, we go through a great journey in Season one.

Jay Jacobs: And I wonder how has Southfork changed over the years?

Linda Gray: Well, it's - I think it's become a big business in how - I mean, every tourist who's ever come to Texas wants to go to Southfork.

I think it's their number two tourist attraction. So it's very interesting to drive down that driveway at Southfork, because it brought back so many memories -- so many years spent there.

Josh Henderson: Yes.

Linda Gray: And it's still - it's still small. People are always surprised at how small it is. But then on film, they made it look so big and expansive. And it's just, you know, the - you play the theme song and that's a character.

You look at Southfork -- that's another character. So those were all the characters that embraced the whole series. So they give you what you had before and it's just a bit enhanced.

Jay Jacobs: Great. Okay. Thank you.

Josh Henderson: Thank you.

Linda Gray: Welcome.

Operator: Our next question comes from Michael Smith of Media Mikes dot com.

Michael Smith: Yes. Hi. Good morning.

Josh Henderson: Hello.

Linda Gray: Good morning.

Michael Smith: I had the misfortune of appearing in a play where opening night was the night they revealed who shot J.R.; we played to pretty much an empty house.

Linda Gray: Oh dear. Oh dear.

Michael Smith: This question is for Josh. Did you get any tips from Larry on how to play more of the dastardly side of John Ross?

Josh Henderson: You know, the first thing he ever said to me when we were on set was, "Enjoy the ride."

He literally just said, "Have fun. Enjoy the ride." I mean, you know, I think with this show, Dallas does bring a whole new ride to your life and I think what made the original so special was that they, you know, Larry, Linda, Patrick -- the original cast -- they truly had fun and they really, you know, like each other.

And I think that when that happens, you can trust your coworker or the actor that you're with in the scene more, meaning that you can go deeper with the characters to make a better TV show.

And so he really just said, "Enjoy the ride," and they have embraced the new generation unbelievably. Like, they just made us feel so comfortable from day one.

So, you know, they really - I guess they had a lot of trust and faith in us as kind of the new generation. And us being so comfortable -- them making it so comfortable -- really, I think, helped the entire dynamic of the - of the show and the character relationships and everything else.

Michael Smith: Great. Thank you very much.

Josh Henderson: Absolutely.

Operator: We do have time for one more question that will come from Courtney Cashman of Raked Reviews.

Courtney Cashman: Hi. Thanks for talking with us today.

Josh Henderson: Hello.

Courtney Cashman: I was just wondering -- this show really has the potential of hitting both audiences of the original and brand new people who have never seen it before. What is it that - what does it offer both sets of people that you really want them to like, know now so that they tune in on June 13th?

Linda Gray: I think that it will bring our global audience to the new show.

There'll be - there'll be kind of a lock - a lock -- that one. And then what will bring them to the new part is that they'll see the extended family. They'll see our children grown up, they'll see their focus in life, they'll see which business they have decided to go into, they'll see a love triangle.

So it's the expansion of the original show. It still has the same - the same family, but the family's grown and it's expanded. And there's still the same rivalry and greed and all this craziness that went on in the first series.

It will continue, so I think that you're in for a great ride.

Josh Henderson: Yes. I think like Linda said, it's everything about the original that made the original so great and so kind of, you know, magnetizing that people had to run back to the TV every week.

They really kind of did well of transcending that into the new generation of Dallas. And I think for me, you know, and the cast, our main goal is to satisfy the original fans of the show, give them what they want, give them what they've been missing for 21 years.

And also, you know, the show, I believe, speaks for itself. So the new audience -- hopefully some of the younger generation can bring in some - the new kind of younger people.

And I think as long as they give us a shot, they'll truly, really enjoy the show and just be able to -- what's great about this one is that you don't ever -- you don't even have to have ever seen the original to really be able to hop on board with these storylines. That's how good the show is.

My little sister is 21 in college and she knew of Dallas, but obviously she was too young and - to have - to have seen the original. But at - she's seen the first couple of episodes and she is just blown away and in love with it.

So I think that we can really, you know, span generations. And, you know, we just - we just - we just want the fans to be - to be satisfied. We really want them to be happy.

Courtney Cashman: Well, I've seen the first episode and have really enjoyed it, so thanks so much.

Josh Henderson: Oh, great. Thank you.

Operator: We'll go next to Jamie Steinberg of Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jaime Steinberg: Oh, hello again. I thought the conference was ending.

Josh Henderson: Hi.

Jamie Steinberg: Hi. I was just wondering, what do you think it is, though, about Dallas that really resonates with fans?

Linda Gray: That's a question that's really hard to answer. I don't really know. I think that when it first began, there were - there were a lot of people that didn't know quite what it was -- was it a nighttime soap opera -- what was it?

And I think that it was all about timing. I've always - I always go back to that. In television historically, there's always been shows that were perfectly timed. I Love Lucy was at a perfect time, there was - there were a lot of doctor shows, now there's a lot of reality shows.

And I think that in 1978 it was a perfect time for something bigger than life. People wanted to see something big, like oil -- like the - like the movie Giant. They wanted to see something big.

They wanted to see people with money, they wanted oil and big shoulder pads and cars and all that stuff. And they wanted to see family dynamics. So I think that the original fans were connected to what happens when you have all that money and you have all these problems.

It's dysfunction at its' finest, so I think people were initially drawn to all of that. And they love this whole - they saw it in maybe themselves or a boss or somebody in business.

They saw the business dealings of J.R. Ewing, which attracted a lot of the men to the show, so they thought, "Wow, this is - look at this guy. He's a bad guy and we like him," right?

So that was sort of confusing at first to people. It's like, "Wow, we really like that guy. He's really doing all these ridiculous things." And then they loved the way that he treated his wife, because then they could feel sorry for Sue Ellen and then be beating up on him.

And it was quite, you know, then the intrigue started and then it's the whole water cooler thing was, you know, it was all - it was all about the water cooler and, you know, every - people were talking about it the next day.

And it just - there was a ground swell that happened and it just built and built and built so that it was, you know, then it just a magnet so it attracted everybody.

So then it's - this is just a continuation of all the people that had all of those things fulfilled. Again, to me it's all about timing. It's another perfect time.

Operator: We'll now turn the conference back to Kristina Stafford for closing remarks.

Kristina Stafford: Thank you for joining today's call.

As a reminder, Dallas premiers Wednesday, June 13th, at 9:00 pm Eastern on TNT. A transcript of this call will be available on Monday, May 7th.

Thank you so much, Linda and Josh, for joining us and thank you everyone for participating.

Linda Gray: Thank you. Have a great day. We love talking to you.

Josh Henderson: Thank you so much.

Operator: That does conclude today's conference. Thank you all for your participation.

END

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