The movie version of Dallas has finalized the casting of two lead roles, those of oil tycoon J.R. Ewing and his cunning wife, Sue Ellen. Hollywood heavyweight John Travolta will play J.R., and pop star/actress Jennifer Lopez will play Sue Ellen.
Travolta steps into the role made famous by Larry Hagman. J.R. Ewing was a brutal oilman who crushed his opponents without mercy--and many of his opponents were in his own family. Lopez will pick up where Linda Gray left off, as a wife who is as cunning and ruthless as her husband.
Rounding out the cast is Shirley McClaine as the family matriarch Miss Ellie. Luke Wilson is reportedly in talks to portray Bobby Ewing, J.R.'s slightly less evil younger brother.
Dallas ran for 13 years, from 1978 to 1991. The show attracted a whopping 83 million viewers for a cliff-hanger episode in which J.R. was mysteriously shot.
The Dallas movie recently hit a snag when director Robert Luketic left the production, citing the standard "creative differences." His replacement is Gurinder Chadha, the Kenyan-born British director of the hits Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice.
Chadha told the BBC that the movie will be "very true to the original series. I've got to deliver something to them that's contemporary but at the same time doesn't trample on their nostalgic dreams."
Producers of the film raised eyebrows when they indicated they would film the movie not in its namesake city but in Canada. After the city of Dallas put on a full court PR assault to lure them back, the filmmakers announced that production would stay in the US--it will now be shot in Florida.
Dallas is set to gush box-office black gold in 2007.