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Jared Martin Dallas interview

Jared Martin joined us at Ultimate Dallas to answer your questions

Ultimate Dallas - Hi Jared. Thanks so much for talking to us. We have questions from the fans of Dallas and of course we will talk about the charity event that is coming up. I hope we stay connected, we are trying out our new Skype phone.

Jared - Ok fire away and I will tell you what I can from my beginning to disappear memory bank.

UD - So lets kick off with the event that's coming up. Could you tell us about that?

Jared - Well Jeanne Jackson called me up and asked me to come down to this event. I said I have nothing against these events but I just don't do them, I'm in a different kind of walk of life and bless her, she kept on hammering away.

I run a non profit organization that helps inner city kids learn how to make films and she said 'bring em down', at which point it sounds like a pretty good idea to me. From my stand point I'm going to be bring three teenage students, one of our teachers from the organization that I run called the Big Picture Alliance and my wife, if she'll put up with me.

While I'm trotting out my Dallas wares and try and make the people who spend a lot of money happy, the students will be filming a documentary which we will make into a film and hopefully raise even more money for the J. Timothy Hogan Foundation and maybe a little for the Big Picture Alliance.

UD - How did that move come about, from acting to the director of the Big Picture Alliance?

Jared - A life change, possibly a mid life crisis, who knows. I was in Hollywood for almost 25 years, I had a wonderful career. I can't ever imagine having those experiences again with those people, it was a magical time but began to wear down.

Possibly due to age, possibly due to the fact it was getting repetitive after a while. You pass certain high points, like Dallas was a high point, living in Europe and doing foreign films was a high point. I wanted to do something different and I kind blundered into this chance through a friend of mine I run into in Philadelphia. So we got together and ran the Big Picture Alliance.

Based on the very simple idea that kids have a very hard time sitting in the class room and learning anything. I was one of them. When you put them on a film set they pay attention and they learn. They really learn some life lessons as well as producing a pretty amazing product. We have over made over 300 films and getting close to have influencing 2000 kids

Kim in Washington asks  You once compared working on Dallas to getting on a rocket ship. What did you mean and have you finally landed?

Jared - (laughs) I'll take the last first. You land when you get cancelled from the series Kim. They write your character out, they call you up and say good luck. The rocket ship aspect for me was I had some successes before Dallas, I don't know who is still alive that remembers this, but I came on the show in a three episode contract, they brought Dusty Farlow on to make goo goo eyes at Sue Ellen, become moderately involved with her, tempt her and then she basically remembered who she was and went back to JR.

As a matter of fact they killed me off. Then the whole 'who shot JR' thing started, it was England who was actually responsible for this, because in England everybody was convinced that this cowboy who had been incinerated in a private plane crash was the person who had somehow managed to shoot JR.

My agent said get ready, they are going to bring you back and I said 'how? I'm dead' and the agent says "oh this is Hollywood, they will think of something'.

Indeed they did, I came back and the character was wildly successful. I'm still gonna get to the rocket ship part. He was a handsome guy, who was impotent and in a wheelchair and was being nursed back to health by an extremely beautiful woman. That was something America kind of wanted to see at the time, don't ask me why but they did. So I came from being very much of an episodic television actor to being part of the most successful and fabulous series ever to have known to human kind. That's where the rocket ship was. It took a lot to remember that this was actually happening because it just seemed make believe at the time but it really changed my life, it changed my situation, it changed my visibility. I became known as Dusty Farlow, I am still known as Dusty Farlow. That was the rocket ship.

Good question Kim.

Jake in Washington asks What memories do you have of your screen test for Dallas?

Jared - Jake I didn't have a screen test. Lenny Katzman was Dallas, he was the producer, he knew me. He called me in for that three episode part. Lenny and Bruce Lansbury, the brother of Angela Lansbury, produced a very short lived series called Fantastic Journey - we walked through time zones and our time zones ran out after the ninth episode. I became the star of that, if anyone can be the star of something that lasts for nine episodes, but he remembered me and brought me back to Dallas. I thank him for it.

Kelsy in Israel asks According to other actors on Dallas Leonard Katzman did allow any input from the cast.  Was this your experience on Logans Run and the Fantastic Journey? Was this frustrating as an actor?

Jared - No, it was not my experience on Fantastic Journey. Lenny Katzman was very open to cast input, he didn't totally lay himself out for it but if I had something to say about my character he was always approachable, he was always on the set, he was a real working producer. Now I didn't have that kind of contact with him on Dallas, I wasn't the star of Dallas, JR and all the first year people were. I was basically a role player on Dallas, I didn't even consider talking to Lenny about my character but in Fantastic Journey we had several long talks about developing the character of a man from the future, what costumes he would wear, what kind of weapons he would use, etc etc. He was very open. He was very two way about that.

UD - That's very interesting. I spoke to Patrick Duffy recently who said they didn't have very much input.

Jared - They ran it like the rail road, or to use another metaphor, they ran it like an extremely plush legal firm. Order was very important because over the year they ran Dallas they must have wheeled out three hundred different celebrities. People coming in with their egos and entourages, their dreams and their disappointments when their character was truncated. Lenny was dealing pretty much with that.

He didn't want the regular cast in an uproar every week. He was very well respected which helps when you are laying down the law.

Joey in Ohio asks Dusty was a major suspect in the shooting of JR. What are your memories of that time and who did you think shot him?

Jared - Last first. I didn't. Remember I had left the show, I had been killed, I never thought in a million years I would be coming back on the show.

I was working with Lee Strasberg, the famous acting teacher, I was in his masterclass, and I was working on a project with him. That was a very serious phase of my acting, I was wearing a black turtle neck sweater and all that stuff, and frankly I couldnt care less what was happening on an episodic tv show that I had basically been killed off of. I remember walking into Central Park by the skating rink and People magazine had come out and I had bought a copy because I was in it.

I looked at this and there I was and there was a whole lot of conjecture about my coming back to Dallas and I began to think about the whole thing in an entirely different way, in a commercial way. Then the uproar in England came and the agent called and sure enough in a week or two there came an offer to be on thirteen shows. I was amused when Mary Crosby was revealed, I knew I didn't shoot him, so I was free as a bird.

Bob in USA asks Dallas was on top and I'm curious if the pressure got to you all or if the set was light hearted, fun and supportive?

Jared - The pressure of Dallas being on top never got to me because it was never on me. If anyone it got to Mr Larry Hagman, probably Patrick and all down the line. There was some serious musical chairs going on at Lorimar at the time and there was a lot of pressure to keep Dallas number one. Don't forget there had never been a hit like this before, I think I love Lucy was a hit but that was a situation comedy, this was a major event. There was pressure on the set, a pressure to try and keep your place. I wouldn't say going out to Texas in the boiling hot sun for three years was actually a rollicking experience.

You were expected to show up, know your lines, do your stuff and go away. It didn't take along time, a year maybe two at the most, for Dallas to gel into a national institution and when you are acting in a national institution its a different trip than when you are acting in an independent movie or a sitcom, or something like that. The sound stages were pretty quiet and extremely professional.

Kamberly in Denmark asks, You have said that you have great admiration for Linda Gray. A real affection. You stated that Linda made boring scenes  interesting and fresh. Can you give an example of this?

Jared - Linda is a great lady and was a true friend and there was really nothing romantic between us, there probably could have been but you know, who cares.

I just liked her mind, I liked her curiosity, I liked the things she was interested in. You got to realize especially when you are doing love scenes, if you get stuck with somebody who is boring to you it's agony, it's hell. There you are lying in bed with someone without your shirt on, sometimes without your pants on, this person is next to you and you have nothing to say to each other and yet you are supposed to me making love in front of millions and millions of people and make it real.

With Linda we struck a level, we could joke our way through the scenes, we always had a way of supporting each other, helping each other out. I always did off stage camera for Linda and I always did a better performance for her off stage than I normally did for myself on camera. Because I cared about her and we were a team. I think that's reciprocal, I have not seen Linda in many many years but I share a respect for her and an interest. She really fought hard to keep the spark of curiosity, independence and specialness alive because a tv show like that can pretty much wipe you out. Its a lot of work. When you get out of school so to speak you just can't click your heels up and down and just take off.

Linda Gray for a decade was probably in the top five women in the United States who were instantly recognizable. My hats off to her, I hope she's doing well, I really do.

UD - There were long periods of time when you were out of the show. Did you just click back into it with her when you returned?

Jared - When I went back yeah we clicked into it, the only time significant time was after five years when I came back for one episode, I don't think I even saw Linda at that time. That was the last season.

UD - Yeah that's right, she was out of the show at that time.

Jared - That was totally different. I was not only amazed at how old everyone looked but how old I felt. The pay day was nice but I probably should have passed on it.

UD - Really. Why do you think that?

Jared - It was like revisiting a dream and going back just to make money. It was the drum roll of the finish of Dallas. I felt I should do it for Lenny, I should do it for the character, so I did it but it was certainly not the most memorable part of my Dallas experience.

Milly asks How did your return in season 13 come about? Did you enjoy returning and what was the feeling on set in the shows end days.

Jared - Its hard to say because I came in for an afternoon. I think I had a scene with George Kennedy, that was about it. I didn't really see anybody. I wish I could answer it , it just felt like an anti climax.

Dawn Baxter in UK asks When we first saw you in Dallas you were a cowboy who excelled at rodeo, Did you ever ride in rodeos for real?

UD - laughs

Jared - Was it for real? I can't believe she is asking. Obviously it wasn't (laughs)

You look at the dvd and slow it down I get replaced very quickly by a short muscular guy who knows how to ride a horse. Dawn I grew up in New York, Manhattan, the closest thing I got to a horse was probably a tv screen. It was all acting and I'm very proud of the job I did. A lot of people say I had a good Texas accent, that I had that laid back Texas quality but roping a steer? Forget about it. I got pretty good on horseback after a while but I was much better in a bedroom without my shirt on.

UD - (laughs) So what were you sitting on during those close ups? A mechanical bull?

Jared - No that was a real bull. I sat on a bull, there was a lot of guys around, cos they don't want to kill me, not that they cared about me, they didn't want to destroy the actor. It was dangerous. We had a bit of extra padding on the outside legs because what the bulls like to do in these pens is they like to lean against the pen, because they realize they can snap somebody's leg in two. So its dangerous.

AGACS in Chicago asks You guest starred on many popular television shows in the 80s (Murder She Wrote, Knight Rider, Hotel, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart etc.). Which ones stands out in your memory and why?

Jared - The Love Boat was kind of cool because we actually went on a boat and we sailed through the Panama Canel. I was teamed up with Haley Mills who is a smart cookie, a very nice lady, and Elizabeth Ashley. They were my table companions and we had a great time. I can't remember a thing about the show. The stuff I liked in the late eighties were the movies I shot in Rome and Portugal, the Philippines. That was exciting, I was one of those actors where if I got a job I would say does it involve a plane ticket and if the answer was yes I would take it.

Pauline in Scotland asks What are your memories of Barbara Bel Geddes. You once said in an Interview you felt she left Dallas as she felt like a bird in a gilded cage.

Jared - I don't know if I said that or if she said that or whether it should have been said by somebody. I really liked her, I got on well with her, she was a very intuitive, sensible woman. I think one of the things that nobody really knows is that we went to the same school together

UD - Pauline knows, it was one of her questions (laughs)

Jared - She knows too much. (laughs).

Barbara went to a school in Vermont called Putney, which was kind of a radical school and I followed her there several years later. Barbara had tore up the drama department and I had tore up the drama department when I was there. She had a reputation for being kind of a rebel and by the time she got to Dallas she was the grand dame, the Helen Mirren of Dallas. I usually remember people not from the wonderful scenes you had with them but the moments in between the scenes when you're actually stuck with someone for forty five minutes and you either fall into very interesting conversations which pass the time rather quickly. That happened with Barbara.

Pauline also asks Your room mate at College was Brian De Palma and you appeared in his 1st movie, do you still keep in touch with him?

Jared - Very much yeah. You mentioned you were on a Skype phone, Brian and I skyped each other the day before yesterday. It's also his birthday so we might even talk later on. We've remained firm and fast friends.

Pamela asks From reading a great deal about Dallas I get the impression there was a hierarchy on set. Would you agree with that statement? How did the decision process work? Was it more personal than professional?

Jared - Yes there was a hierarchy, there kind of had to be. When it was informed not so much by the personalities of the people, it was informed by these are very important people. You always hoped for a scene with Larry because you would always get it at a very nice time of day. He was being protected, they were all protected, they were extremely valuable.

Characters like me were at the other end of the barn. There was no snobbery and I mean that. Everybody was very equal once we were on the set. It was just that in terms of scheduling, in terms of publicity, in terms of input into the scenes, sure there was a hierarchy. As should be the case in all successful tv shows.

Michala in Manhatten asks Is it true you cam back in season 7 because they threatened to recast the part of Dusty? How did that conversation come about. Also Jared was there a different feeling on the set?

Jared - I said give me more money, they said they would recast, I said ok I'll be there.

UD - At this point in the show Bobby is about to get bumped off, then he is. Was there a different feeling on the set

Jared - I wish the people asking this would in order to understand the answer would have to spend six or seven years on a tv set. It becomes a job, it becomes like being a plumber and getting into the truck every morning and going out fixing toilets. There is that aspect of it. These are professional actors and yet I'm sure, I don't really know personally, that some of them were feeling I'm an actor, I want to do wonderful things, I want to play Hamlet, I want to be in movies, I don't want to be playing the same scenes again and again and again.

There are people with aspirations, with dreams. You pretty much say this is who I am, this is who I'm going to be and I'm going to be extremely well paid but there is probably a sense of loss. Its a difficult thing to talk about because everybody experiences it in different ways. It's a smart question.

Jenny asks Was Dallas a wise career move, a mistake or did you feel type cast?

Jared - I don't look on things as a mistake anymore, I probably did in the eighties and nineties, I might even have said it was a mistake. I became very well know for a type of character. I didn't seem to be up for movies anymore after I was acting on Dallas. I was kind of looked at as a love stud muffin type guy, I am still referred to that today, its ridiculous I'm in my sixties. It may have slowed me down in some aspects on the other hand its very hard to go back and relive your life again. I made a lot of choices I regret and I made a lot of choices I'm very proud of. Such is life.

UD - There seems less of a stigma nowadays, less of an issue moving from TV to movies.

Jared - Some of the people I grew up with, I knew Rob Deniro way back when in the fifties, and some of the guys working with Brian. I kind of wish I had stuck with that crew but I was a very kind of, I feel like I'm talking about another person now, but a classically handsome Hollywood leading man type of thing, with blue eyes, I got stuck in those roles and had to make a living. So there it was and I know other actors would have made different choices 'no I'm not going to go to that show because it will kill me' and there are times I wish I had done that and slept on the beach in Santa Monica than go on a show that would typecast me for the rest of my life. Yeah I've had those moments but you've got to live with the hand you dealt yourself.

Matthew asks During season 8 there is a scene where you punch Sue Ellen out. What are your memories of that scene. I felt it was shocking and out of character.

Jared - It probably was shocking, that never happened in real life, it was all done in makeup. I think that was probably the end of the character, we had gone through everything we could do to each other. Both good and bad, horizontal and vertical, indoors or out. Punching her out was about the end of it all. Like the good actors we were, we looked at it and said ok lets do this mechanically, make it real.

UD - If yourself or Linda had really disagreed with a scene, like that, was there any scope to challenge it or was it, this is it, we have to get on with it?

Jared - That kind of thing wasn't done. I could also see the handwriting on the wall, Linda and I used to talk about that too. We weren't developing the relationship, we were making mad passionate love, look yearningly into each others eyes, she would either go out and get drunk or i'd go off to the rodeo circuit. There was a repetitive quality about this, she never made a move to get rid of JR and I never made a move to kill him. The sands of time ran out after a while.

Holl in Germany asks – What was different working on Dallas with Phil Capice and without Leonard Katzman?

Jared - Yeah it was. I don't know what the background was but my agent called me up and said 'you better get to know Phil Capice', I said 'Who's Phil Capice?' and he said 'Well Leonard Katzman has left for various reasons and Phil Capice is now the boss of Dallas'. I was never very good at this, I remember we were in a bar outside of Dallas shooting something and Phil Capice was there, I went up to him, I tried to make some small talk, we made small talk that gradually got smaller and smaller , then I went off to shoot my scene and about ten months later I found out he had been fired, that was the worse season of Dallas and Lenny had come back. So I guess I was trying to make friends with the wrong guy (laughs)

RAY&DONNA in Kentucky ask What did he think about his second major stint on the show being turned into nothing more than a dream?

Jared - Oh I didn't think about it at all. I wish I could answer that with something she can hang on to. That was just a gimmick to explain something that was impossible to explain

Jackel in Memphis asks I loved you Torch Song Trilogy. What memories do you have of this?

Jared - Excellent memories, I was there for a whole year. I was a stage actor before I came out to Hollywood. If anyone knows that role, that is a grand opera of a play, it is way over four hours long. My character was in, right from the get go, it was a huge part, I was terrified. I thought I'd taken on more than I could handle here. For three weeks I never left my apartment, I just did lines. I hired someone to come in, she was a German actress and for three weeks we did lines lines lines, I would take a sleeping pill because the lines were just blazing in my head at that time. I can't say it was a lot of fun but once the show got going and we settled in it was a lot of fun, it was fun being part of a Broadway atmosphere again. I was always proud of my stage acting.

Elaine asks What was your best time on Dallas?

Jared - The early stuff, when I first met Sue Ellen. When the character first had possibilities, when there was some mystery about him. Later on he got to wear all these fancy clothes, always had a little scarf around his neck, drove these terrific cars. I thought mmmm what kind of rodeo cowboy is this. But in the early part I really got to explore who this guy was.

UD - I'm going to throw some names our of Dallas actors to get your thoughts on working with them:

Howard Keel

Jared - Fun. There wasn't to much difference between him on camera and him off stage. He just brought it right on and gave it to you and you basically matched him. He was an energetic performer, a huge guy, 6' 5ft, he had that whole Howard Keel thing going on. I enjoyed working with him. I was very sorry when he died.

Victoria Principal

Jared - Didn't really know her that well. She was guarded, very professional. I never had a scene with her, we probably shared hair and make-up.

Larry Hagman

Jared - I liked Larry, he was a very funny guy. He really was, he really is, a very very funny guy. I knew him a teeny bit before he became JR, I remember he had a house in West Hollywood, he had taken all the furniture out and made the inside into a huge tent. He had some pretty interesting characters who came by. Once we got stuck in his dressing room waiting to do a scene, he invited me in, we were doing lines, and somebody had opened the wrong gate, this was out at the ranch in Plano, and all the tourists buses came.

They all parked next to Larry's caravan, they all got out, and I'm talking about hundreds of people, they were all talking 'where's JR? I wish I could find JR, I'd kiss him to death' , they were all outside his caravan. There was no help, we were literally trapped.

We sat there and looked at each other, he got on his walkie talkie, it took twenty minutes or so but they herded all the people back onto the bus and drove them away. They never knew how close they were to Larry Hagman.

Ken Kercheval

Jared - A really nice guy. A professional actor, a stage actor. At the beginning quiet, intellectual, always smart. I always liked what he did with that character, I had respect for him. I always liked Ken and I'm looking forward to seeing him at New Year.

UD - So what does the future hold, what next?

Jared - The Big Picture Alliance is my job, I work at it every day. I'm writing books, I'm putting the finishing touches on a novel. I've become a photographer, if anybody wants to see my stuff it's JAREDMARTINART.COM

I've been to China a lot, I make films on my own, my wife is a Chinese classical dancer. Life is full, life is fascinating. I don't go to these things [Dallas charity event] , Jeanne Jackson is very persuasive, a smart, canny, lady. I'm kind of not on that circuit but I'm surprised people still remember who I am.

UD - You have a big fan base. Are you not aware of that?

Jared - No. (laughs) Help me out

UD - Dallas is so huge still. The Ultimate Dallas web site is just so busy, the fans forum, its massive.

Jared - I'm going to go and see it now.

UD - Its the official Dallas web site. Check out the message boards.

Jared - Cool. I have something to do tonight.

UD - Well I hope to see you at the event.

Jared - Come on down. I'll put you in the movie.

Many thanks to Jared Martin for taking time out to talk to us and thanks to all the fans who sent in questions.



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