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Exclusive interviews with the cast and production team of the hit tv series Dallas.
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We sit waiting for the phone to ring. It is 1.30am in London and as of yet no sign of Sheree J Wilson. Just to be sure there is no possible excuse to miss the call we are surrounded by three different telephones. The silence and slurps of caffeine is broken with the simultaneous ring tones of Jamaican Rumba and bicycle bells.
Sheree J Wilson - Hi. Its Sheree. That is so weird I kept trying to call but I kept getting an answering service. I left two messages on someone's answering service. (Laughs)
Colin - Somebody is going to get a nice surprise in the morning - "mum it was that lady from Dallas who woke us up last night" (laughs)
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) I'm sorry to keep you waiting but here we are.
Colin - That is no problem. Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions. We have quite a few from fans all over the world.
Sheree J Wilson - Are they re airing the episodes right now?
Colin - They were in the UK up until recently but it is airing on the SoapNet channel in the States. So shall I kick off. You ok?
Sheree J Wilson - Yes, hold on one second I'm going to grab a glass of water and sit down and chat where I won't be disturbing the rest of the family. Ok fire away.
Tania in London asks – Does your family have a history of acting? What got you interested. Thanks
Sheree J Wilson - My mother taught ballroom dancing, she was never an actress. We used to do church plays from the time I was in grade school and I loved theatre and performing. I loved the whole thing. I remember going to see the first movie my parents took me too was Bye Bye Birdie at the drive-in, Ann-Margret was singing and dancing. I was like "oh my gosh", I said to my mom "you know that is what I'm going to do when I grow up, I'm going to just like her" It was just a bug that I had (laughs)
Pavlo in Denmark asks You were in Crimewave in 1985 directed by Sam Rami. Can you tell me your memories of this movie?
Sheree J Wilson - The wildest (laughs) feature film ever. It was actually like a friends school movie because we were all in our twenties, even Sam the director. He was so creative, so different. The entire film was shot at night so we lived like vampires for three months (laughs). There were crazy characters, it was fun, just about as zany as his cartoon comics are.
Colin - It was written by the Cohen brothers right?
Sheree J Wilson - Yes, it was co-written. Joel and Ethan Coen would come over, they would all smoke and drink coffee, run in circles and pace. I would watch their writing styles, it was fascinating (laughs)
Colin - At the time it didn't do very well, but it worked on many levels and now has a cult following.
Sheree J Wilson - It was a little low budget feature film for Embassy films, Ed Pressman was in it, he was the executive producer and Louise Lasser was wild and crazy, she was just like her character in real life (laughs). There was a lot of extreme characters on that film, it was very colorful.
Steven c. cates in Missouri asks What did being on a once powerful ratings blockbuster mean to you as a working actress, and had you been a fan of the show beforehand?
Sheree J Wilson - Dallas was my favorite show and I remember watching it in High School and when I met Leonard Katzman, I actually met him on a different project, it was a television series called 'Our Family Honor' when he left Dallas for a year. That show only lasted thirteen episodes and when he decided to go back to Dallas, because they were ruining it with all the changes they were making. He decided to bring Bobby back and bring a character on , Dack Rambo's wife, to clean up. I felt like I was almost the black widow, everyone who did a scene with me died or was off the show after a while (laughs).
I was so nervous and so excited because these were people that I had just watched, who didn't watch 'Who shot JR`, it was the most famous show ever. I walked onto the set and the first person I see is Larry Hagman, he looks at me and says "hello darlin, you know your jokes?", I said "Do I know my jokes?" , he said "Your lines, your lines, always know your jokes and come to work prepared and we'll have a ball". That's the only thing he said, I would memorize my lines, I would memorize his lines , if he didn't have his lines I would tell him his lines, I would memorize the whole script (laughs). All we did was laugh, I had the best time on that show of any any show I've ever done.
Radu Gheorghiu in Romania asks What TV series is closer to your heart: Dallas or Walker, Texas Ranger?
Sheree J Wilson - They are just so different. Its like angel cake and chocolate fruit cake. I loved them both for different reasons. Dallas was much more fun in terms of humor, my biggest task on the set of Dallas was could I stay serious because Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy are practical jokers , all they did was joke all day long. You would end up laughing to the point you were crying. You would cry your make-up off. My biggest challenge on Dallas was to have enough composure to sustain any kind of seriousness.
Walker Texas Ranger was so heart felt and family orientated that I loved it. It was longer hours , we had big days on Walker and huge stunts and lots of action. It was exciting, I could be chased by bears one day , I could be a prisoner the next day, I could beat somebody up the following week. It was an adventure , Walker was a real adventure, it was much more diverse being on an action series. Dallas was just family and funny bones. We would love each other and laugh
Keanu in Ohio asks Can you remember your first day on the set, can you describe that to us?
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) My first day I had a polka dotted outfit on, this skin tight t-shirt and skirt, these red shoes. I go slinking to the pool and saw Dack Rambo who was Jack Ewing and I was like "Hi dear remember me?" (laughs) "You know those divorce papers, I never signed them, you have 10% of Ewing Oil, half that's mine" (laughs). I just came out like everybody's worse nightmare ,a bitch on wheels
Magnus borg in Sweden asks Hi Sheree! Did you ever have second thoughts about playing Bobby´s new love interest because of the love the television audience felt towards Victoria Principal?
Sheree J Wilson - My character was only written in for like 13 episodes and because the audience liked me, the cast liked me and the producers obviously liked me they invited me to stay. One year turned to two, turned to five. it was like they had a challenge at first, because I came on as JR's nemesis, of how to turn that corner. All of JR's bad girls would never last, so I had to become a good girl. It was a morphing kind of, a natural progression that when Victoria decided to leave that Bobby and April would spark a flame and people loved it. So no I didn't have an qualms. I was just going with the flow (laughs)
Colin - So what was the reaction from the audience?
Sheree J Wilson - We knew the show was going to be ending and I became pregnant just before I married Bobby Ewing, we did such a build up of our romance. We courted each other though Vienna and Salzburg, we had our first love scene and kiss. It was magical. We went to Russia. It was a wonderful global courtship so the world welcomed me because there was a little more paz az and romance.
Colin - Did you know you would be Bobby's love interest before or after Victoria left?
Sheree J Wilson - They set it up knowing they were going to write Victoria out. She was going to be blown up in a car and of course Bobby can't be without a love interest. So the single woman, the single little blonde April Stevens (laughs). We did have to get over the fact that I did sleep with JR, he had a little trouble with that. (laughs)
Grace in Canada asks I am only 12 but you were my favorite actress on Dallas. Anyway's, what was your favorite moment on dallas and what was your favorite episode?
Sheree J Wilson - Awww. You know one of my favorite moments was being in Austria and we got to to see the Lipizzaners, we got to ride horseback across this mountain , I jumped off, leapt round, spun a circle and started singing the 'Sound of Music' (laughs)
Fighting with JR was always a treat, there were so many great moments. I would say the traveling I got to do, the Honeymoon in Paris , I was so blessed. Literally they paid me to go to the most beautiful places in Europe, hangout with the most funny and charming people in the world and I got paid for it.
Colin - Now that is the kind of job I want. I think that was the first time they filmed outside of the US.
Sheree J Wilson - Yes, they decided to start taking some trips. Honestly we decided who did we want to travel with who got to go. (laughs). We love Linda and Kenny Kercheval so I don't want to say that against them because we would of loved everyone to come (laughs)
April Ewing asks Wow, what an honor to be able to ask my favorite actress a question! I saw you in "Anna's Storm" recently and you were great, I was wondering if you have plans to do any other Lifetime movies in the near future?
Sheree J Wilson - Awwww. Absolutely. I had talked to the Lifetime channel and just need to find the right materiel. I would absolutely love to do that. Right now I'm producing and starring in a film that's going to be coming out to theatres this fall. I'm stepping into the duel world of acting and producing now which has been a wonderful experience. I would do anything for Lifetime, they treated me great, it was great fun and I had a great time. I'm glad she enjoyed it.
Milton Blum in New York asks When and why did the "Dallas" writers decide to soften your character?.
Sheree J Wilson - In real life and remodeling a house, when things are going wrong and you want to scream at your contractors and you can't , you can go to work and take your frustration out, it works really well (laughs). It's great to be a bitch on wheels and vent out your frustrations at work then you come home and are so happy (laughs). Its always fun to play a bad girl, but its my nature to be sweeter, so its not as much of a stretch. But its nice to go to those little dark places in your being and see how sassy you can become.
They wanted me to become Bobby's love interest and Bobby was always the good brother, the good boy so he had to have a good wife.
Johnny-bob UK asks Did you have any say on what happened to April season by season? whose idea was it to kill off your character?
Sheree J Wilson - I did only towards the end because I got pregnant with my first child and decided to leave the show. I told Leonard Katzman that I wanted to be in as many shows as possible, finish out the season and get married but said you have to kill me off in grand fashion, nothing milk toasty. He said "Ok you just wait" and he machine gunned me down (laughs)
Colin - Blimey, so it was all your idea (laughs)
Sheree J Wilson - Yes, you have to be careful what you ask for or you might just get it.
Colin - But you knew the series was ending at that point?
Sheree J Wilson - Yes it was the last year. It was just time. It was lucky year 13. Everybody was ready and knew it was going to be the last season.
Mac in Doncaster asks – I read on the fans forum that Leonard Katzman’s only regret on Dallas was killing off April. Do you know if that is true?
Sheree J Wilson - He did. He said his only regret was that because he realized when they went back to do a movie they couldn't bring me back from the dead. (laughs)
Colin - You were really missed from that. You should of been in it.
Sheree J Wilson - I missed them so much. We were really close. We became family. We went on vacations together. We loved each other, Leonard Katzman was like the dad to all of us. He was just a true visionary.
Kristina in Atlanta asks Sheree you are fantastic. Can you tell me what it was like working with Leonard Katzman.
Sheree J Wilson - He was a genius. He would create the whole bible for the year. He would know what was going to happen in the first twelve episodes, hire different writers for each piece and if a show came to him and it was sub par we could say "hey its got this problem, we don't like where this is going" , he would read it, take it back up to the bosses and an hour later he would come back with a completely rewritten script. He would knock it out, he would know everybody's character so intimately. He was remarkable. Just remarkable. I can't say enough about him.
Pamela in London asks – At the end of your first season on Dallas the show seemed to be going through a change – loosing both Victoria and Susan Howard. Did you notice things weren't as happy as they could be on set?
Sheree J Wilson - Well I never noticed things were not happy on the set because we were having a great time (laughs) Maybe the audience were not happy because they lost some of their favorite characters but there was no problems on the set.
Colin - I gather they are referring to the problems after the dream season when Phil Capice was forced to leave.
Sheree J Wilson - Larry was miserable. He told CBS he was going to give a million dollars of his own money to get Leonard back. He said you guys will kill the show within another year but if you bring Leonard back it will last another five or six and he was right. He said get Bobby back, get some new talent in here, get rid of all these extra characters and storylines that don't have anything to do with Dallas. Lets get back on track and that is what we did.
Colin - There is a bizarre question here that I have to ask. It it so weirdly random (laughs)
Parker Cole in Texas asks has anyone told you have beautiful feet?
Sheree J Wilson - Feet? (laughs)
Colin - Oh yes. Feet.
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs loudly) um no. I would not say it was my best feature (laughs) That is very random. He is the first to ask so bravo to him.
George in Oklahoma asks what the feeling on the set was as Dallas started to come to an end. How did you all find out the series was almost over. Did you all feel it for a while?
Sheree J Wilson - We all kind of collectively knew it was the last year. Larry was having a few health issues. It was the time the network were going to start making changes, it has been on the air for thirteen years. You know when its time to say goodbye. You just know it. We all had a collective consciousness about that and we knew it was going to be the last year and everybody was ready as you could be.
Justin in Holland asks What are your memories of Dack Rambo? He seemed upset to leave Dallas
Sheree J Wilson - I think he was upset because he didn't know he was going to be written off the show. Leonard came back and make a lot of changes and decided to end quite a few characters. You never want to leave a great show like that, its heartbreaking. But he was a lovely lovely man.
Joel Okla asks Walker also seemed to have some Christian leanings in the later years.
Sheree J Wilson -Chuck has always been a Christian and it became important to him to give that message out. He absolutely created some shows that were very spiritual and Christian based.
Pauline in Glasgow asks I once read your fav actress was Ingrid Bergman and you called your dog Ilsa after her character in casablanca? is that a true story?
Sheree J Wilson - It's absolutely true. I was watching Casablanca when I got my little puppy, looking at her beautiful big eyes and I said "I'm going to call you Ilsa" (laughs). I hope she's not offended. I meant it with only the highest regard. (laughs)
Harry asks What was it like being reunited with the cast for the TV Land awards?
Sheree J Wilson - Oh my gosh. You forget how much fun we all had together. Charlene Tilton and Kenny Kercheval and Patrick, Larry and Linda, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard, we are just great great friends. We laughed , Larry was being Larry, Patrick was being Patrick, the jokes were flying. It was a gas.
Colin - It was the pop culture award right?
Sheree J Wilson - Pop Culture award (laughs) What exactly does that mean?
Colin - Yeah what exactly is that. Its all a bit random (laughs) The award to give when they want to give you an award but not sure what for.
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) Its very random. I guess because we lasted for more than 10 years. I don't know.
Colin - The popularity is amazing. Does it amaze you that we have a question from someone of twelve who is watching Dallas now?
Sheree J Wilson - I absolutely love it because its so campy and so over the top. Everybody thought this was how people in Dallas behaved. To a degree it is true (laughs).
Karin in Sweden asks Do you still keep in contact with any of the cast?
Sheree J Wilson - I do. We spend time together, Larry and Maj. Whenever Patrick is down we have lunch. The last lunch we had was Linda, Patrick , Larry, myself. We all went out for Larry's birthday. We go over for the 4th of July, we watch fireworks together, we have barbeques. We still stay in touch.
Kristy asks Can you tell me about the film Fragile. Where can I see this?
Sheree J Wilson - Fragile was a French director, its a short film. He did not do it for distribution, he did the short film just so it was stylized and he could sell it to direct bigger features. I took the project because an acting teacher from the Joanne Baron Studio said a very interesting, cool director went to acting classes so he could better direct his actors so he would know what their experience is. He wanted to do this film where you had to improvise all the scenes. So I thought that could be really fun and challenging, so I called Frederic Galfo.
Trudy in Canada asks I read in an interview on this site that Larry Hagman gave you away at your wedding.
Sheree J Wilson - He is like my second dad. We are so very very close and I love him dearly. Hold on one second. My son keeps beeping in, I wanted to make sure he is ok.
Colin - So what's it like bringing up a teenage son? (laughs)
Sheree J Wilson - You know I'm the luckiest mum in the world. When he was 13 or 14 he went into that shell of can't be bothered, not that close. But by 15 or 16 he has given me no trouble what so ever. He is a great athlete, he is healthy and fit, never tried drugs., doesn't try alcohol. He has given me no worries at all. He is also a pretty decent driver, he has only had one fender bender. (laughs) I am very lucky.
Capridream in England asks Hi Sheree It was very rare for a character to be added to the opening credits, was this a big thing for you when you discovered as an actress you would be appearing in those iconic opening credits?
Sheree J Wilson - Oh huge huge huge. I took a picture of the opening credits so I could prove it was on the TV for anyone who missed it (laughs). When they knew they were going to keep me on they made a very big deal about developing my character and putting me right out there with the rest of them. I have to say its a very good feeling (laughs)
Francis in Alabama asks You do your own skin care range, is this true?
Sheree J Wilson - I invested in the Bella Vita Rejuvenation Center and we had every intention of doing a full range but its to be continued (laughs). You can order the products from my website http://www.shereejwilson.com/bella_vita.htm
Kathy in NJ asks Sheree I love all your work. Was there any rivalry on Dallas?
Sheree J Wilson - I never really got to work with Victoria so there was nothing there (laughs). I worked with all the guys.
Colin - So are you saying there was rivalry previously on the set?
Sheree J Wilson - Well I think Victoria had certain things she liked her way. There was competition if anyone came out in the same color bathing suit. You know, silly stuff like that. You can't wear a red bathing suit if I am, I have to have the bigger better Armani suit (laughs). Really unimportant things like that.
Colin - There was Cathy Podewell and Kimberly Foster. They seem to have vanished off the acting planet.
Sheree J Wilson - Cathy Podewell was an angel, she was innocent as little Cally was. Kimberly Foster she came on, we got along great. They both became mothers and decided not to pursue acting.
April Ewing also asks Is there ever going to be a sequel to "Walker, Texas Ranger Trial By Fire" movie or are we just left guessing if Alex's gunshot wound was fatal or not?
Sheree J Wilson - Well we thought there would be one by now but Chuck got busy, he started all these new fighting clubs. I think if the fans demand it enough it will come back because they left me kind of hanging there dying on the tiled floor. (laughs) But never say never
Colin - Can you say what comes to mind with the following names
Colin - Steve Kanaly
Sheree J Wilson -Sweet as the day is long
Colin - Barbara Bel Geddes
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs loudly) More mischievous than you would ever imagine. She was like mom. She was smack Larry, she would head cuff them - "Now behave". Very funny.
Colin - Sasha Mitchell
Sheree J Wilson - Who?
Colin - Sasha Mitchell. He played James Beaumont
Sheree J Wilson - Ohhhh. I didn't really work with him
Colin - Patrick Duffy
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) Hysterical
Colin - Victoria Principal
Sheree J Wilson - Regal
Colin - Regal? ok
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs)
Colin - (laughs) Regal?
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) That's all I'm going to say.
Jenny in LA asks Hi Sheree – Can you tell me some more about the Dallas Fansource event coming up?
Sheree J Wilson - Well there are going to be some surprise guests. We are going to all get together. You never know what will happen when we all get together. It's going to be fun, its going to be a wonderful reunion and hopefully a really nice tribute. Give back to our fans who have supported us all these years.
Jenny in LA also asks Sheree I am very interested in your work on the Trail of Tears. It is an important part of our history.
Sheree J Wilson - Trail of Tears is a documentary that I help shoot and I narrated. It's part of a bigger project I'm working on 'Easy Rider', I'm just shooting the prequel to Easy Rider and will be shooting the sequel next year. We are going to bookend the iconic film Easy Rider and part of the ride in the sequel will take place at the Trail of Tears.
The Trail of Tears is not really written in the American history books and so I thought it was important to put out this documentary. It's really the last push of where the Indians were forced out of their homes and moved onto the reservations in Oklahoma. There was this trail where they made them march from Tennessee all the way down to Waterloo Alabama. Unfortunately at the time the American Government put small pox in the babies blankets and most of the women and children died on this trail. That is why its called the 'Trail of Tears' because of all the tears the Indians shed. It's a very sad time in American history and nobody really wants to know about it but I think its important to remember.
Colin - This is obviously something important to you. How did that come about.
Sheree J Wilson - It is. Growing up in Colorado and spending so much time in Texas, even Chuck Norris grew up on an Indian Reservation. So Native American history is something I have always been interested in. Now with this new movie with Easy Rider we are going to out the actual Trail of Tears ride in our movie and show the 150 thousand motorcycles that come together for the largest motorcycle ride in the country. The documentary is available on my website.
Juna in France asks It is almost Valentines day, who in Dallas would be your valentine?
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs loudly) Well I have to say Bobby because he was my husband.
Colin - Well you could say JR (laughs)
Sheree J Wilson - (laughs) Yes well that's a toss up between Bobby and JR
Colin - and of course there is always Cliff. I loved the scenes with yourself and Ken.
Sheree J Wilson - Ken Kercheval and I had a blast. He is so well read, he has so much poetry in his head, he knows more about art and artists, he is a wealth of knowledge. He is fascinating, you have no idea how much of the arts he contains in his being.
Colin - Well thank you so much. Do you have anything else coming up?
Sheree J Wilson - My Easy Rider project, I've got a project I'm trying to sell for a new television series, now that the writers strike is over I can start pitching. I may be back on the air with my new television series. Quite a few irons in the fire right now. I will keep you posted. If you want to do a follow up interview let me. I would love to speak to you again.
You can find out more about Sheree J Wilson on her official website http://www.shereejwilson.com/
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