The reincarnation of the “Dallas” TV show — the popular melodrama from the 80s that premiered anew on TNT this week — is not only a more modern version of one of the most famous series ever on television, which always seemed like a telenovela in English.
It’s also a more Latino version.
Just as the Hispanic presence has exploded in Dallas, the cast has grown from one lone Latina in the original to no fewer than seven characters that hablan español.
The show, which chronicles the ongoing trials, tribulations and intrigue of the wealthy Ewing family, has added two new key cast members that are Latino artists. Makes sense, since the population in Dallas is nearly 40 percent Hispanic, according to the last U.S. Census.
Jordana Brewster (a Brazilian born in Panama City), from “The Fast and The Furious” film franchise, plays Elena Ramos, the girlfriend of one of the Ewing heirs and the third point of a love triangle. Marlene Forte plays her mother and Bobby Ewing’s (Patrick Duffy’s) housekeeper. Argentine Julie Gonzalo plays Rebecca Sutter, the love interest of Christopher Ewing. Carlos Bernard (whose mother was born in Spain) plays JR Ewing’s ally, Vincent Cano, and Chilean-born Leonor Varela plays the evil Marta del Sol. Texan Carlos Marquez plays a Venezuelan businessman, who will be featured more prominently as the series goes forth.
The producers promise to bring on more Latino characters as the storyline unfolds.
There is also Hispanic influence working on the show behind the scenes. Executive producer Cynthia Cidre (“Cane” and “Mambo Kings”), one of the show’s scriptwriters, is Cuban. And Forte, for one, has said that working with her has been rewarding.
“I’ve been in this business for 20 years and it feels good to see a Latina woman in charge,” Forte said in a story by Latin Heat Entertainment, referring to how the Latinos characters were written. “As a Latina, Cidre understands that Latinos don’t live in a vacuum. She understands the reality – the diversity of Latinos in America.”
That reality is intertwined throughout the melodrama.
Said Forte: “Dallas is the hottest Latino show on TV!”