Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interview: Josh Henderson Is Having the Time of His Life

Josh Henderson, photo by Mark Seliger
Last week I spoke with longtime “Dallas” star, the legendary Linda Gray. This week, you’ll learn more about her character’s son, John Ross Ewing, who’s played by native Texan Josh Henderson. And he’s just as charming as his character, without all of those devious and underhanded motives that John Ross has.

Celebrity Extra: Season one of “Dallas” premiered in summer 2012, so I was worried I’d have to wait until this summer for season two. I am so happy that you guys started back up at the end of January. You all must have been excited to be getting back to work so soon.

Josh Henderson: It’s a nice turnaround. Some of those cable shows, you have to wait for a year or more, and people don’t think it’s even on the air anymore, so it’s nice that we got to come back sooner. It’s been a crazy season so far, and we’re only halfway through shooting, and the excitement is definitely there, even worldwide. I see it through social networks — whether it’s the U.K. or now in the Asian markets and Central and Latin America — it’s like everyone all around the world is so excited, so it makes me feel pretty darn good.

CE: What did you think when you first heard they were doing this remake/continuation of “Dallas,” and what made you decide to go after the role of John Ross?

JH: I remember the show because I am from Dallas originally, so I knew of it, but I was young. It was a big deal in my family back in the day. So, when I heard it was coming back and I read the script, and I realized that not only Linda, Larry (Hagman) and Patrick (Duffy) were a part of this — which, if you were going to redo “Dallas,” you had to have them — but then I also read the script and realized that it was perfect. You’ve got the two kids (John Ross and Christopher) who are now grown up, and they’re trying to come into manhood, come into their own, and really impress their fathers and everything else. But they also have completely separate beliefs about where the Ewing family should go — whether it’s green energy or, obviously, sticking with oil. And it’s just the perfect time for the conflict and to pick up with the Ewings 20 years later.

When I heard about the show coming back, I just felt like I was supposed to be a part of it. It was one of those things where I was like, “I feel like this is supposed to be my role.” And I think I took that confidence in with me on my first audition, and it worked. Cynthia Cidre — our head writer and executive producer — said by the second line out of my mouth, she knew that I was John Ross. It was an amazing day for me. And here we are now in season two, and I’m just having the time of my life.

CE: Were you nervous at all, coming onto such a legendary, groundbreaking show?

JH: That was exactly it. It’s essentially the biggest TV show in history, and now I’m a part of it. Realizing that as I was shooting the pilot episode was the biggest moment of clarity I’ve ever had in my life, but also the most real moment. I kept thanking God and thinking, “How did this happen?” I’ve been in the business for 11 years, but this was the most comfortable and the most right I’ve ever felt in anything. So, I’m just so appreciative and just really enjoying it.

Josh, photo by Skip Bolen
CE: Tell me about the atmosphere on the set. What’s it like to work on “Dallas”?

JH: We go to work every day, and everyone knows everyone’s name, and it is completely like a family. When Larry (Hagman) passed, it was a big blow — not just to Linda (Gray) or Patrick (Duffy) or to me or to the rest of the cast, but to everyone. Everyone goes to work on this show and just enjoys being together. I can’t think of one person out of our entire crew who sticks to himself. We really are family. I’ve been on a lot of sets and a lot of different shows and films, and it’s always different, but this just makes sense, and it feels right. I don’t think that happens too often. I also think that translates into a better show, because we trust each other as a cast, and we can take all of the walls down, and just really get deep into our characters.

CE: There are a lot of expectations for John Ross, being J.R. Ewing’s son. How will he handle that this season?

JH: Yeah, I knew there was going to be a lot of expectation on who is this, who’s going to be J.R.’s son, and what are they going to be like. He’s a very complex person; he’s got a lot of issues, and he grew up with not the best relationship with his parents. He has a lot of chips on his shoulders, and now, obviously, with what he’s gone through of trying to prove his worth, prove that he can make his father proud and be like his father in business and blackmail, and do all those things that J.R. was so good at. He’s going through so much emotionally in season two that we’re going to see many more colors to him. As an actor, this is just an amazing opportunity.

CE: John Ross definitely ended season one with a bang! What can we expect from him this season?

JH: He was on fire, wasn’t he? Season two picked up a month later, and he had cooled off a little bit. He knows that if he actually wants to achieve what he wants, then he’s going to have to fly under the radar. He has to keep his emotions and anger and everything else buried. But, he’s definitely on a mission, and he definitely wants to take down Christopher and Elena. And he also wants to take over Ewing Energies, which is a main goal of his. But he knows he’s going to have to be a little smarter about it and not just come in guns a’blazing.

CE: And he and his new ally/lover, Pamela Barnes, are certainly going to be a force to be reckoned with.

JH: The fun thing about that is the audience now knows that Pamela is Cliff’s daughter. And for them to work together … they are two people who know they are never supposed to be together. Their fathers are enemies, but they don’t care. They’re both after something, and they will try to help each other. It’s such a fun thing on and off camera. Julie (Gonzalo) and I get along so well. We have a ton of fun together. I really think it plays on screen, and it’s going to be a fun thing for people to watch throughout season two.

CE: Can you give me any clues about the rest of season two?

JH: Right now we’re only about halfway through shooting this season, so I don’t know what the second half brings. None of us do. With Larry passing, they’ve had to rewrite the second half of season two completely. I can tell you that season two is like season one on steroids. It’s everything that people re-fell in love with “Dallas” for. I really do think it’s going to take people, not only entertainment-wise, but on an emotional journey, because there are all kinds of things happening. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

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