Sin­gle, sober and fab­u­lous

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

ON the sur­face she hasn’t changed a bit, but Linda Gray is adamant her reprisal of JR Ewing’s long- suf­fer­ing al­co­holic wife Sue Ellen in the 2012 re­boot of Dal­las is about as far from the orig­i­nal as you could get.

‘‘ My God, she had to be,’’ laughs Gray, now 71. ‘‘ If she hadn’t changed she would be long gone.’’

Gray’s 2012 ver­sion of Sue Ellen is a big shot politi­cian and power bro­ker. She’s ditched JR ( Larry Hag­man), and the booze. She’s pow­er­ful and fab­u­lous.

‘‘ She’s sober,’’ Gray says. ‘‘ She prob­a­bly went to AA some­time in the past 20 years and got her stuff to­gether.’’

Dal­las, cur­rently play­ing out on our screens on WIN, is a bold re­make of the show that for 14 sea­sons was the big­gest drama on tele­vi­sion.

Re­do­ing it with a new gen­er­a­tion of Ewings grown up and strug­gling for con­trol of the fam­ily oil em­pire was risky, and not a move Gray, the orig­i­nal JR ( Larry Hag­man), and the orig­i­nal Bobby Ewing ( Patrick Duffy) took lightly.

But with the 10- episode reprisal now fin­ished air­ing in the US, and a sec­ond sea­son of 15 episodes planned, Gray ( pic­tured) is con­fi­dent the trio did the right thing.

‘‘ The writ­ers have done an amaz­ing job, they’ve blended the old and new,’’ she says.

Gray and Hag­man re­mained close, along with Duffy, dur­ing Dal­las ’ 20- year ab­sence from screens, and quickly found their feet work­ing to­gether again.

Al­though Hag­man’s JR, now in a lux­ury nurs­ing home, has had trou­ble get­ting used to the new Sue Ellen – much to Gray’s glee.

‘‘ With­out the haze of al­co­hol, there’s this clar­ity for Sue Ellen,’’ Gray says.

‘‘ She knows all the tricks of the trade be­cause she was mar­ried to JR. She knows where the bod­ies are buried, and she knows all the play­ers in Texas and she’s got most of JR’s money.

‘‘ She and JR still have this hugely dys­func­tional love- hate re­la­tion­ship, but for the first time in many, many years, she’s fas­ci­nat­ing to him. And she has things to do, she can’t be both­ered with him.’’

For Gray, the de­li­cious­ness of a wiser Sue Ellen comes sec­ond only to work­ing with ‘‘ a bright new cast’’ and the orig­i­nals – Hag­man and Duffy.

‘‘ It’s like a check­list of old times,’’ she says. ‘‘ The only diva on set in the orig­i­nal was Larry. And he’s still like that.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.