Larry Hagman on Cancer Battle: 'I'm Going to Work Through the Whole Thing'
"Extra" host Maria Menounos went on an exclusive set tour of the new "Dallas" TV reboot where she sat down with its star, Larry Hagman, to talk about reprising his role as baddie J.R. Ewing, and about his battle against prostate cancer.
"I feel good," said the 80-year-old star. "I haven't started my therapy yet, but it's treatable and curable. I'm going to try to work through the whole thing and keep working during the therapy."
Hagman said he has become a vegetarian, too. "I've lost about six pounds already in about eight days."
The TV star is excited to play the patriarch of a new brood of Ewings. "For one thing, I'm working at 80, which is good," Hagman laughed.
Will J.R. still be cunning and evil? "I'd like to think I would be, yes. Everyone in the world, whether they're Chinese or English or Turkish or African, they all have a jerk like J.R. in their family somewhere. That's the way it works."
Hagman is also joined by original cast members Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, and Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing. Duffy said returning to the "Dallas" set was like "living your life in the rear-view mirror."
Duffy said that being with his old friends has been wonderful. "From the first table reading of Dallas in 1978, we all walked into the room for the first time and became the best of friends."
As for the new, younger cast, actor Josh Henderson will play John Ross, son of J.R. and Sue Ellen, and Jesse Metcalfe will portray Bobby's adopted son Christopher.
"We're kind of carrying the torch, the younger generation," said Metcalfe. Henderson added, "It's drama. It's sexy. It's passionate."
10 Facts about 'Dallas' -- Old and New
1. The 'Who Shot J.R.?' Proposal
Larry Hagman told "Extra's" Maria Menounos, "Three different newspapers were going to pay me $250K if I would reveal who shot J.R. I thought, 'That's pretty good money.' But I was renegotiating a contract at the time and I thought it wouldn't kind of screw that up if I did something that J.R. would have done! So I didn't do it."
2. Southfork Ranch Origin
The house used as the "Southfork Ranch" house was an actual Texas residence, owned by Joe R. Duncan, or J.R. Duncan. When the show became popular, tourists from all over the world visited the house day and night. The Duncan family was forced to sell the house and it is now a museum devoted to the show.
3. No Sue Ellen?
Originally, Linda Gray's Sue Ellen really didn't have a part, so it was up to her and Larry Hagman to improvise their scenes in the background. Fortunately, the show's creator, Leonard Katzman, and others saw their work in the dailies of the episodes — and Sue Ellen's character was fleshed out.
4. Larry Hagman, The Mainstay
Hagman as John Ross 'J.R.' Ewing, Jr. is the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes of the series.
5. The Infamous Bobby Shower Scene
When Victoria Principal as Pamela Ewing opens the shower door after "dreaming" her husband Bobby had been killed, it was actor John Beck who was in the shower. The shock to Pam was supposed to be that Bobby had been killed. The shot of Patrick Duffy was inserted later.
6. Pam Ewing Backs Out
Principal refused to appear in the show's final episode because there was a good chance the show would return the next season. She said she would only appear if she was 100 percent sure that the show wouldn't return.
7. Familiar Faces on New 'Dallas'
Along with Hagman and Gray, Charlene Tilton will also return to the new "Dallas" reboot on TNT as Lucy Ewing, and Steve Kanaly will return as Ray Krebbs. Kanaly was initially cast as Bobby before being given the role of Bobby's illegitimate half-brother, Ray.
8. The 'Housewives' Connection
New "Dallas" cast members Jesse Metcalfe (as Bobby's adopted son Christopher), Brenda Strong (as Bobby's wife, Anne Ewing) and Josh Henderson (J.R. and Sue Ellen's son John Ross) also all starred in "Desperate Housewives."
9. The New 'Dallas' Women
"Fast & Furious" star Jordana Brewster stars as Elena, who is involved in a love triangle with Christopher and John Ross. "Veronica Mars" actress Julie Gonzalo stars as Christopher's fiancée Rebecca.
10. And What about J.R. on the New 'Dallas'?
"At the end of the series, in the '80s, I lost all my money," explained Hagman. "My wife got it, my brother got it. So at the beginning of this new show, I'm penniless!"Watch for "Dallas" to return to TNT next summer!