Julie Gonzalo on ‘Dallas’

Gonzalo talks Ewing drama and “Eli Stone” memories.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

When you see the second episode of “Dallas,” you’ll want to know a lot more about Julie Gonzalo. We knew her work from “Veronica Mars,” “Eli Stone” and from movies.

On “Dallas” Gonzalo plays Rebecca Sutter, Christopher Ewing’s (Jesse Metcalfe) girlfriend and partner in clean energy. Things are about to get juicy for Rebecca, so we got the exclusive scoop in a one on one interview with Gonzalo, spoiler light of course.

 

CraveOnline: This is a true ensemble, there are so many different angles on the story, aren’t there?

Julie Gonzalo: There really are. I know. I think I mentioned this to Cynthia [Cidre] once. I’m like, “You know what I love about every script that comes on? Not one line is a throwaway line. Every line counts and every character counts and everything that they do counts.” There’s a reason behind everything all the characters say and do. I think that’s just smart writing.

CraveOnline: Does that make it tough if any of the episodes run long and they have to cut something?

Julie Gonzalo: They cut a lot of it. It’s really tough. Watching the seven that they sent us, I realized, “Oh, where’d that scene go? Okay.” But you can only do so much. You have to fit 42 minutes into one hour and it’s tough especially because there’s so much to say and there’s so much to do and talk about. Cynthia said, “We will never run out of stories with ‘Dallas.’”

CraveOnline: Is that great for an actor to get these juicy monologues?

Julie Gonzalo: Oh yeah, it’s super fun. I’m in love with the character. I get to play such a fun, dynamic, multi-layered woman that I really do really, really enjoy playing Rebecca. It is fun. I mean, it’s hard work. I had to memorize a two page monologue and for some reason it was awesome and it was easy. I think I did it in two, three takes and done and I was like, “Yeah!” But it’s just that instant gratification of like, “I can do this, I can do this.” And you do it and people respond to it and like it. That’s all you can hope for.

CraveOnline: What episode is that monologue in?

Julie Gonzalo: I think it’s the beginning of four. It was a little bit longer. It’s a page and a half monologue at the beginning of four.

CraveOnline: Are there going to be some juicy face offs between Rebecca and Elena?

Julie Gonzalo: Well, I hope [so], but not in the first season. These women are very smart. That’s what’s lovely about Cynthia’s writing. She really wrote really smart people, really smart women. I think that there is that level of being uncomfortable with your husband’s ex-lover, but the way they handle it is beautifully and very smart. They’re two very educated women. No, you won’t see us pulling each other’s hair in this season at least.

CraveOnline: I don’t think that’s what “Dallas” was. That was more like “Dynasty.”

Julie Gonzalo: Right, but you know what I mean. I don’t mean literally. I mean more like figuratively.

CraveOnline: But it could be some really juicy drama with subtext.

Julie Gonzalo: There’s definitely going to be some things here and there, absolutely, but again I think the women are written very smart. I think there’s always calculated things they do.

CraveOnline: What would you tell viewers to expect from your character?

Julie Gonzalo: You know, she’s a girl trying to find her way in the world. I think that she married Christopher and she’s madly in love with him. She’s finally found the family that she’s always longed for. Her parents died in an accident when she was 12 years old and she only has her brother. Good or bad, she has her brother. I think she’s a girl that’s very torn, to have some difficult life decisions and now she’s paying for some of them but ultimately I think she just wants to be happy.

CraveOnline: Are you excited for viewers to see the second episode?

Julie Gonzalo: I am. I’m very excited. I think that it’s going to be exciting to have a different look on not only my character but everyone’s character. Yeah, I think things start to get juicy by like second or third episode. I think that’s when people are going to go, “Okay, this is the ‘Dallas’ we want.”

CraveOnline: Had you had any gun training before the scene on the shooting range in episode 3?

Julie Gonzalo: No, I went. I shot guns before but it wasn’t very much in training. It was just for fun, funny enough. I think it was one of those things that before I turned 30 I was like, “I need to go shoot guns.”

CraveOnline: So how was it in the scene with Brenda Strong?

Julie Gonzalo: It was fun. The only thing was I had to pretend like I didn’t know what I was doing which I was like ugh, because I really know what I’m doing. I’m such a perfectionist so I was just like dammit, I know I’m not supposed to hold it like this. It was fun to go shooting. We actually went shooting before. We trained with the prop master on the show and he taught us: This is the correct way to do it and this is how you should do it, which is obviously the incorrect way. It was totally fun.

CraveOnline: Will she be shooting again in subsequent episodes?

Julie Gonzalo: You know, it’s “Dallas,” it’s the ranch, it’s Texas. Yeah, I think we all have a gun or two in our hands at one point. Everybody has to be a true Texan.

 


CraveOnline: How competitive  were the auditions for “Dallas” when they put out a call there was a new “Dallas” casting up?

Julie Gonzalo: Well, for me I have to be honest, it was possibly one of the easiest processes that I’ve ever had to go through for a job. It can be very gruesome, it can be very cruel. This industry doesn’t sugarcoat anything. It’s very hard as an actor to get a job and I was very, very lucky. I got the script, two days later had the audition, I read it and loved it. I learned my sides.

I went and met Cynthia and Mike [M. Robin] I think at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Thursday. By three o’clock that afternoon I knew that they wanted to test me because they were like, “Oh, we really liked her so we want to test her.” And I’m like okay, that’s great. I got really excited, had a great weekend. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m testing for ‘Dallas.’”

At that point I knew that the show had been a huge success. I just didn’t know much about it. I remember calling my mom, like, “Do you know ‘Dallas?’” She’s like, “Oh my God, I’m freaking out.” Because I was raised in Argentina so it was a huge phenomenon down there. Then I think by Tuesday I was testing for it and by Thursday I had the job, so it took a week.

This is when I knew, when things are just meant to be they’re meant to be. When you’re meant to be a character, you just feel it. It flowed to the point that it’s like, “Okay, this was supposed to be my part for sure.”

CraveOnline: Were you able to get any sense of closure with “Eli Stone” in the two seasons you got  to do?

Julie Gonzalo: Man, I still miss that show. I miss it so much. I’m still really good friends with Johnny and some of the other cast and some of the crew I still speak to on a Facebook basis. I was pretty upset when it ended because I think it just needed another season. It needed to go back to what the first season was which was quirky and funny and out there.

I think if it would have been post “Glee” times it would have made a bit of a difference, but it was such an amazing show. The message was brilliant. Greg Berlanti is an awesome guy, Marc Guggenheim, everybody who was attached to the show. Yeah, I really do miss that show. I really wish it was still on, but moving on.

CraveOnline: How great is it to have a show with a built in legacy already?

Julie Gonzalo: It’s good and it’s bad. It’s good because yes, we have an audience, but it’s bad because we have an audience. Now we have to live up to everybody’s expectations. Can it surpass? I don't know. I hope so. I hope people go into it with an open mind and wanting to love it, but there are going to be those that are nit picking and “I don't know, this doesn’t work for me.”

But I hope that people do respond to it because I think it’s great and it’s very well made. We all really love it. We all really like working with each other so we hope we can do it for another season at least.

CraveOnline: How do they treat you in Texas?

Julie Gonzalo: They were great. We honestly had an amazing crew, amazing crew, like everyone. Down to anything, every single department, it was just great. Everyone got along and they’re so warm. I don't think the city knew.

Obviously they knew we were shooting if we had to deal with certain locations, but as people that lived there, we were kind of under the radar. But they were very welcoming, it was really nice, everybody was sweet. Everywhere you go they’d greet you with a Texas welcome. It was really nice.

CraveOnline: Did you relocate to Dallas while you filmed there?

Julie Gonzalo: Yeah, we did. We lived in Dallas for four months which was different because it was the first time I had to relocate for a job for a show, because “Eli” was shot here so it was interesting. At first I’m like, “Oh, no, no” but then after second week when everybody was hanging out and being there for each other, I think it worked.

I think had we shot the show here, first of all it’s not the same obviously. You need to be in Dallas. You can’t shoot “Dallas” in L.A. or Vancouver or Toronto or wherever the hell they’re shooting shows now. We would not be as close as we really are I think.

CraveOnline: What were you eating for four months in Dallas?

Julie Gonzalo: I was vegetarian so I was pretty much making all my food. I am very picky about my food and I’m very healthy oriented so I always try to cook. Obviously we went out but there’s some really good food out there. They do some good cookin’.

CraveOnline: There’s a lot of barbecue.

Julie Gonzalo: There is. I wasn’t having any of it. At the beginning I was eating a little bit of meat so I did get to eat a little bit, but no, I’m very picky when it comes to food.

CraveOnline: Are there a lot of animals around the set of the ranch?

Julie Gonzalo: Oh yeah. We had the longhorns, we had cows, we had the horses everywhere. It was beautiful. It’s gorgeous. I think the way they portray it on the show, it looks beautiful. Even the helicopter shots and crane shots, just the way the ranch and the grass and the feel of it is very beautiful.

CraveOnline: Are there any scenes of yours that depend on animals hitting their marks and acting with you?

Julie Gonzalo: Not really. There was a moment where my brother has a horse, but it wasn’t too bad.

CraveOnline: How does it feel to hear the “Dallas” theme song and see your name pop up?

Julie Gonzalo: The first time I saw it was goose bumps. I had goose bumps because if I knew anything about “Dallas” it was the theme song. The fact that “Dallas” was a huge show and the theme song. The fact that my name was like boom, I think to this day even though I’ve seen it a bunch of times now, I still get goose bumps just seeing my name in such an iconic skyline, song and the name and everyone’s name.