I’m confused. Variety‘s Michael Fleming writes in his article breaking the news of Betty Thomas as the new Dallas helmer that "this time they’re drilling for laughs". Pardon my ignorance, but weren’t they "drilling for laughs" when Robert Luketic was signed to direct? And was I napping or just not giving a shit when Bend It Like Beckham‘s Gurinder Chadha got attached to the project?
Not that it matters. Thomas has supplanted Chadha, and the mandate is to (once again) turn Dallas into a high camp send-up of the long-running prime time soap. What a hoot that will be. You know what would be really funny? Play J.R. Ewing as a gay man. And Bobby. And Miss Ellie. Ooh, and play up the phallic significance of oil derricks. No one’s ever done that before! And at the end of the movie, have J.R. get into a fistfight at a roadside diner because the proprietors won’t serve Mexicans.
The one constant throughout Dallas‘ development has been John Travolta, who’s apparently such brilliant casting as J.R. they just can’t let him go. If the movie’s success hinges on his participation, it’s in trouble. And if Fox thinks there’s a market for cartoon parodies of vintage television shows, they might want to check the calendar. This approach is cliche and worked once. And bringing in the director of the exception to the rule is no guarantee of another The Brady Bunch Movie. Betty Thomas hasn’t helmed a good flick since Private Parts. That was ten years ago.
Fox wants to get Dallas filming by January. The one positive is South Park‘s Pam Brady being brought aboard to rewrite the script. The negatives are most of her credits outside of South Park.