TNT’s return to Dallas has a whole new collection of salacious 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 Julie Gonzalo (Eli Stone) – who plays Rebecca Sutter, a beautiful young woman with many secrets, who is torn between her love for Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and her brother (Callard Harris) – spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about what it’s like to work with some of the original Dallas cast, what she thinks of her complex and layered character, her favorite confrontations this season, and what she’d love to learn about her character, in the future. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Collider: Was there a moment when you felt like this show was really on track with what you were hoping it would be?
JULIE GONZALO: I had seen some episodes, but I haven’t seen the entirety of Dallas because there are 14 seasons. I do own all of them now and I’ve been watching here and there, but I didn’t know what to expect. Every time a script would come, it was like, “Oh, my god, it’s getting juicy!” To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of American soap operas. I grew up Spanish, so I grew up watching a lot of novellas. But, there’s just so much fun in this show. It’s so addicting! It’s very well cast and very well put together. Everybody has such a different agenda, and we’re all struggling to live up to something and find our own happiness, and really fighting for that. It’s really fun. It really did live up to my expectations. It’s beautifully shot.
What’s it been like having Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray around, to bridge the gap from the original Dallas and this continuation of it?
GONZALO: When we first started announcing that we were going to do the series, the big fear was that they would just be there for a minute and then leave it all for us to continue. But no, they have a big part on the show. Bobby is in more scenes than I am. It’s not that way, at all. It’s very well-balanced. It’s the old and the new, shaken up. They’re very much involved, and I’m glad. I’m not a big fan of remakes. I never wanted to do a remake. When I first got the script, I was like, “Dallas?! Really, they’re remaking Dallas? No, I’m okay. I don’t want to do it.” But, my manager was like, “No, it’s a continuation. It literally picks up, 20 years later.” I was like, “All right. Okay, I’m going to give it a try.” And then, I read the pilot and it was so good!
What was it like to be on set with the original cast?
GONZALO: It was exciting! I wouldn’t say it was intimidating, but it was fun. I was trying to just be myself and be like, “Okay, I’m very lucky to have gotten this job and I just want to make it right by everyone.” They made it such a huge success for 14 years that it would be a shame if I let any of them down. They’re just so beautiful. They’re such lovely people. It literally felt like they wrapped a warm blanket over us and said, “Let’s do this!” They keep saying, “Let’s do this another 14 years,” and I’m like, “Oh, man, let’s just go year by year!”
What do you think of your character, Rebecca?
GONZALO: At the end of the day, the bottom line with Rebecca is that she’s doing everything for love. She is madly in love with Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe). She has her brother, and he has a different agenda for her. You see her struggling because which love do you do it for, your brother or your husband? They’re both so strong. She’s very torn, throughout the season, but that’s what I really love about playing Rebecca.
At first, when I got the job, I didn’t know that was in play. I had no idea who Rebecca was or where she was going, or what it was going to be about. I remember auditioning for it, and then I got the part and (executive producer) Cynthia [Cidre] was like, “You knew.” I was like, “I had no idea!,” and she was like, “No, you did it in your audition.” I knew there was something there. I didn’t know what it was, but I just went with a gut feeling and it paid off. But, she’s so complex and there’s so many layers that every time a script would come in, I was like, “This little hussy!” There was so much to play and so much room for fun in the role. There are scenes where I’m looking at Tommy (Callard Harris) and I’m one thing, and then I’m looking at Christopher and I’m another, and I feel like I’m going crazy. There’s a huge dynamic to her.
When they sat me down and explained to me where they wanted to take Rebecca, I was like, “Okay, I like this much better than just being the whiny girl.” To me, you feel sorry for those roles. I’m not that type of person, personally. I consider myself to be a very strong, independent woman. Obviously, it’s a job, but when it comes to the way the women are written on the show, it’s just so smart that it couldn’t be any other way. Rebecca is struggling within herself, but at the end of Season 1, it all comes to why she’s struggling. At the end of the season, if people really stick with it, they’re going to have an entirely different idea of Rebecca.
Will viewers get to see more of the backstory between Rebecca and her brother?
GONZALO: Yeah, we’re definitely going to tap into that, absolutely. You need to know, in this season, why they’re doing what they’re doing. I think it’s going to take a lot of people by surprise.
What’s it like to play the dynamic of the relationship between Rebecca and Tommy, as opposed to the one Rebecca has with Christopher?
GONZALO: It was fun! In a way, I played two personalities. I played the personality with Tommy, and then the personality that I am with the rest of the family. The scenes that I have with Tommy and another member of the family, I’m changing faces all the time, but that’s the most fun I had. It was about trying to discover who the real Rebecca is, and who the person is that she’s trying to be. I even have different voices, at times, depending on who she’s talking to and what she’s talking about. There were different moments where I was like, “Okay, this is who I am today.” But, when I’m kept on my toes, I’m having the best time of my life.
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?
GONZALO: I have a lot of confrontations with many people. The stuff with Callard, who plays Tommy, is a lot of fun because that’s where the real characters come out. He’s a fantastic actor. It was really fun to just exchange words with him because sometimes they got a little out there. It was a lot of fun! I also have amazing scenes with Jesse. He plays my husband, so I have a lot of them. We go through a lot, as a couple, in the first season.
Are there things you’d love to learn about your character, if you get a Season 2?
GONZALO: Oh, yeah! I feel like the first season is setting our chess pieces on. We’re just adjusting all the characters. Hopefully, if we get a chance to do a second season, we’re really going to see the beginning of something wonderful. The first season was all setting everything up. If we get a Season 2, I think that’s when we’re all going to learn a lot about each other. Now, we’re just warming up. We learned a lot, episode by episode. I had no idea where they were going to go. Getting each episode, we were like, “Oh, my god! I have to do what?!” It was super fun!
Dallas airs on Wednesday nights on TNT.