The anticipation for TNT's Dallas has been building for more than a year as the network announced plans to relaunch the seminal series back in 2010 -- and the big day is finally here as fans will return to Southfork Ranch tonight at 9 p.m. in the two-hour premiere! To find out what it's been like living inside this pop culture phenomenon, TheInsider.com caught up with Josh Henderson (who plays J.R.'s son, John Ross). And after chatting with the exuberant actor for just a minute, it becomes clear this is a role he was born to play.
TheInsider.com: In a recent interview, you said that Dallas was in your blood. How badly did you want this role?
Josh Henderson: My MeeMaw – that's what some Texans call their grandma – loved Dallas. It was her favorite show so I grew up knowing all about it. I knew it was huge, so when I heard it was coming back, I felt like I was supposed to be on this show. I couldn't wait to audition. So it's kind of crazy that I'm now talking about being on Dallas. It's pretty surreal that I'm a part of this show at all.
Insider.com: Did you feel pressure given all of that when creating John Ross?
Josh: Definitely. Plus, when the original show ended, my character was 7 years old, so there's a lot that people don't know about him. I felt like I had to figure out something special for John Ross because at the end of the day, J.R. is the most infamous villain in TV history. He was so special in that role and I felt like John Ross needed to have something special about him too. You never knew what you'd get with J.R. so my main goal with John Ross was to not only keep the characters guessing about what he'd do next, but also the audience.
Insider.com: What is it you hope people take away from Dallas?
Josh: My main goal coming onto this show was to make sure fans of the original were satisfied. This couldn't feel like a new show to them. It needed to feel like the next chapter in a book they were already reading. It's also interesting bringing such a widely loved show to a new audience that doesn't know what Dallas is. The pilot does a good job of re-introducing characters but each episode gets better and better. The show moves so fast, I tell people to not even go to the bathroom because you will always miss something. Just hold it.
Insider.com: Not to knock any of your past projects, but I've heard so many actors say there is a palpable difference in promoting a show they wholly support. Do you agree?
Josh: Completely. I'm honest with people – but you have to support your projects. I'm so glad I don't have to fake it with this show.
Insider.com: What kinds of reactions have you been getting from fans of the original?
Josh: It's been crazy to see the excitement. I call it, Twilight For Adults. We've been on a national press tour and I understand that fans are skeptical, but as soon as anyone has watched the show, they're yelling, "Dallas is back!" That's been the most exciting response. And to those people, all I can say is that we will have more familiar faces as the season wears on. We couldn't do it without J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen. We’re blessed to have Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman back. it legitimized the show. Plus, they've been so welcoming of the newbies. We never felt judged – they trusted what we were going to do with our characters and just had a ton of fun. I truly believe if you have fun at work, it translates on screen.
Dallas premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on TNT.
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- Josh Henderson