Welcome to 'Star Chat' where you put
forward questions to this months very special guest 'David Jacobs'.
Find out David's answers to your questions
about the new Dallas movie, the original Dallas series and of
course Knots Landing
Interviewer - Welcome to David Jacobs,
we have had hundreds of questions come in to Ultimate Dallas
and KnotsLanding.net so we will kick off with a question about
the Dallas movie.
Jamie Sue from New Zealand asks - "How
did the idea for the new Dallas movie come about? What was the
David - There wasn't really any inspiration,
the idea for a Dallas movie came about because there was a 'Fugitive'
movie, a 'Charlie's Angels' movie and we started speculating
about it and then we realized I still had the theatrical rights.
We started visualizing it.
Caroline from England asks "Is the
Pam/Bobby love story going to be a big part of the movie?"
David - Absolutely
Caroline also asks "Will we get
to see Pam and Bobby meet, which we didn't in "Digger's
Daughter" and fall in love?"
David - that's a very interesting story and a good question.
I don't know yet and part of the reason is that Im not going
to write this myself and we are talking to candidates to write
it. The reason I'm not going to write it is that I have already
written it and putting it in a 21st Century setting with a new
story, a new cast, requires somebody a little bit younger than
I am. As we have envisioned it so far we have imagined having
the pilot episode of Dallas when Pam first marries Bobby as
being a little prologue. I don't think we can have when they
first met because the real Dallas fan knows, if they saw Dallas
the early years, Pam and Bobby met when they were four years
Dan James from: Essex, England asks "To
all us Dallas fans the talk of this movie is all very exciting,
in fact I think its overwhelming, to think that the show you
created and the show we and I all love so much, is going to
be on the big screen is really huge. But what are you expecting
from this movie? in terms of personal feelings, are you hoping
this movie will be the one and only ultimate tribute to Dallas?"
David - I don't know if I would use the
word tribute but I hope its a redefinition of Dallas, its a
rebirth of Dallas. I like to think that Dallas would have another
life for another generation and for another century and mean
as much to people as it did in its old incarnation but now it
seems there is no point doing it in the same scale you may as
well do it on the big screen.
Richard Beijers from Netherlands asks
"Hello Mr. Jacobs my question is: Is the music in the New
Dallas Movie also from Jerrold Immel theme?"
David - Yes I don't see how we can do
this movie without it.
Sascha from Germany asks In which time
period the movie will play. In the eighties or in 2002?
David - It will be absolutely current.
William from New Orleans asks "Will
it be a parody like the Brady Bunch movies? thanks"
David - Absolutely not. It has to have all the fun of Dallas,
all the mordacity of Dallas but it has to take itself seriously.
David Nisbet from Scotland asks If the
Dallas movie is a success, could there be a Knots Landing one
David - I would love to do a Knots Landing movie but I would
tend to think not, because Knots Landing never had the world
wide popularity of Dallas.
Interviewer - Why do you think that was?
David - Because Dallas was bigger than
life. Knots Landing was a very middle class program and Dallas
was about 'them' and Knots Landing was about 'us' and 'them'
is always a more interesting subject for people.
David Nisbet also asks "What actors
would you like to see in the Dallas movie?"
David - Lots of actors would be great, I can't say. Every popular
actor in their 30's and 40's has been mentioned and I have seen
the virtue in all of them. There are so many good actors around
from a wide range from Kevin Costner , George Cloony would be
great, there are a lot of actors who would love to sink his
teeth into the role of JR.
Interviewer - Some reports have suggested
John Travolta has been cast in the role.
David - No but he would be cool
Pamela in London asks - I always loved
how the Dallas mini series was ground breaking and was grounded
in real characters? Will the movie once again be doing that
but set nowadays with characters and issues that inflict this
David - Yes (laughs) I have my ideas
but I'm not going to get the kind of quality writer I want if
I make these pronouncements and ask the writer to come in and
give a fresh take on it. We are talking about major writers
so I have to hold myself back. For example I would like to see
some of the scandals we have had in the United States, some
of the Corporate scandals, Enron and Global Crossing infecting
the Ewing family. But the writer may have another idea.
Jim2002 from Washington asks "Will
Oil be featured still?"
David - I don't see how it can't. Oil
is a bigger issue now than when Dallas came on. We wouldn't
want to move away from Oil.
Cliff Barnes from New York asks "When
do you see this movie being released? "
David - I think I would love to see it
done in 2003 and released July 4th 2004. But as we are going
after major actors a lot of this depends on their availability.
Jill Peterson from Tennessee asks "Which
characters will be featured?
David - All the same characters you saw
before, all the initial characters. So it's JR, Bobby, Jock
and Ellie, Pamela, Sue Ellen, Lucy, Ray and Cliff Barnes. I
think I included everybody.
Jordan tate from France asks "Dear
Mr Jacobs , For you is it more difficult to be a scriptwriter
for the television or for the cinema ? And what advice would
you give to a young beginner scriptwriter ?"
David - My advice may not be the advice
that everybody would give because it reflects my own experience.
Mine would be not to start in screen writing but start writing
short stories, working in journalism. Something which forces
you to develop your story telling skills in a very controlled
way. I think its good for young writers to have that imposed
from outside, I didn't start to write for any drama until I
was 37 years old.
Luis Guadalupe from Peru asks "Will
any of the original actors of the show take part in this movie?"
David - Sure, if they will do it I would
love to see them. Not too many. I would love to see Larry Hagman.
Wendell2002 from Saint-Petersburg asks
Will Larry Hagman make cameo appearance, and as who?
David - We will have to wait for the
script but I would love to see Larry Hagman as like the Governor
or Senator of Texas who makes an important appearance.
Michael from Tennessee asks "Will
you be filming at Southfork? "
David - I don't know if it will be the
same Southfork, its been turned into a tourist site.
Joseph asks "Will the interior of
Southfork be the same as the show?"
David - I would think the new interior
would be decorated differently. That's the thing to think about,
2003 where would they live? Would they still have that house?
Frankie from Maryland asks "Mr.
Jacobs, With all of the buzz the new movie is receiving, what
are your thoughts on the negative opinions of some fans who
say that the original cast should be the ones who should star
in the new Dallas movie?"
David - I don't know how we would do
that. The original cast are too old to play those same parts
now. Victoria, Linda and Charlene are all still beautiful but
Charlene is never going to play a seventeen year old again.
She has a daughter older than seventeen (laughs)
Robin from The Netherlands asks "Do
you think the new Dallas Movie will create a new interest in
David - To be very honest I am always
shocked at how much interest still persists in Dallas. I have
been interviewed by BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4 about four times just
in the last two and half years. I don't know if there will be
a new interest in the original series but in the scenes that
Milly from NYC asks "Won't it be
difficult casting JR as Larry Hagman made the role his own?"
David - They redid the Fugitive and that
role belonged to David Janson and they redid Mission Impossible
with a new actor. If I were an actor I would think it would
be a lot of fun, I would definitely want to do it but differently
, I wouldn't try to be the same guy.
Jola from Japan asks "How do you
see JR of the 21st Century? What kind of guy will he be?"
David - Not so obvious in his bigness,
he would try to appear more a egalitarian, a little bit more
Jude from Texas asks "Do you think
the movie will reflect different cultures as Dallas was very
David - Yes I hope so
Interviewer - One name that comes up
to play Pam is Halle Berry.
David - Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez.
What I like about it is that you can cast color blind. If you
cast Pam as say with a Mexican background then so does Cliff
have to have a Mexican background but to me that's great.
Pauline from: Glasgow, Scotland asks
"Did you prefer Dallas or Knots Landing?
David - I didn't run Dallas, I ran Knots
Landing. It was my full time job for 14 years, I was more like
daddy. Where as Dallas, it was my first and I was actually working
as a story editor on another show called 'Family' when Dallas
started and so I was a little removed from it. Today I would
say my affection for them both is equal but different but my
connection with Knots Landing is much tighter.
Rotem from Israel asks I heard once that
Dallas was based on a true family that live in Texas did you
take one of their stories and turn it into a show?
David - No it wasn't based on a true
family, my first idea was Knots Landing and when I took it to
CBS there were no shows of that kind on television and the response
from CBS was that they wanted to get into a continuing drama
and they said they wanted to start out with something a little
richer, more of a saga. The first thing I thought of was Romeo
and Juliet and the word saga suggested Texas.
Rotem also asks In 1985 when Bobby "Died"
he also died in Knots Landing , we find out it was just a dream
I did not see any changes in Knots Landing . Why?
David -We never mentioned that again,
once he came back we never mentioned it again. I thought that
was a terrible decision, I always hated it. I always thought
that was unfortunate, I have killed off characters before and
brought them back, I did that with Lisa Hartman, but I didn't
like how it was done on Dallas because people were very emotional
when Bobby died and in a way when you say 'never mind it was
all a dream' you are playing with their emotions in a negative
way, I think they get angry.
Lukas from Canada asks "Hi David,
first of all your writing of some of the early DALLAS scripts
was amazing. My question is, was it hard to see some of the
characters, themes, original idea's ect of the DALLAS you created
get changed and sometimes ruined as the series run went on.
It seems at some point in the show, the producers lost your
original idea's and drifted off to the Bobby and JR's men's
show, leaving strong women like Ellie, Sue Ellen, Pam and Lucy
to drift. This did not happen on Knots Landing, just wondering
David - I absolutely agree with the comment.
One of the things I am determined to achieve on this movie is
that the women characters should take stronger , more aggressive
roles. The character I want to see updated the most is Miss
Ellie. I think she should be a very strong figure in Texas,
a person of political power and maybe has some popularity from
a TV show but to get her to be very powerful so whatever the
story is that threatens the family she is the one who is the
strongest in resolving it.
Toni Díaz from Barcelona, Spain
asks "I´m a great fan of yours for your work as a
writer, and I´d like to know if you have any favorite
character of your own. Mine are Pamela Ewing and Karen Fairgate"
David - My favorite character in Dallas
when I was writing it was Pam but the way it evolved it had
to be JR. On Knots Landing the character of Karen is the person
who expressed my personal feelings on issues, she was the one
most like me, Sid was also in some ways but through the years
I think Karen was the one I most identified with. However we
had some guest roles such as Chip and Ciji, I loved those characters
because they really stirred the pot.
Sarah B from Belfast, Northern Ireland
asks "Hi David - First of all I'd like to say a big thank
you for creating the most wonderful show on the planet. I've
been a fan for 24 years, and I'm only 26 now! My favorite character
is Sue Ellen, I just wanted to know, where did you get the idea
of Sue Ellen from, and what are your personal feelings towards
her? Many thanks"
David - Remember the story started with
Bobby bringing home Pamela who he married which was a threat
to JR, a threat in business because he had run the company the
way he wanted and a threat to him personally because he and
his wife had no child, so there was the possibility Bobby and
Pam would have a child first which would become an heir, so
I wanted to create the character that would become most affected
by that and I liked the idea of JR having a 'trophy' wife, a
former Miss Texas, someone who played the role all the time.
I thought there's a great character who can fall apart before
Ray2002 from New Jersey asks "Why
were you not involved in Dallas following the mini series? I
read you planned to kill off Bobby? How would he die? What did
you plan to happen?"
David - When the mini series was filmed
I was still working for another show, I had also written another
pilot called 'Married' and I went on to produce that and then
Knots Landing. I have seen the thing about killing Bobby off,
it was never a suggestion, never a possibility, the difference
was that Bobby, as I originally conceived him was much more
a kid, much more a playboy, not a serious young man and part
of Pamela's effort was to get him to get his act together. But
CBS and the actor really wanted Bobby to be heroic right from
Interviewer - Out of interest where did
the Ewing name come from?
David - You know I don't know, I absolutely
don't remember, I don't know why it just struck me as a Texas
name. I found out there is automobile dealer in Texas and maybe
I had seen that at some time passing through called 'Ewing Buicks'
and maybe it just stuck with me.
Christine from Germany asks "I've
been a member of Ultimate Dallas for 2 years and during these
years I've been spending 95% of my online time on the Knots
Landing forum discussing my favorite show. And I am knot the
only one! Does it surprise you that Knots Landing still has
such a huge following?"
David - It doesn't surprise me because
the Knots Landing fans were very devoted but there was never
as many of them as there were Dallas fans but they were always
very passionate about it. Knots Landing left more of a subtle
impact on television than Dallas did, here in the States I really
do feel the Knots Landing fan base slipping away.
Interviewer - Its being rerun on SoapNet,
it seems to have regained a following
David - Oh really, I love it then when
I receive the checks (laughs)
Christine also asked "Is there any
chance that Valene and Gary Ewing will be in the Dallas movie?"
David - I doubt it because in a two hour
movie there is only so much service you can do to each of the
characters. So I don't know
Allison from Sanford, FL asks "Did
you have any story lines that you wish that you could have tackled
at the time for Knots"
David - Because it was a hit but not
a huge hit we had more freedom than what you would think. There
was some discussion about the baby story not being in the best
taste and I was kind of uneasy about it too but I can't recall
any story now that I wish we had done. We had 14 years and you
run out of ideas and we were really struggling at the end.
Jackie from CA asks "Knots Landing
was so beloved and on the air for so long, with the nighttime
soap genre in the toilet, how about creating a new Knots style
soap? Maybe even with some of the same characters? I know I
would watch it! Soap fans are hungry for your style of soap!"
David - That's nice to hear. If it does
come back it wouldn't be for me, Iv done it.
Jake from Norway asks "Will there
be another Knots Landing reunion film?"
David - I don't think so, it didn't do
very well the last one, it wasn't very good either.
Adam Markle from Denver CO asks "Why
did you retape Laura's video to Greg for the reunion movie?
It didn't sound like Constance"
David - That's interesting, we must of
had trouble making a deal but I'm not sure of that.
kl4me from Montreal asks "Was Laura
written out in a way to keep her the door open for her possible
David - No, Laura was only written out,
not because she wasn't working, but because the show was beginning
to get older and we were having to get rid of characters every
year because it was getting to expensive. So we got rid of Richard,
Laura, Julie Harris which broke my heart. That's one of the
reasons Mike and I stopped doing the show, it was our decision
not the network, we felt like we were amputating our own limbs.
Interviewer - Didn't Michelle Lee do
some unpaid episodes?
David - The series before the last, they
said we would have to loose some more characters, Mike and I
said no but all we could do was get the actors to agree to do
fewer shows. They all did 16 , 17 instead of 22 but Michelle
wanted to be in every show so she agreed to do those shows for
Val&Gary from Montreal ask "Knots
was pitched to CBS before Dallas was. So were the characters
of Val and Gary introduced on Dallas solely for the spin-off?"
David - Not initially, David Ackroyd
was originally Gary and offered the part but wasn't available.
Now later in episode 16 where Miss Ellie buys the house that
was introduced solely for the spin off.
ChrisSumnerMatheson from San Antonio
Texas asks "Why did Claudia Lonow leave the show? Rumor
is she was unpopular with viewers"
David - Yeah that's part of it, she wasn't
very happy anyway, later she became terrific but its very hard
for kid actors, she was a very good actress but her character
was not popular.
Holly Kinkade from Guthrie, OK asks "You've
probably been asked this before, but how did Knots Landing stay
on the air for 14 years?"
David - I think CBS forgot to cancel
it (laughs). No I think it stayed on as long as it did because
it captured a very steady audience, enough to ensure its renewal,
it had a very good audience in terms of demographic and I think
it stayed fresh. I don't think it stayed fresh for the last
four years maybe but when it wasn't good it wasn't because it
was stale, it was because we were trying something that didn't
work. I think making the show a little harder towards the end,
a little more jeopardy, a little noirish, the darkness of the
stories didn't work.
Interviewer - Towards the end it seemed
to loose the glamour, the money side, such as Karen not being
able to pay Mac's bail.
David - That was another good thing about
Knots Landing, because the people were so middle class it was
able to show what the economy was like. When the country was
getting richer in the 80's we made everybody richer, the resort,
Sumners riches, you could always reflect that.
Ewings from UK asks "Did you feel
prouder of Dallas or Knots Landing"
David - Prouder is a funny word, I think
we did better drama on Knots Landing and I'm very proud the
way we handled certain issues, certain issues of health, certain
issues of friendship, it was very realistic. The worse episodes
of Knots Landing in the early years was when we had to use a
Dallas cast member because it screwed up the scale. But Dallas
its hard not to be proud off, I always felt I just got lucky,
the time was right, I was the right writer, with the right project
at the right time.
David Nisbet from Scotland asks "Were
any of the families on Knots based on real life people that
David - Sort of when we started out,
a couple of people were based on real people I knew. But as
soon as you cast a television series with good actors it begins
to evolve and change, it becomes as much the property of the
actor as it becomes of yours.
Al from Phoenix, Arizona asks "When
creating Knots Landing, how did the name come about? "
David - I couldn't think of anything
to name it and in my head it was based on 'Palos Verdes' which
is a little Peninsular south of Los Angeles which had cul-de-sacs.
But it looked like it could of been called Landing, there are
a lot of places in America which are called 'landing' which
are on bodies of ocean, and then 'Knots' was a little joke,
Kyle from New York asks "How did
you come up with creating the character of Abby? Did she save
the show from cancellation?"
David - No she didn't save the show from
cancellation, we were doing ok. I always planned her, because
it was technically a spin off from Dallas everybody expected
there to be a JR so I wanted to make sure there wasn't a JR.
So when we started the second season I brought in a woman who
drove a Volvo station wagon and had two kids and so she was
to become the villain but she was a great addition to the show.
But Knots Landing did very well the first season so we would
of been picked up anyway. Actually the year we got into most
trouble was the year we lost Don Murry and we did some of the
greatest stories we ever did, but the show became a little depressing
I think and it started to fade a little bit, so if anyone saved
that show, it was Kevin Dobson. But it wasn't really saving
it, I don't think we were really in trouble, it was just we
knew we needed to punch it up. We needed a strong male lead
and Kevin was just terrific.
Interviewer - What was the story behind
Don Murry leaving the show?
David - He had done a movie called 'Endless
Love' and we were able to release him early to do the movie.
I think he just got the bug of wanting to do feature films again,
we all talked about it and we said ok. We thought we needed
something to shake it up, killing him would be interesting but
actually it hurt us because it was the third year. Don Murry
was at a reunion at the 'Broadcasting Museum' and he said he
left because he "wanted to see if there was more to life
than fame and fortune" and he said "yes there was
, obscurity and poverty"
Kyle also asked Why was the Gary Ewing-Pat
William's affair never finalized?
David - People consummate too easily on the show, so lets get
some tension. I tried not to have people sleeping around, its
hard for the characters to recover from that. But we did it
a lot anyway (laughs)
Interviewer - I actually liked how characters
like Karen didn't stray from their marriage
David - I never would of let them, the
nice thing about Gary and the Greg character, was that he could
be good one season and bad the next. But it was out of the question
for Mac and Karen to have affairs, in Val's case it was very
hard to make her tempted as Joan was very defensive of that
Julie_mac from Illinois asks "How
would you describe Knots Landing?"
David - My initial thought was that it
would be scenes of a marriage times four, but it became a dramatic
exploration of the way people related in the post sexual revolution
world and how they kept their marriages together if they could,
what the relationships meant to them. To Abby it was currency,
sex equaled currency, that's how she got money. Some of our
stories were weaker than others but we always tried to keep
the characters realistic and true to their relationships or
what we were trying to say.
Jason from Cardiff asks "What other
TV shows or projects are you involved in?"
David - Iv actually retired, teaching
a little bit, writing a little bit and traveling for the last
couple of years. But the idea of doing a Dallas movie was really
attractive but I don't really have the urge to do another television
The interview then ended but David Jacobs
offered to return to take more questions Live in the Chat room,
so stay tuned.
Special thanks to David Jacobs for taking
questions and many thanks to all the fans of Dallas and Knots
Landing who took the time to submit questions.
If you would like more information on
the Dallas movie then check out http://www.Dallasthemovie.com
or stop by the Live Chat room at http://www.ewingoil.net
Interview conducted by Colin Hunter firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright KnotsLanding.Net 2003