EXCLUSIVE: Latina Stars Dish on the New Show Dallas
06/05/2012 - 19:00 ||
Dallas, the new take on the old TV show, has us ready for our summer shows to start! We caught up with the two young Latina stars of the show, as well as the head writer, to get their take on the revamped favorite. Read all about it below, then make sure to watch the premiere on TNT June 13 at 9 pm EST.
In the show, Jordana plays Elena Ramos, the love interest of John Ross Ewing and the daughter of the Ewing cook. In real-life the Brazilian actress, who was born in Panama and raised in London, Brazil and New York, makes her home in L.A. (though she’s loving Dallas.)
You’ve been in this industry for a while. You started young. How old exactly?
“I was 15 when auditioned and got [cast in] As the World Turns. That was a great start.”
Was that your big break?
“It was a great training ground because I got to work on-and-off for three years. It’s a shame daytime soaps are going away. They’re such a good training ground for actors. I really had a lot of fun on that show.”
How did you get approached for a lead role in Dallas?
“My manager sent me the script and the minute I read it – Cynthia wrote such a rich, amazing script with so many twists and turns and such great characters – I couldn’t resist. I read the script, then I read for Cynthia and Mike [Robin] (Executive Producer) and I got the role. “
Had you ever watched or heard of the show prior to reading the script?
“Oh, I definitely heard of it. It’s such a part of our culture. I knew about the theme song, certain aspects of the show like, the ‘Who hot J.R.?’ [catchphrase], the shower, the shower season with Bobby, and of course I was familiar with the actors in Dallas, but I hadn’t seen the actual show until I got it and started watching all the episodes.”
Who else do you have beef or drama with on the show?
“Well, the main tension is with Christopher and Rebecca, but then again John Ross is going against the Ewing’s wishes and since Elena’s in cahoots with John Ross, she also has some tension with the Ewings even though she grew up with them and is loyal to them, but what she’s doing right now they don’t really agree with. John Ross and Elena want to drill for oil and they find a spot on Southfork, so it’s kind of the Ewings going against what J.R.’s doing and what Elena’s doing.”
How has it been shooting in Dallas?
“Dallas is great, the shopping there is amazing, the food is delicious. It’s also nice when you’re part of a cast and you’re away from home. It’s like everyone sort of has no choice but to band together. Shooting on Southfork is amazing; to be able to see where they shot the old series episodes. I think the fans will love that.”
Did your husband visit you in Dallas?
“He did. He would visit a lot and he enjoyed it. I would come home as well. It’s only 2 1/2 hours from L.A., so I would come home to see my dogs.”
Besides acting, what else are you passionate about?
“Acting is first and foremost, but I love entertaining. I love having dinner parties with friends. Fitness is a big part of my life. I love reading. I was an English major in school, so that’s one of my favorite things to do. One of the things I love about Los Angeles is that you can hike. Going on hikes with my dogs in Runyon Canyon.”
Argentinian actress Julie Gonzalo plays Christopher Ewing’s fiancée, Rebecca.
How did you break into acting?
“I started doing some modeling down in Florida and started getting a lot of work, and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I don’t know, there’s something artsy about it that I really liked and I met a casting director at one of my commercial auditions and he just kind of asked me out of nowhere why I was modeling. [He told me] I should be acting. I didn’t really know how to get into it and he helped me a lot and one thing led to another—to an agent, to a first part of a film, to a manager, to L.A. It kind of all fell into place.”
How did you get approached for a lead role in Dallas?
“I had an audition, nobody really approached me. My agent sent an appointment and my manager insisted, he was the one who called me and said there’s this project called Dallas and you should read it. I went in and met with Cynthia and Mike. It was really great because it felt natural. I think I auditioned for them at 10 in the morning and at three they offered me a test. I got hired a week later, so it was one of those meant to be things.”
Had you ever watched or heard of the show?
“To be honest, I don’t remember watching it but I do remember the show. My mother used to watch it Argentina, so it was absolutely huge. It was one of the biggest American television programs that had come to the country and my mother was [saying] ‘I need to have my hour of Dallas.’ It was really amazing when I called her [when] I just got this job. She flipped out. I don’t think she’s ever been as excited for any other job. It was really nice.”
Is she a good girl? Bad girl?
“There are no bad people on the show. What’s amazing is they all have a great honest place that they’re coming from and I don’t think she’s a bad girl. Everybody plays a part, but it’s how you perceive it that you decide whether she’s bad or good. She’s a lawyer. She’s bilingual. I’m hoping she’ll be trilingual. I’m already bilingual, I want to get another language in there. She’s a worldly girl. Her and Chris met in Japan, where she was abroad and she studied law. She has a brother Tommy who’s her only family. Her parents [were killed] in an accident when she was a child so she kind of had one of those sad stories where she needed to grow up fast and get her stuff together. When she meets Chris, she finally has the support of someone. Yeah, you meet her speaking...she speaks a few languages in the pilot. She’s very smart, which I am super excited to play.”
Any off-screen drama?
“I’ve never been a part of a show that got this close, this quick. We got along very well. The people were so amazing to us. They crew were so down to earth. It went so flawlessly. The hard times we had were keeping a straight face when we had to be serious. It was super fun. We hope to get another season so we can enjoy each other’s company again.”
You won an ALMA Award in 2008 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Television Series for Eli Stone. How do you use that experience for this new role?
“Eli Stone was so different. Having an Alma for the show was a surprise. To be recognized by the Spanish community was a blessing for me. When I heard, I was in awe. Just taking my mom to the award show was all I needed, and then getting the award was fantastic. To me every job for me is different. It’s a different soul, a different character. From now on, everything’s new.”
Cuban writer Cynthia Cidre penned the new remake of Dallas.
How did you get into writing?
“I was a grad student at the University of Miami. I graduated early [and] did undergrad in three years instead of four, which is key to my being here: there was a writing contest at Colombia Pictures and they wanted graduate students, so had I been a senior instead of first year grad student, I wouldn’t be here. I had a teacher who sent in a short film that I had written in a communications course and it won, there were 11 of us from across the country from writing schools and we all came out here [Los Angeles]. I was 20 and we wrote scripts for Colombia. They bought five of the 11 and I was one of the five. I literally just flew home and got my car [and] moved out here. I just worked and kept writing movies. I had a perfectly great life, a house, writing scripts by myself, and then Dallas happened. Dallas is so big and TNT has been so supportive of the whole thing, so it’s been pretty crazy.”
You developed the new season, the executive producer and head writer of the brand-new Dallas, which started shooting in October, correct?
“The show was created in 1978 by David Jacobs so he retains that title, the writer’s guild determines a different title for you, which is “developed by.” I wrote the pilot and the first script, but we have really good six other writers and I’m very happy to let them write because they’re fast and funny and have great one-liners.”
How did you get approached to resurrect the 13-year running drama Dallas?
“Craig Urwick sent me an email about two-and-a-half years ago asking me if I was interested in redoing Dallas. My first reaction was ‘Why would I want to redo Dallas?’ Then the more I though about it throughout the day, the more intrigued I was. We pitched it to TNT, they bought it and that’s when I started writing the new Dallas, which is conceived of as a continuation of the [original] show: The original characters have aged, and their current lives, and those of their now-grown children, make up the new story lines.”
Dallas premieres June 13. Where are you watching it?
“At home. By then I’ve seen the pilot 150 times and the first season 149 times.”
Are you excited for the show? Share in the comments below!