The seven million people who tuned into the premiere of TNT’s Dallas (Wednesdays at 9/8c) saw that the rotten apple does not fall far from the tree, as John Ross Ewing not only aided J.R.’s plot to steal Southfork from Bobby, but one-upped his old man himself! And all the while finding time to frolick beneath an oil gusher with his cousin’s ex and hook up with a fake conservancy trustee.
But since, as J.R. (played by Larry Hagman) has told us, oil is thicker than blood, what might the backlash be when he learns his own son hornswoggled him? Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross, shared with TVLine a peek at the father-son and cousin-on-cousin rivalries to come.
TVLINE | So, how about those boffo premiere numbers?
It always makes you feel good when people tune in and check out your show — and it seems like a majority of people really, really liked it. So it’s very exciting.
TVLINE | John Ross came out of the premiere having gotten the upper hand on J.R. Was that to send a message to us? To let us know he’s a force to be reckoned with?
I think so, yes. But at the same time, J.R. is still up to no good, so it’s going to be a nice roller coaster ride with the two of them, with little kinks like Marta and other characters. It makes for good TV, that’s for sure.
TVLINE | It almost seems like this as much about John Ross versus J.R. as it is about him versus Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe).
[The cousins] are just two bulldogs going at each other, while it’s more of a chess match with John Ross and J.R. One is definitely trying to stay one step ahead of the other, all season long.
TVLINE | I mean, that seething look on J.R.’s face when he realized he’d been dealing with a fake Marta….
Right?! It’s crazy how J.R. has come alive again. Even in the first two episodes, you see that he’s full of life.
TVLINE | This Wednesday, John Ross “sets out to claim his birth right and make his father proud.” How does that work out for him?
He’s trying to do whatever he can to achieve what he wants, and he knows that even if he does — if it’s possible — one-up J.R., that would actually make J.R. proud of him, showing that John Ross is his son. It’s an ongoing battle, and this week’s is a great episode. I’m going to be live-tweeting it, so I can actually talk to people as they watch.
TVLINE | Offer a hint of a particularly despicable act John Ross has coming up this season.
Very soon, he gets a lot of trust put in him…. Some things go down, and it’s basically his time to shine. He has to try and A) impress his father or B) keep Elena (Jordana Brewster) but at the same time continue his path to be that guy sitting at the head of the table. He goes through a lot, and stuff gets really intense – especially towards Episodes 6 and 7, when things start gearing up for the last three episodes of the season, which are just crazy. Larry [Hagman] likes to say that one episode of the new Dallas is like five episodes of the old Dallas smushed into one! It moves so fast and there’s so much happening.
TVLINE | I don’t know what sort of patience Larry has with you young whippersnappers, but has he passed along any wisdom or tips?
The first thing he ever told me was, “Enjoy the ride,” that Dallas has brought his life to a place where he has dinner with the Queen of England, he meets princes…. He’s done everything. Larry’s like the real Dos Equis [beer] guy.
TVLINE | Seriously, he could have just been “Jeannie’s husband,” but then Dallas came along.
Exactly. He never tried to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do for the character. He, Linda [Gray] and Patrick [Duffy] really trust us to be the new generation, and we never felt like we were being judged, but that we were being welcomed in. That made us feel comfortable to just go to work and do the best job we could.
TVLINE | I’m curious, have we met a woman John Ross truly cares for yet? Is it Elena?
Yes, he totally loves Elena. Everyone else in his life is somewhat of a chess piece, but Elena is someone he hopes can just be waiting at home, someone he can let the whole game out of his head and relax with. But it’s tough for any girl to put up with the way he does business.
TVLINE | So why is he shtupping Fake Marta?
Marta is just a chess piece, somebody he knows can do dirty work for him. As of right now, that’s who Marta is in his life. But Elena, he truly loves her.
TVLINE | And Marta being a ridiculously attractive chess piece, that’s just icing on the cake.
Yes. [Laughs] If he’s gonna have a chess piece, she might as well be attractive.