It will be the end of an era when Dallas pays tribute to late actor Larry Hagman — and with him his iconic role, J.R. Ewing — in tonight’s funeral episode, "J.R.’s Masterpiece." According to the cast, Hagman's passing has led to some serious emotional ramifications both onscreen and off — and these ramifications may lead to some very poor decision-making.
"Honoring Larry, honoring J.R. — we have to do that," Patrick Duffy tells Hollywood.com at the show's PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles the day before the episode's premiere. "The audience wants that. We can’t just ignore it. You have to take a moment and let everything just stop, and do this moment where we do the right thing."
Though the funeral was for a fictional character, there were times when it felt all too real. Which makes sense, considering it kind of was. Brenda Strong, who plays Anne Ewing, is proud to have been a part of it. "It is one of the most exquisite pieces of television I have ever had the honor of being a part of," Strong says. "It absolutely is a tribute to the icon of Larry Hagman, and the icon of J.R. We all had an opportunity through the catharsis of art to grieve and to celebrate the life of Larry Hagman."
Obviously the cast feels Hagman's loss very deeply, and his character's death will have major emotional ramifications for the show, too. Duffy says the loss of his brother has a major effect on Bobby in more ways than one. "Bobby has totally lost his raison d'etre, his purpose as a character," Duffy says. "He was always there to counteract the machinations of J.R., to maintain the integrity of the Ewing name, to honor what his momma and daddy stood for. He always felt that J.R. was endangering that, and his job was to protect it. Now that there’s no J.R., the writers have to find a reason for Bobby to be Bobby."
RELATED: 'Dallas' Star Larry Hagman Dies at 81
The writers did just that, according to Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Bobby’s son, Christopher Ewing. "J.R.’s death really sets in motion a very mysterious, compelling storyline that brings a lot of interesting characters together," Metcalfe says.
That's right: It's "who shot J.R." for the second time around. But this time, there's no summer cliffhanger to ponder: Executive producer Michael Robin says the answer will be revealed by end of episode 15. In the meantime, expect to see J.R.’s son, John Ross (Josh Henderson) struggling to solve his father’s murder. "John Ross is deeply impacted by the loss of his father," Metcalfe says. "He’s becoming very angry and volatile, and wants revenge. So Christopher keeps a watchful eye over him to make sure he doesn’t do anything he might regret."
The loss of the love of her life will also cause Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) to make a choice that will change her life going forward: it will drive her to have a drink for the first time in 30 years. But executive producer Cynthia Cidre assures us that the issue will be handled in a classy way. "It won't be Aqua Velva & homelessness," Cidre says.
"J.R.’s Masterpiece" airs at 9 PM ET/PT on TNT.
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[Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/TNT]
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Beloved television legend Larry Hagman, 81, passed away Friday, November 23. Hagman—best known for his iconic roll as J.R. Ewing in both the original Dallas and its TNT reboot—touched many lives throughout his accomplished career. At the news of his passing many celebrities are sending out their remembrances and condolences to the acclaimed actor through Twitter.
Although many touching tributes have been sent to Hangman and his family, Barbara Eden’s personal Facebook message to her I Dream of Jeannie co-star is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt of them all. The actress writes, “Larry was the center of so many fun, wild, shocking… and in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever.”
You can read Eden’s moving message in its entirety, and then check out the sweetest celebrity tweets to Hangman below.
It was truly an honor to share the screen with Mr. Larry Hagman.With piercing wit and undeniable charm he brought ... tmi.me/B6G6s
— Jesse Metcalfe (@jessemetcalfe) November 24, 2012
Very sad to hear that Larry Hagman has died. His JR Ewing character was the greatest TV villain of them all. Wonderful actor. #RIP
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 24, 2012
One winter as Larry Hagman's neighborhe'd invite our kids to join his parade on the beach.He'd march in caftan w/flute.Joyful soul
— Tom Brokaw (@tombrokaw) November 24, 2012
I'm shocked.Larry Hagman was a dear man who had an incredible career.He helped me to stop smoking.He really was a very special person.
— Larry King(@kingsthings) November 24, 2012
RIP Larry Hagman. Thank you for being such an entertaining actor and giving us such happy memories.
— Elizabeth Hurley (@ElizabethHurley) November 24, 2012
OH NO! Rest in peace Larry Hagman. Between Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie, you were huge part of my childhood. You will be missed JR. Prayers
— Adam Shankman (@adammshankman) November 24, 2012
OMG Larry Hagman died. What a sweetkind soul. I was fortunate enough to meet him. What an icon Heaven is receiving. #ripjrewing
— Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) November 24, 2012
A wonderful interview with the great Larry Hagman. RIP. The Rollicking Life of Larry Hagman: nyti.ms/prKr8e
— Martha Plimpton (@MarthaPlimpton) November 24, 2012
RIP #LARRYHAGMAN. JR. MAY YOU REST IN PEACE!! PRAYERS OUT TO THE FAMILY!!!
— Dot-Marie Jones (@dotmariejones) November 24, 2012
Larry Hagman made tv we will remember forever as J.R. But I will also treasure his charm and devotion to family, friends. Rest in peace.
— Julie Chen(@JulieChen) November 24, 2012
So sad to lose such a wonderful dear bigger than life friend. Larry Hagman was one of a kind and will be with us all forever.
— Linda Gray (@Linda_Gray) November 24, 2012
Very sad to hear about larry hagman. He was the best tv baddie and from people who met him all said he was a great guy. He will be missed.
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) November 24, 2012
So sad to hear about Larry Hagman's passing. A picture of me with "J.R." from years ago: instagr.am/p/L1HerRSZAG/
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) November 24, 2012
R.I.P Larry Hagman! What a legacy! Peace!
— boygeorge (@BoyGeorge) November 24, 2012
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[Photo Credit: DailyCeleb.com]
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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.