As seemingly-sweet Rebecca Sutter Ewing, you couldn’t help but feel like she was a lamb being led to the Southfork slaughter. But once it was shockingly revealed she was actually the daughter of JR’s longtime ultimate nemesis Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), we knew better than to underestimate how well she does fit into the family. And while it may have been a shocker to the viewers, Gonzalo knew all along who Rebecca’s father was when she began filming.
"I knew before we shot the pilot," Gonzalo said in a conference call. "I remember getting the part and after we all met, and after reading the script and before we even took off to go to Dallas to shoot the pilot they let me in on the secret that I was a Barnes, but that was it. That was all they told me. They were like you're Cliff's daughter but don't play it and don't tell anyone. So that was what I got."
But when she was finally able to reveal her parentage, she played the personality switch expertly, still seeming sensitive and vulnerable despite her allegiance to Cliff. "I got to play so many levels of a character," she says. "I got to play so many different layers of this girl and I got to really be very diverse and really have all these feelings, like these true feelings. I mean, she was really playing three people. She was the con artist that she was with Tommy (Callard Harris), she is in love with Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and she's also behind the scenes of everything."
In fact, after the finale it was obvious she was not blindly following daddy’s orders. She was the one who brought in Tommy after all, and ultimately, took his life. "She is Cliff Barnes's daughter," Gonzalo said. "She put together Tommy, and you basically realized she was the mastermind behind all of it. And at the end of the day she's trying to make her dad proud just like John Ross (Josh Henderson) is, just like Christopher is."
Rebecca’s new parentage also casts an odd light on her relationship with Christopher, beyond the whole revenge thing. Even though they are not biologically related, they are indeed cousins by marriage. And her real name? Pamela Rebecca Barnes, the same as Chris’ adoptive mother, Bobby’s first wife and Cliff’s sister. And despite the deception, she has developed real feelings for him.
"Yes the reality of it all is that I am married to my first cousin," she said. "Sure, not related by blood but it is kind of weird. It's interesting. It's interesting to know the reality of this role and I don't know where it's going and that's to be completely honest with you. The idea that she is married to her cousin, I don't know. I think she is in love with him. She really is in love with him, she fell for him. She fell for her mark as we like to call it. I do believe that Rebecca does have feelings for Chris, she did fall in love with him. But now I think the tables have been turned, the cat's out of the bag and she might be a bit pissed. So I don't know what the future holds, I really don't. I wish I did but I can only be blessed that the writers are so talented and they're so willing to write such beautiful storylines for myself and the rest of the cast. So I'm leaving it to their hands."
So now that we know who dear old dad is, what about mom? Possibly from the one-night stand he had back in the 80s? No one was really sure who that woman was. "My mom has not been addressed as far as me talking to anyone on the show," Gonzalo said. "I’ve read things about who Rebecca's mom is. Obviously there's so many websites and so many back stories and storylines from the original so I'm aware of who actually should be her mom but I haven't been told anything."
Season two begins filming next month, but Gonzalo is still unaware about how involved she has been with her father up until this point. "I don't know the back story," she says. "I believe - again it's all my imagination at this point - but yes, I do believe she did grow up hearing how the Ewings were bad and the Ewings took everything from the Barnes and the Ewings this and the Ewings that. So I think it's something you're raised with and whether you want it or not it's just engraved in your body and soul. I really would like to get into the center of what drove Rebecca to do everything she's been doing so far."
She is also unsure about where things will go with Christopher, especially after his hookup with Elena (Jordana Brewster). One thing she is sure of – Elena better watch her back, and anyone else who gets in her way. "Don’t piss her off, she's got a gun," she joked. "I think at this point she knows that things are pretty bad with Christopher. I think that there might not be a way out. I don't want to say that she's fully going into the dark side. I don't know if she's fully going to go evil. I don't believe in villains. I believe that they're all coming from a place of truth. Whether you want to take that as good or bad that's your prerogative I guess. But I don't know. I think she always saw it coming. Elena has always been something very, very dear and special to Chris and she's not stupid. Rebecca's not a stupid girl. She's a very, very smart girl. She's a very calculating girl. She can be very manipulative. In a way she fooled everyone. She fooled Tommy, she fooled Chris, she fooled the audience, she fooled a lot of people so you can't underestimate this girl. I wouldn't want to be on the bad side of her."
That almost sounds like another character near and dear to the audience – JR. "Wow I could only hope and pray because that would be fun," Gonzalo said. "That's always how I saw her. My God I wish I could be in the writers' room right now and let you know, but that would be amazing. JR is a guy you love to hate for over 30 years. If I'm the female version, which I don't think I could ever reach such highs, but I will sure try. Yes I'm in."
Season Two of TNT’s "Dallas" reboot returns January 28, 2013.
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- Hollie Deese