Patrick Duffy, Dallas
Oozing money, sex and glamour, Dallas had millions hooked as the drama unfolded against the backdrop of the oil industry’s wealthy elite. Patrick Duffy reprises his role as Bobby Ewing, who suffered a turbulent relationship with his brother JR (Larry Hagman) in the struggle for control of Ewing Oil, as Dallas returns after 21 years with a new generation of Ewings at Southfork…
What’s happened since we last saw the Ewings?
At the end of Dallas after the 13th year, we had lost Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes. Pretty much that’s all we know. Bobby’s son Christopher is returning from Asia and his basic idea is to get into the energy business, but new energy, a forward looking greener situation. John Ross wants to be a better JR than JR was, so he wants to go back. He wants to drill oil and become a powerful oil man, so we have the next generation of the conflict that I had with JR. Although 20 years have passed, we’re the same people. How would Bobby mature, how would Christopher mature? I’m in charge of the ranch. It’s been left to me by mama. JR really has no place to be, because he doesn’t have Ewing Oil and he’s really upset that mama didn’t give him the ranch. So here we go, it’s Dallas again!
Have the Ewings got more cut-throat?
One half yes, one half no. Bobby has raised his son to be more compassionate. JR has ignored his son, so by virtue of that he’s become even more rabid in his insatiable desire to succeed. It’s amped up versions of Larry and myself.
On the original show you were married to Pam Ewing (Victoria Principal), but you have a new wife Ann, played by Brenda Strong, don’t you?
I thought about it before I met her and I thought that’s the hardest job to come into on the show, of all of them, to play Bobby Ewing’s wife. She has huge shoes to fill in terms of the function of her character. Her character is written perfectly. It’s not an imitation of Pamela. She’s such a good actress. I’m the happiest actor.
Ann was married before, as Bobby was obviously. We’re making it up as we go along because it hasn’t been written as a plot. We’ve figured out that we’ve been married somewhere between seven and 10 years. She’s come from a divorce. We have her ex-husband in the final episode.
Are you using anything from the original Dallas set for the new version?
Not from the interiors. Exterior wise it’s exactly Southfork Ranch. The very same building, same outbuildings, barns. It was very weird going back. It was strange, yet so natural. It felt so normal to go to work on the first day on the ranch, like I’d never been gone. From almost the fourth year of the show, the original owners sold it and it became a tourist attraction, and it got built up. There are angles we can’t film now, because there is a big party barn, where they have huge social functions, but it’s a money-making tourist attraction. The interior is modernised and I think the viewing audience will feel comfortable even though it’s new.
Has anything else changed?
The major thing for me is the technology difference between us filming Dallas in the Eighties, and a camera the size of a water glass to film Dallas now. I did a scene in a helicopter and the guy took his regular Nikon camera, took out one thing, put in a HD film chip and we had 14 minutes of film out of his little camera. We used to have a massive camera, and the guy not being able to hold it, before.
What’s interesting is that we're filming in Texas, so it’s the wide open range. Now you can do a close-up of a person, but you still get the scope of the Texas landscape behind them. We could never do that before. That’s