Photo Credit: Josh Madson
It's Monday, which means viewers are mere hours away from being treated to the latest installment of Dallas. Easily one of the most exciting shows on primetime, Dallas has more twists and turns in one episode than most shows do in an entire season. And, the show has mastered what I like to affectionately call "the hook" -- the writers always seem to know how to leave you wanting more... and yes, counting down the hours until the next episode.
However incredible though the writing may be, the show has an even greater embarrassment of riches in the acting department. Literal television legends grace fans' TV screens each week... Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Mitch Pileggi, Brenda Strong, and Judith Light (whose character becomes more deliciously wicked with every episode) just to name a few. So imagine how hard it would be to stand out each week among such greats... but that's exactly what Emma Bell ('Emma') does. Watch one episode and you'll see... no one does naughty, nice, and misunderstood like Bell... and much like the writers, she always leaves fans wanting more.
The Reel Spin: 'Emma' has definitely transitioned into a fantastically complicated character. How much fun is it to play a role with such exciting complexities?
Emma Bell: Playing 'Emma' is a blast mixed with a little bit of whiplash! I mean that in the most loving way. She is truly a different creature practically every episode. We have such fantastic writers for me it's not about 'acting' the words, it's about coloring her transitions. How she moves from one feeling and situation to the next, and conveying that despite her complexities, it all stems from a very simple place of mistrust and loneliness. How she covers that up is the exciting thing.
TRS: This season it looks like 'Emma' is starting to find her strength and slowly starting to figure out who she is. How do you think this new identity will impact her relationship with her mother 'Ann' (Brenda Strong), father 'Harris' (Mitch Pileggi), and even her grandmother (Judith Light)?
Bell: She is most certainly finding her own voice this season, only she's a couple years behind when most young adults do it. This makes for a more forceful awakening I think. 'Emma' is a bit like a flame thrower right now. She's pushing everyone to their limits, because she's pushing herself there too, and they all get a little burned by it.
TRS: What is it like being a part of show like Dallas with all of its history and working alongside actors who are TV legends?
Bell: To be a working actor is never something to take for granted, and to be working on a show such as Dallas with the heavyweights we have is a gift. Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Brenda Strong, Mitch Pileggi and Judith Light are all icons in my book, and have been amazing mentors but more importantly friends. For all their star power, they are seriously down to earth people. It's a great education. In fact the entire team of cast and crew all the way to the LA writer's room and TNT are stellar people.
TRS: 'Emma' has a love of horses. Did you have to take riding lessons for the show or do you also have a similar love?
Bell: I grew up loving horses. As a young girl I rode for about 5 minutes before my helmet fell over my eyes and I fell from the horse. I got back up though! But I never really went back to it. Cut to 15 years later, playing a character who is a bona fide equestrian is one of the best aspects of the job! We have a fantastic trainer on set who makes sure my helmet doesn't fall in my eyes anymore.
TRS: You portray a character with a million surprises up her sleeve. What do you think fans would actually be surprised to learn about you?
Bell: She becomes so entangled in the web she's weaving this year, it will be easy to follow her down that rabbit hole. The surprise will come when you get to see her actually face her demons, and how she struggles with it. She has a beautiful arc this season, and I'm excited for people to witness it.
Watch Dallas on TNT Mondays 9/8c.
Follow Emma Bell on Twitter @EmmaBell17
Interview by Pamela Thomas