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Will Dallas role be a setback for Zeta?

Mar 30 2005

Karen Price, Western Mail


It was one of the biggest-ever TV shows and brought us shoulder pads, stetsons and sibling rivalry.

Dallas was such vital viewing that when baddie JR Ewing was shot, 53 countries across the world tuned in for the '80s cliffhanger, which made global news headlines.

And you could even buy souvenir mugs, T-shirts and key rings declaring, 'I Shot JR'.

It doesn't come as much of a surprise then - especially when a plethora of retro TV shows are being adapted for the big screen - that Dallas is to be made into a film.

And in line to play one of the central characters is Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The Swansea-born Oscar-winning actress is set to take on Pamela Ewing, the wife of JR Ewing's younger - and more handsome - brother Bobby.

And Brad Pitt, Catherine's love interest in her latest film Ocean's Twelve, is reported to be playing Bobby.

'We want to make a big, all-star, flashy, go-for-it version of the TV series,' said Robert Harling, who is writing the screenplay.

'It's all about reinventing the series to fit 2006 - the year we want to release the film. The story will start with Bobby and Pam meeting and getting married.'

Dallas was one of American TV's biggest hits.

It was first aired on April 2, 1978 and soon had millions tuning in to catch up with the antics of the Ewings, a family of oil barons who lived on Southfork Ranch in Dallas.

The family, headed by Jock and Ellie Ewing, featured brothers baddie JR, originally played by Larry Hagman, and nice guy Bobby (Patrick Duffy).

In the TV series, Bobby's wife Pam was played by American actress Victoria Principal.

One of the most memorable, and most panned, scenes was when Pamela woke up and found Bobby in the shower - after he had been killed off in an earlier series. When Patrick Duffy decided to reprise the role, the writers decided that his 'death' had all been Pam's dream.

After 13 seasons, the final episode was screened in 1991 and featured many of the original cast, including Hagman and Duffy.

Despite the popularity of the TV show, Western Mail film critic Gary Slaymaker feels that playing the role of Pamela will hinder rather than boost Catherine's career.

'I don't think it would be good for her career,' he said.

'The Dukes of Hazzard is another '70s series being made into a film but it has a kitsch retro quality to it whereas Dallas is just rubbish! There's just nothing you can do to save Dallas or improve it in any way.

'Considering what Catherine has been doing lately this would be a major setback for her - it's just a shoddy soap opera from the '80s.

'If they make it a complete satire then it might work but I can't see that happening.

'But if Catherine does take the role then they should also get Michael Douglas to play JR Ewing and Kirk Douglas to play Jock Ewing so it would be a proper family affair.'


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