While speculation over James Bond should end soon as a final round of actor tests finish this week, the higher-profile guessing game surrounds the imminent casting for “Dallas,” New Regency’s screen version of the TV soaper. While the producer maintains no casting decisions will be final until Sacha Gervasi delivers a rewrite of the Robert Harling script, the thesps who’ve shown interest in doing the movie make it a potentially starry ensemble.
The first order of business is to lock in a J.R. Ewing. While speculation has John Travolta as the lead horse, folks close to the film said that isn’t a certainty. For one thing, Mel Gibson hasn’t completely ruled out the job, and while Kevin Costner has shown reluctance, he wants to see the rewrite. Tommy Lee Jones’ name has also surfaced.
If Travolta gets the gig, it would put him on course to play fictional icons on both sides of the gender ledger, as he’s also the clear front-runner to play Edna Turnblad in New Line’s adaptation of the musical “Hairspray,” which needs a director after Rob Marshall declined the job.
The leading candidate for Sue Ellen (originated by Linda Gray) is Catherine Zeta-Jones, but Demi Moore and Jennifer Lopez are also contemplating. Matthew McConaughey and Owen Wilson are being courted to play Bobby Ewing (originated by Patrick Duffy).
For the role of Pamela (played by Victoria Principal), Regency is eyeing Drew Barrymore and Reese Witherspoon, and for the Lucy role (played by Charlene Tilton), talk centers around Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore. Then there’s chatter about Jane Fonda for Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes). Director Robert Luketic will end up with quite a cast.
The star wattage dims in an endless James Bond bake-off that should finally conclude after screen tests are completed this week. Latest front-burner names are oft-rumored Daniel Craig, Henry Cavill (a contender in the “Superman” sweepstakes), Sam Worthington and Goran Visnjic.
Lack of star power comes from rights-controlling Broccoli family’s unwillingness to break precedent and pay gross points to an 007, which eliminated rumored stars like Clive Owen. They’ll surely get their Bond for a fraction of the $25 million or so paid on the last film to Pierce Brosnan before he was dumped. Martin Campbell starts production in January on “Casino Royale” for Sony.