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Brenda Strong Talks 'Desperate Housewives' Ending & 'Dallas' Getting a New Beginning

by Michael Maloney, posted Sep 21st 2011 7:25PM
Brenda Strong -- best known to TV viewers as Mary Alice Young, the sage voice of 'Desperate Housewives' occasionally seen in flashbacks -- is doing double duty. She's shooting the last season of 'DH' while also filming her role as Ann Ewing, Bobby's wife in the new 'Dallas' series set to debut on TNT next July.

Dallas Reboot
Strong recently spoke to AOL TV about how she'll manage to do both shows and shared her thoughts about winning over the die-hard "Pam and Bobby" fans.

Read on to get the actress' thoughts on one beloved show ending and another one being revived.

'Desperate' creator Marc Cherry has said he wants to revisit Mary Alice in the last season of 'DH.' What's your availability given that you're also doing the new 'Dallas' series?
'Desperate Housewives' is in first position. Luckily, I have two executive producers who are very smart and generous men and I trust that they'll work it out. They're both going to help me make this work with both shows.

What can you say about Ann Ewing?
She's smart. She's grounded. She's like the new Miss Ellie. She sees a lot but doesn't say anything until she absolutely needs to and then when she does, she has words of wisdom and people listen. She's a tough cookie.

'Dallas' producers cast a smart, savvy and beautiful actress to play Bobby's wife. They so easily could have gotten it wrong by hiring a 24-year-old model who can't act. Do you know what I mean?
Yes. I know exactly what you mean. Here's the thing that I'll tell you about 'Dallas': the script is spectacular. TNT would not have done this if the script were not good. We're going into it with every intention of it having the integrity of the old and the innovation of the new. We're not going in with our tongues in our cheeks, winking it at the audience. We're playing it straight in a way that will allow the audience to feel comfortable, and at the same time it's going to be high stakes. I feel very blessed because Patrick Duffy is one of the most talented and sweetest men on the planet. We really like each other. I think the audience is going to feel that authentic connection. They'll feel like, "Good, they belong together."

Yet, the love of Bobby's life is Pam.
I think the fans are going to be loyal absolutely to Pam and Bobby. They were the Romeo and Juliet of their time. I'm not in any way, shape or form trying to step into her shoes. I respect the role that she had. Victoria Principal did an amazing job. She's beloved by the fans. I certainly hope to win them over. It's my intention that they'll feel comfortable with us as a couple.

You're not entirely new to 'Dallas.' You had a guest spot on the original series as a quick love interest to Cliff Barnes.
Yes, how strange is that? You're in this business long enough and you have a past. I don't think that's going to have any bearing or impact on [my new role]. I was in 'Starship Troopers' and died and came back in 'Starship Troopers 2' as a totally different character. Audiences are very forgiving.

Are you shooting on location in Dallas?
Yes. On location. In Dallas. On Southfork. When I was in the van and we drove up to the ranch I got goosebumps, tears burst into my eyes and I heard the theme song. I wasn't even a huge fan of 'Dallas' at the time, but the show is an enigma. "Who shot J.R.?" shut the country down. People stayed home to find out who the shooter was. People didn't go to the theaters that night. There weren't DVRs back then. It's part of the world fabric. I was in Europe this summer and people asked what I was doing. I said 'Dallas' and people were shocked and happy that it's coming back.

Did they recreate the interiors?
The Dallas film commission has really rallied on our behalf. They put out an APB for 'Dallas' sets. Everyone overwhelmed their database. They got a positive response.

How do you feel about 'DH' wrapping up?
It's bittersweet and very poignant. I'm incredibly grateful. My life has changed dramatically because of the show. I'll always have a debt of gratitude to Marc Cherry for giving me such a beautiful role and providing so many seasons for me. It's sad, but I'm also filled with such gratitude. The last episode will be a tough one. I'm grateful ABC is giving us this chance to enjoy every single day. This will allow us to have the closure.

A voiceover from Mary Alice would be a serendipitous way to end the show ...
[Smiling] One would hope.

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October 24 2011 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How could she come back? Her character got some bad plastic surgery after that gas tanker accident and left Bobby.

Vicky Principle has always said she was never asked to participate in any of the reunion shows.

September 21 2011 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex Calloway

I don't care about Pam, I enjoyed the original show after she left and I plan to enjoy this one-Bobby has had a lot of love interests besides her, and Victoria Principal has never cared about returning to the show or any plot continuation reunion movie or new show since she left it, so who needs her.

September 21 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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