The midseason finale of TNT’s hit drama Dallas ended with quite a cliffhanger back in April, so we were jumping at the chance to catch up with actress Marlene Forte before the second half of the third season returns to TNT on August 18. Forte talked to TV Rage about working with JJ Abrams, being an older Latina actress in Hollywood and what’s big in the third season of Dallas.
Interview with Marlene Forte of Dallas
In addition to your recurring role on Dallas, you've been involved in several high profile TV and movie projects like ER, CSI, The West Wing and Law & Order. What was it like working with JJ Abrams first on Lost and then again on the Star Trek movie in 2009? He must have liked your work!
I have been very lucky to work with some very talented people and JJ Abrams has definitely been one of them, but I actually never met him before I got on the set for Star Trek. I got that part because I had already worked for JJ on Lost and I’m assuming it was because he liked my work. The nice thing about this business is that you never know what job will lead you to another job.
You didn't get the "acting bug" until you were 30 and already a mother. What's it like being an older Latina actress in Hollywood? Any advice for other women pursuing their acting dreams later in life?
Well, I actually got the acting bug at the age of 10, but it took me 20 years to get to it! The only advice that I can give anyone who wants to go into acting is don’t do it just to be famous. Acting is a life choice. It might have taken me 20 years to [seriously pursue acting], but I never lost track of my dreams. Every choice I made has led me to this moment. Acting is not a horse race. It’s a long and winding road.
Being Latina is another thing! I see myself as an actress who also happens to be Cuban. There are enough obstacles on this road. I don’t need to add any of my own in the way!
Dallas star Larry Hagman died in late 2012 and his iconic character JR also died on the show. How did Hagman's death affect the mood on the Dallas set? Will JR continue to play a large role in the future of the show? It's rumored that unused footage of Hagman as JR will appear in season three.
Losing Larry was hard and very sad. We watched him lose weight during his [leukemia] treatments in the first season, but he was always smiling and still had that twinkle in his eyes. You cannot think Dallas without JR. On set we ask ourselves, “What would JR do?" Larry is still number one […] and he will be until this thing is done.
The second half of the third season of Dallas returns August 18 to TNT at 9pm. Can you give us any details about what's big in the rest of season three for your character and the show in general?
The rest of this season really focuses on the Ramos family. Elena Ramos and Drew will be a very big part of the end of season 3, and as Elena’s mom I will be very present in these last episodes, too. [Season 3] is going to be a roller coaster. Let’s just say that South Fork is changing, much like this country.