‘Dallas’ Star Brenda Strong Reveals ‘Ann Is Basically Going to Unravel’ (Q&A)

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Don’t mess with Texas is one motto the Ewings definitely live and die by on TNT’s smash hit Dallas. So what happens when someone tries to test one of Braddock County’s elite with intimate knowledge from her past?

Celebuzz spoke with Brenda Strong, who plays Bobby Ewing’s (Patrick Duffy) third wife Ann Ryland Ewing, a woman whose mysterious past and dangerous ex-husband will threaten to derail her happiness in the coming weeks. Strong reveals what fans can expect from the feisty Ann when she has to protect what she holds dear. All we can say is watch out JR (Larry Hagman) and John Ross (Josh Henderson)!

Celebuzz: Congrats on being renewed! Were you surprised by how much fans loved the series?
Brenda Strong:
You know, I wasn’t surprised just because it was such a fan favorite before. You know whenever you do something that’s beloved that way, you kind of set the bar higher and makes it a little bit more challenging because you have a lot of expectations to live up to. When you have something that no one knows, coming out of the shoot. You have a 50/50 chance of them loving you. If they are loving you to begin with, you have a very strong chance of someone going to be upset. We got very lucky because, both old and new fans alike seem to be enjoying it.

CB: Let’s talk about Ann and Harris Rylan (Mitch Pileggi), the transport executive doing business with JR and John Ross (Josh Henderson). What exactly can you tell us about their marriage? It appears as though, the two didn’t part on the best terms.
BS: They absolutely didn’t. In fact in the last episode, Bobby said to Ann, “Why did you go to a man who you’ve never had a kind word about on my behalf?” They did not part well, we don’t know why as the audience. All you can feel when they first meet is an incredible amount of tension between them. And there’s so much not being said, you get that this past is layered with a lot of pain and difficulty and there’s power struggle. There’s absolutely a power struggle. He made the snotty comment, “Its nice to see you’re not afraid to wear heels.” So there’s a domination of sorts, a manipulation she got away from. Its interesting, when I was filming that scene, literally the back of my neck was crawling. You can’t see those things on film, but it was very palpable, very charged between Mitch and I with what we were able to capture. He’s a very talented actor, he’s unpredictable, and I think we’ll see a lot more of him in this season.

CB: The locket Harris sent Ann made her fall to pieces. Can you tell us why and what does it mean?
No, (laughs) If I told you it would be a spoiler and mess with the rest of the season. Let’s just say it has an emotional memory attached to it that brings up an enormous amount of regret and loss. That locket has a lot of meaning from their past together as a couple.

CB: It seems as though it has some sort of significance to Ann because one minutes she’s terrified by that locket, and later on in the episode, you see she’s come to terms with it being there and she puts it on. So, it does give the viewers some sort of sense that it does signify something but we just don’t have an idea of what.
Exactly. You’ll find out next episode. Either the next episode or the one after, there’s going to be a reveal for the end of that episode. Bobby has an opportunity to know more about it. She’s just a terrific in that episode. Things that I love about our writers is the twist and the turns. Instead of providing more answers, they’re kind of numbing the audience with more questions on where they are going to take you.

CB: As we’re getting further into Dallas’ premiere season, what can viewers expect to see more from Ann?
Ann is basically going to unravel. She’s going to have a mini breakdown, and then its like a phoenix rising from the ashes. She’s going to come back stronger than she was before. Ann’s been given by the writers a very, very big arc in this first season. I’m really grateful, by the time I got the script for episode eight, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I called our writer and said, “Thank you for giving me such an interesting woman to play.” I love Ann. She’s surprising me and every time she turns around she does something more interesting, isn’t it great?

CB: So JR and John Ross really need to watch their back with Ann?
Oh yeah, she’s a mama bear. At the same time she knows that what Bobby wants more than anything is peace. So she’s not going to disrupt the peace, but if anyone crosses the line to hurt him she’ll go after them. I think that’s great, she’s kind and strong. There’s a lot of people that can be strong without the heart but she wears her heart on her sleeve but she’s not afraid to take you down (laughs), which I love. JR starts to take notice in the next couple of episodes, JR is like, “Oh I better not cross her!”

CB: I’m looking forward to seeing that. This is very interesting to see the great JR do a double take and say, “I better leave this one alone!”
Exactly because there’s a line where JR says, “I think she needs some medication,” I definitely come back with a couple of zingers in the next few episodes.

Dallas airs Wednesdays at 9 PM on TNT.

Jillian Bowe

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