TNT’s return to Dallas, premiering on June 13th, will have a whole new collection of secrets, schemes and betrayals on the steamy nighttime soap. This time, JR (Larry Hagman), Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) are joined by the next generation of Ewings, who take ambition and deception to a whole new level.
At the show’s press day, actress Jordana Brewster, who plays Elena Ramos, John Ross’ (Josh Henderson) girlfriend and Christopher’s (Jesse Metcalfe) former fiancée, spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how she had been looking for something in television, what it’s like to work with the original cast members, her favorite fight scenes this season, what she enjoys most about playing Elena, and adjusting to having different directors for each episode. She also talked about looking forward to what’s in store for her character in Fast and Furious 6, and how she hopes she’ll be able to get in on some of the action. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
JORDANA BREWSTER: I had been looking for something in television. I think television is just such a great place. I also crave constancy. I like being home, but I also like working consistently. I like working for four months at a time, which is why cable was so attractive. You work for four months, and then you get to do something else, whether it’s doing a movie or just being at home with your husband and eventually having a family. That was really appealing to me.
Before you got to read this script, what did you think when they came to you with the idea of bringing Dallas back?
BREWSTER: I didn’t think it was crazy because it is the era of remakes. They remade Charlie’s Angels. Hawaii Five-O was a huge success. I didn’t think it was ludicrous. I did think it was risky, but then I thought, “It’s a continuation, it’s not a remake,” which I think is great. And then, when I read the script, it was so solid and there were so many twists and turns, and the writing was so good and the relationships were so good. It brought in the history, in an appropriate way, so that if you’re a new watcher, you don’t have to have seen the original. You can acclimate yourself pretty quickly to the show, which I think is really important for new audiences. So, I was excited. I really wanted to get the role.
What’s it like being on set with the original cast members?
BREWSTER: It was daunting before I met them. You want their blessing. You want them to think you’re a good actor. You want them to think that you’re doing right by Dallas. They laid the groundwork. The show is famous. The show ran for 13 years. That’s because of them, and you don’t want to screw that up. And then, once I met them, they were amazing. They could not be more humble and warm and lovely. They could be entitled jerks because of all their success, and they’re not. They’re so loving and wonderful. So, once I met them, I felt so much better about that. It just made the working environment so lovely.
Knowing that the original cast still thinks so fondly of the show and their characters must make things that much more pleasant on set.
BREWSTER: Especially when you’re doing a TV show. When you’re doing a movie, you’re in and out of there in three months. If you hated the experience, it’s all good because you can take the paycheck and leave. But, on a television show, you have to love your character and you have to love the experience because you could be there for awhile, fingers crossed.
BREWSTER: No, I don’t think you ever have an idea, when you’re shooting something. When I shot Fast and Furious, I had no idea what I was working on. I don’t think you know until something is complete. When I watched the pilot, I was really excited about how it turned out and I really loved it. But, you never really know whether you’re working on something special until it’s done.
Since there are some great fights on this show, was there a person that you were most looking forward to having a confrontation or fight with, this season?
BREWSTER: The one with Christopher, in the beginning, was pretty great. I can’t really say what happens, but there’s a pretty great one in the finale. When I was watching the seven episodes, I was like, “Shit, I don’t have the last three!” I’m dying to see that one confrontation, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m really excited to watch it. It’s pretty great!
What have you enjoyed most about playing Elena?
BREWSTER: What’s so great about TV is that it’s a much better medium for women, in terms of the writing and the characters. I’ve really enjoyed the interactions between John Ross and Elena, and Christopher and Elena because they both bring out different things in her. I really like that she’s an ambitious, independent woman who wants to make it on her own, and I love it when she goes to Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) for advice. She wants Sue Ellen to be her mentor. It’s hard to pick one thing ‘cause I just love that she’s multi-faceted.
BREWSTER: It’s really fun! They’re totally different. Jesse is a little more serious and he’s very, very professional and he’s very on it. With Josh, I have more of a goofball relationship with him, where they have to tell us to shut up and get serious so we can film our scenes. He can just make me crack up, between scenes and between takes. He’s hysterical. It’s a totally different dynamic, which is good because then that will bring out something different.
What do you think of the interaction between Elena and Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo)?
BREWSTER: You would think that, in a relationship like that, they’d be pulling each other’s hair out and having cat fights and being really catty towards one another, but I feel like it’s really realistic, how they’re weary of one another. They’re very nice to each other on the surface, and yet you don’t really know what’s brewing underneath, and I feel like that’s more fun to watch than just watching them be overly rude to each other. She doesn’t embrace her fully because she still knows that Christopher could be with her, if he hadn’t married Rebecca.
What’s it been like to constantly work with different directors who bring their own vision to the show and the characters?
BREWSTER: That was totally different for me. I didn’t get used to it until about the third or fourth episode. I wasn’t used to it. It just was a totally different thing that took some getting used to. It was so jarring for me. I’m such a creature of habit that I like going to the same person all the time, to ask my questions and get validation. It was just so weird. I was like, “Wait, I have to get used to a new personality?” But, what ends up happening is that, when a show goes for seasons, it ends up being the same people, over and over again, so that will be nice.
BREWSTER: No, I haven’t. No, I haven’t seen the script yet, but I’m dying to!
There’s been talk of it filming in London and Berlin this time. Are you excited about that?
BREWSTER: Yeah. And, Justin Lin has been tweeting from the UK. He tweets pictures and people get to guess where he’s tweeting from. I’m really excited. I love shooting with them. We’re a family. I’m on my fourth film now. I was in the first, the fourth, the fifth and now the sixth, if everything works out. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
There’s also been talk of adding Gina Carano this time.
Would you love to have some conflict with her?
BREWSTER: Gina Carano would kick my ass! But, I would like to have more action. In the fifth one, it was really fun. Mia was on the road with Brian and was jumping off roofs. I liked seeing Mia in a more active role. That was really cool! I think the fact that she’s a mother shouldn’t limit her, in any way. I feel like, if anything, that should make her even more active because she has more to protect.
Don’t you think she could totally trick out her soccer mom mini-van?
BREWSTER: Right?! You know what? I actually feel kind of limited when I’m in the driving role because that’s all green screen. There’s only so much you can do with the driving stuff. Paul [Walker] is really good with that because he’s really familiar with all that stuff. I need to be told exactly what to do, when I’m shifting and everything. I’m like, “I cannot make this look cool! I don’t know what I’m doing!” But the active stuff, I love. I love going to the gym and I love being active.
Because the fifth movie was so successful, do you feel pressure with the sixth one?
BREWSTER: I think it’s amazing when you work with people you really trust, and I really trust the writer and I really trust Justin. They don’t take the fans for granted. They know that expectations are high and the fans are awesome and very loyal, and you can’t let them down. That’s why they bring in fresh elements, like Dwayne Johnson, and older elements that the fans love, like Tyrese and Ludacris and hopefully Michelle [Rodriguez]. That adds what the franchise needs.
BREWSTER: How could we be bored, though? We traveled to Rio! We’d have to be pretty jaded.
When you have such amazing experiences, like you have with the Fast and Furious franchise and with Dallas, where you all become a family, does it make it that much harder to find good material that you want to invest yourself in? What do you look for, when you’re looking for projects?
BREWSTER: Yeah. I’ve always been kind of picky because I’ve always been interested in lots of different things. I chose to take three years off and go to school, and that helped keep me sane. Hollywood can make you crazy, if all you’re thinking about is your next job. But, there’s so much good stuff out there. Recently, I became a huge fan of Girls (on HBO). It’s so good! I love Julianna Margulies on The Good Wife. I think she’s awesome! I love Claire Danes on Homeland, and Edie Falco is so good on Nurse Jackie. TV is amazing. It’s exciting that there’s so much good material out there, and it’s exciting that there’s good stuff on the web now. I’m reading stuff that’s only going on the web, and it’s cool that there are different venues where people can have a platform. I think that’s great.
Dallas airs on Wednesday nights on TNT.