Dallas Season 2 kicks off tonight with more drama-filled struggles over love and power.
And, as Josh Henderson told TV Fanatic last week, viewers will see a John Ross Ewing III who is "going to be on a complete dark emotional roller coaster" over the next several weeks.
From losing Elena to cousin Christopher... to constantly trying to prove himself to his father... to how the show will handle the death of JR, Henderson filled us in on who John Ross will surprisingly align himself with, while also reacting to the sad death of Larry Hagman...
TV Fanatic: Let’s talk about Larry first. What it was like to get back on the set after he had passed. How was the set and the mood and you guys all being together again?
Josh Henderson: Our whole cast, crew, everyone on an everyday basis, we’re very much like a family, more so than I have ever experienced on a set. Everyone knows everybody’s name, it’s a good morning to every face you see, and we’re very close.
Losing Larry is a big deal, obviously. It’s very real for us. It happened over the Thanksgiving break. We came back and had a day off from productions to tell stories and be there for each other and really reminisce on Larry and that set a tone for what we know is going to be the rest of season two.
Not only is this very important but we’re going to obviously, on a daily basis, remember Larry and JR and he’ll never go away, especially with me. Everything I do, I hear his voice in my head as JR. It’s either ‘don’t screw this up,’ ‘what in the world are you doing?’ or ‘I’m proud of you’ and it’s always in my head. He will dictate my emotions for the rest of the time I’m on the show.
TVF: John Ross opens this new season still licking his wounds from losing Elena. I love when he says in the season opener that ‘love is for pussies.’ That’s such a great line.
JH: Yeah. I think I’m going to hear a lot about that over the social networks, I’m sure.
TVF: With John Ross being in this state, can we expect him to make mistakes along the way?
JH: I think so. I think that he really tries to calculate everything and he’s really good at what he does but at the end of the day he’s not the mastermind that JR always was and that’s something that... he always tries to put on this front. I’m John Ross. I’m a Ewing. I know what I’m doing. Trust me. I’ve got this. I’m doing this.
TVF: Are there challenges coming up with John Ross and his mother, Sue Ellen?
JH: He’s growing and I think that at the end of the day she’s still his mother and he still cares for her, loves her and she obviously is going to go through some things. He also knows that at the end of the day she is a powerful woman. He can use that to his advantage, which he tries to do with it.
TVF: It kind of makes sense that John Ross would align with Rebecca, who we find out is a Barnes, doesn’t it?
JH: That’s true. That’s an interesting dynamic [and] there’s a danger of it too. When John Ross finds out who she is, it’s exciting to him. This is like ‘Wait a minute. No one will see us working together and this is something I can really utilize and I can utilize her because of the emotions she’s gone through, to my advantage.’ It definitely throws a huge side plot line into his plan, which is to him exciting and it’s kind of a Romeo and Juliet type of vibe because their fathers hate each other and they’ve been life long enemies.
TVF: How much do you think you’ve gotten to know John Ross better in year two?
JH: I feel like I know exactly how he would respond to everything that’s in his way. I know how he would say things. I really understand him and I have grown with him. I’m on my fourth version of John Ross right now. At the beginning he was very much, ‘I need to prove myself. I need to prove my worth. I want to make my father proud. I love Elena. I’m doing these things and I’m a little torn because I care for Elena and I don’t want to lose her.’ When Elena’s mother gives him the [engagement] ring back, everything is just BOOM! That John Ross is dead. Now he’s on a mission and he tells his father, ‘If you screw me over I will put you back in that home where you belong.’ Every one was his enemy.
Now cut to season two, it’s been about a month’s time he has chilled off. Now this is the third version of John Ross. He’s trying to keep his cool because he knows that if he flies under the radar and he can hit people unexpectedly, that’ll be better for him than just going in guns blazing. Obviously when JR passes it’s a brand new John Ross all over again. You’re going to see him change and to continue to change and evolve, which is great as an actor, it’s just sad that these circumstances are what they are.
TVF: When we talked in the beginning of the series, you were hoping people would like John Ross even though he doesn’t always do good things. How has that been for you?
JH: This show has changed my life. Usually to have a TV show make an impact worldwide, you’ve got to wait a few years to see if it’s a success. Because the original Dallas was what it was and so beloved world wide, this show instantly has become a worldwide hit again. To see the responses from people all over the world and the passion that the original fans still have for this new one and the new fans that have now fallen in love with Dallas, it’s just an unbelievable stage for me. I feel very fortunate and I’m having a blast.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.