Dallas Q&A: Jesse Metcalfe Talks Christopher Ewing’s ‘Rekindled Romance,’ Larry Hagman’s Send-Off

“Dallas” is back tonight with the Season 2 premiere on TNT and as things kick off, viewers will find formerly star crossed lovers Christopher Ewing and Elena Ramos finally enjoying their happily ever after.

But, don’t expect it to be a smooth ride for the pair. Rebecca Sutter (or as fans found out at the end of Season 1 – her real identity is that of Pamela Barnes, Cliff Barnes’ little girl) is pregnant with Christopher’s twins, heartbroken, scorned and a ready to cause trouble.

Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Bobby Ewing’s smart, ambitious and super-easy-on-the-eyes son – Christopher — hinted it will be a season of great challenges for his character. Speaking to AccessHollywood.com from Dallas, Texas, where the cast is finishing Season 2, the actor hinted at the problems ahead with Rebecca, and with Christopher’s deal making double crossing cousin, John Ross (Josh Henderson).

AccessHollywood.com: It looks like Christopher and Elena are ‘sitting’ in a tree’ and quite happy, as the season begins.

Jesse Metcalfe: They’re definitely in the honeymoon phase of their rekindled romance.

Access: It’s so sweet!

Jesse: It’s been a lot of fun being in that place. We got to christen the ‘Dallas’ pool for the first time in the new series, and that was a lot of fun. It’s a really great scene and people are really going to enjoy [it]… And throughout the first half of the episode, they’re very strong. I think if any differences arise, it comes out of their business decisions. And they seem to be professional differences — it kind of starts to form some cracks in their foundation.

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Access: Oh no. Trouble for Christopher and Elena.

Jesse: Not to mention the fact that [my character is] in the middle of a bitter custody battle over [his] unborn twins, which is a constant reminder to Elena and something that’s a bit of a challenge for the couple to deal with.

Access: Let’s talk about that Rebecca/Pamela bombshell from the Season 1 finale – Christopher’s soon-to-be ex-wife is a Barnes! What are the repercussions of this as we begin Season 2?

Jesse: Christopher’s battling the bombshell. I think he goes toe-to-toe with her. I don’t think he has any problem with that, but it ends up being that she kind of – without giving away too much – takes the seat at the head of the table at her father’s company and so she has a lot of money and a lot of power behind her and she starts to wield that money and power in very dark ways.

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Access: Christopher’s a guy who does the right thing, but he often gets screwed over by people who do the wrong thing. Will we see him step up and compete with the likes of John Ross who is even more of a schemer this season?

Jesse: He definitely steps up in Season 2. There’s a major transition from Season 1 to Season 2. Season 1 was about just sort of finding his place in the Ewing family hierarchy after [an] absence [of a few years], and coming to terms with some of his issues and dealing with some of that unresolved baggage. Season 2 starts off in a place where he’s a lot more self-assured, a lot more confident. He’s got the girl, he’s at the head of Ewing Energies and he’s really focusing on business and really acquiring this huge fuel contract with the Dallas Committee of Transportation. He develops this methane-powered gas car and it’s exciting stuff. So again, he’s more self-assured and he’s not as reactionary to John Ross’ scheming and his little jabs and stuff like that. But his ethics definitely do come into question mid-season. And he does dance on the dark side a little bit.

Access: There’s a racing storyline this season Christopher is involved with – what can we look forward to with that?

Jesse: It’s a fun storyline. It brings in a lot of energy and a lot of physicality for me and there’s certainly a lot of production value there. A lot of time and money was spent. We got real racecar drivers, real pit crews, and we shot it down at Texas Motor Speedway and the finished product is pretty exhilarating.

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Access: It feels like there has been a shift in the writing this season to really put the focus on the Ewing young blood this season. Did you feel that when you saw the scripts?

Jesse: You definitely see that where John Ross and Christopher [are] maybe just a bit more prevalent in every episode. I think if anything the writing’s really kind of brought a lot of characters together in a lot of scenes, so a lot of different characters have been interacting that you wouldn’t have anticipated.

Access: Larry Hagman is in the first couple of episodes. What was he like on set those last couple of weeks [before his passing]? His scenes are hilarious.

Jesse: Yeah he’s in the first five episodes and… he was classic Larry, he was vintage Larry all the way. The great thing about Larry is he was a consummate professional, he always hit those one-liners out of the park, but he never really took himself or the process of making a television show too seriously. He really brought a lot of levity to our set and he really was and will continue to be the heart and soul of the show.

Access: Josh was saying Larry would make ‘moo’ sounds occasionally.

Jesse: He would make all kinds of noises. If the camera wasn’t on him (laughs) he wasn’t really too concerned with what was going on around him. And that was the great thing about him… What he did — he made it look completely effortless. I have a lot of memories of acting and trying to emote on set, and having Hagman over my right shoulder, like making raspberry noises… that’s just the kind of guy he was. He loved to bust balls.

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Access: Tell me about the send-off for him.

Jesse: It’s epic. It’s epic, but the great thing about it, is it’s not just one episode. Episode 8 [is where] we start to unravel the mystery of his [character’s] death. We have the memorial where a lot of past characters show up and a ton of drama ensues, but the character’s death really sets in motion some really, really intriguing story lines that you know are going to last throughout the season. The name of that episode is ‘J.R.’s Masterpiece’ and he really did have a masterpiece, sort of this master plan that he was attempting to set in motion before [the character’s] death.

Access: The ‘mystery’ of his death? Is it like another ‘Who shot J.R.?’ thing?

Jesse: It’s far beyond that. It’s far beyond that. It’s much more complicated.

“Dallas” kicks off its two-hour Season 2 premiere, tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on TNT.

-- Jolie Lash

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