Regency and 20th Century Fox have recruited a new writer and director to tackle the long-stalled big screen version of "Dallas."
According to Variety, Pam Brady ("Hot Rod") has been hired to write the latest draft of the "Dallas" script, with Betty Thomas in negotiations to direct.
The only cast member who definitely remains attached is John Travolta as oil tycoon J.R. Ewing.
The trade paper says that Thomas, who directed the spoofy "Brady Bunch Movie," and sitcom vet Brady ("The Loop") are looking to bring a funnier take to the material, which has been shedding directors and actors for over a year.
"Dallas" had already spent an extended period in development hell when "Legally Blonde" helmer Robert Luketic bailed last April. He was replaced by Gurinder Chadha, who hoped to begin production by November 2006 with a cast including Travolta, Jennifer Lopez, Luke Wilson and Shirley MacLaine.
Lopez was gone by August, replaced as Sue Ellen Ewing by Meg Ryan, but in October, Variety reported that the entire cast (with the exception of Travolta and the possible exception of Katie Cassidy as Lucy Ewing) had been dumped. At the time, Chadha had hoped to stay on and work with Robert Harling ("Steel Magnolias") on a script.
Thomas, whose other credits include "Doctor Dolittle," "Private Parts" and "John Tucker Must Die," will now go in a different direction, one that Variety emphasizes will almost certainly be less expensive.
"Dallas" ran on the small screen from 1978-1991 and followed the backstabbing adventures of oil magnate J.R. (Larry Hagman) and his Lone Star clan.