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May 30, 2017

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Larry Hagman reprises role in'Dallas' as show returns to city

"I find myself sometimes just looking at him sometimes going, `Wow, this is really happening. This is really 'Dallas' again and I'm really kind of family and kin to the J.R.," Henderson said.

Hagman, who said returning to Dallas to film the legendary show again has been like "coming home," says that this time out, the plots are even more complicated.

"Everybody's double-dealing here. I mean everybody," Hagman said.

Hagman, who turned 80 in September, announced in October that he has been diagnosed with "a very common and treatable form" of cancer and planned to continue working on the reboot of "Dallas." Hagman underwent a liver transplant in the mid-1990s.

"As J.R. I could get away with anything — bribery, blackmail and adultery. But I got caught by cancer," he said in a statement issued at the time. "As we all know, you can't keep J.R. down!"

Filming a scene this fall, it's apparent that J.R. has lost none of his swagger. After striding into a sleekly designed Dallas home in his Western blazer and cowboy boots, he sits down and begins deal-making.

"The best way to understand a man is to talk to his friends and his enemies," J.R. says. "My friends are in the statehouse. My enemies are going to be harder to find."

The actors rounding out the new generation are: Jesse Metcalfe as Bobby's adopted son, Christopher Ewing; Julie Gonzalo as Christopher's fiancee, Rebecca Sutter; and Jordana Brewster as Elena Ramos, daughter of the cook at the Ewing family's Southfork Ranch who grew up to become a geologist and is John Ross' girlfriend and the former love of Christopher.

"Her alliance is constantly shifting," Brewster said. "She's a very fun character to play."

The youngest Ewings aren't the only new thing about the Dallas reboot: The city itself has changed in the last 20 years with new construction. Recent additions where scenes have already been filmed include football team owner Jerry Jones' gleaming Cowboys Stadium and a downtown arts district with a new opera house and theater.

They are also filming at plenty of classic Dallas locations including downtown's Neiman Marcus, the luxury chain's flagship store, and the State Fair of Texas. And, of course, they're shooting at the famed Southfork Ranch, an events center that houses the Ewing Mansion.

"I think the lovely part this time is that we're really incorporating a lot of Dallas itself. I think we're utilizing much more of it so far," Gray said.

For most seasons of the original series, two of the 10{ months of shooting were done in Dallas with the rest in Los Angeles.

"To see the beauty that has really transpired and transformed the city ... it's a joy to see it," Gray said.

Patterson noted that not only are there "acres and acres" of new development, but there are also "still plenty of cranes working."

"There's been so much new growth in the city at a time when there's not necessarily been new growth throughout the country," he said.

Dallas Film Commissioner Janis Burklund said that the series' value to the city has been immeasurable — making it known to people around the world.

"Now I feel like we've gotten sort of got hit by lightning twice to have another shot at this iconic show coming back," Burklund said.

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