Looks like the film version of the ’80s soap Dallas has its spurs stuck in the cee-ment. Over the past year, at least 16 A-listers had been eyed for the flick, before producers reportedly corralled — then parted ways with — a cast that included Jennifer Lopez (Sue Ellen), Shirley MacLaine (Miss Ellie), and Luke Wilson (Bobby). Now John Travolta (as J.R. Ewing) is the lone star left standing, a devastating blow to the already troubled production.
”We’ve pushed a bit back is all,” says Sanford Panitch, president of production at New Regency. He maintains that Wilson and MacLaine are, in fact, still in negotiations, and that the company was merely in talks with Lopez. ”We never announced a cast. And we weren’t ready with the script or budget.”
But will they ever be ready? Originally penciled in to begin filming next month, Dallas began unraveling back in March, when director Robert Luketic (Monster-in-Law) bowed out, citing creative differences. Bobby Ewing and Co. were briefly resurrected in April, with director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) signing on. Then, amid rewrites and budget concerns, Lopez moseyed out the door to pursue other projects, while Travolta began filming his role in another big-haired movie, Hairspray.
Despite this bumpy ride, Panitch is emphatic that Regency can still spout Texas gold out of this twisted tale. ”Hopefully,” he says, ”[we] can gear up…in the spring.”