Jennifer Lopez is about to become a scheming, alcoholic adulteress — once she passes through the gates of Southfork, that is. The singer/actress has signed on to play Sue Ellen opposite John Travolta's J.R. Ewing for the big-screen adaptation of the television show "Dallas."
Director Gurinder Chadha announced the news Friday (April 21), confirming reports swirling for months that both Lopez and Travolta were in negotiations for the parts with then-director Robert Luketic. Luketic parted ways with 20th Century Fox and New Regency earlier this month because he wasn't happy with casting (other parts include Luke Wilson as Bobby and Shirley MacLaine as Miss Ellie). Who will play Lucy Ewing remains a cliffhanger. Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson all are contenders.
"That would be an honor for me," Simpson told MTV News recently. "I'm a Texas girl, so you can't go wrong there."
"Dallas" marks a return to big-studio fare for Lopez, since she recently wrapped two independent films, the Hector Lavoe biopic "El Cantante," in which she plays the wife of husband Marc Anthony's Lavoe, and the Gregory Nava-directed "Bordertown" (see "Coming From Jennifer Lopez: Big Projects For The Big And Small Screens").
"Dallas" started airing in 1978 on CBS but won its biggest audience in 1980, when 83 million viewers tuned in to find out who shot J.R., a role originated by Larry Hagman. Sue Ellen's role, meanwhile, was originated by Linda Gray. Series creator David Jacobs is also one of the film's producers. Shooting isn't scheduled to start until October, after Travolta wraps up his starring role in the big-screen remake of Broadway's "Hairspray."
Chadha, best known for 2004's "Bend It Like Beckham," is adapting another TV hit, the sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie." "Dallas" is slated for a late-2007 release.
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