Linda Gray revisits her legendary "Dallas" character Sue Ellen for the TNT reboot of the popular night time soap, which premieres on June 13, and the actress said she needed to get back in touch with the character in order to get back into the series.
The first installment of "Dallas" ran from 1978 to 1991 and was famous for cliffhangers, namely the "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline. Gray is one of three returning cast members, along Larry Hagman, who plays Sue Ellen's ex-husband J.R. Ewing, and Patrick Duffy, who plays his brother Bobby.
Gray, 71, said this time around her character has a lot more power and has conquered some of her demons from the past.
"I loved Sue Ellen. I love that character and all the dysfunction and the ups and downs," Gray told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent interview. "But 20 years has changed her."
Gray said when she was approached to do the character again, she needed to reconnect with her, saying, "I needed to talk to Sue Ellen. I needed a heart to heart. Little girl lunch. Had to sit down with her, took a long, long walks with her and had some ideas of where she would be."
"She's now very powerful," she said of Sue Ellen's new position in the family and in Texas business. "She may reflect on those and learned from them. I think she's learned quite a lot."
Other female "Dallas" newcomers include actresses Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and "Desperate Housewives" alum Brenda Strong. Gray's new on-screen son, John Ross, played by real-life 30-year-old Dallas native Josh Henderson, also stripped down for the show.
"The interesting thing for the older ones is that its seamless, it doesn't feel as if 20 years has passed and then we met the new cast and the new cast wove together with the older cast as if it were a big family," Gray said about her new cast members.
As for her new shirtless co-stars, which also includes "Desperate Housewives" actor Jesse Metcalfe as Christopher Ewing, Gray said, "I never have scenes with any of them. I never want to see Larry [Hagman] without his shirt on. God bless him, I love him, but you know, they don't put me in scenes with Jesse [Metcalf] and Josh [Henderson]."
The actress also described her first time working back with Hagman, who played her love interest in the series. "When Larry and I had our scene together it was as if I'd work with him last month," Gray said. "It was just so flawless and so effortless."
Brewster, who is likely best known for her work in the "Fast and Furious" film series, stars on the series as Elena Ramos, the daughter of a chef who worked at South Fork. Elena grew up with John Ross and Christopher. She was engaged to Christopher but the engagement ended and she is now involved with John Ross.
"She grew up on South Fork with the Ewings. I think she's learned a lot by observing them but I think she's learned not to make the same mistakes," Brewster said. "She's got raw core and very strong values and she's also very, very ambitious."
"She's also deeply in love with both Christopher and John Ross," Brewster added. "So she's also really conflicted, which was really fun to play."
Both actresses say that the new "Dallas" series is slicker and more fast-paced than its predecessor.
"You better go to the bathroom, get your snack and sit down because it moves fast.'Dallas' used to take its time. It would move in on a close up and sort of hover there for a long time. This is like man, you better pay attention, Gray said. "Don't have your cell phone on, don't do any of that stuff because you'd miss a lot of things."
"Dallas" premieres on June 13 at 9 p.m. on TNT.
Additional reporting by Chi-Lan Lieu, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).