The TNT reboot of the classic serial is well into production on Season 2, which debuts Monday, Jan. 28. Since she plays the apparent, newly revealed stepdaughter of Bobby Ewing, many of Bell’s scenes have been with Patrick Duffy, Brenda Strong and fellow cast newcomer Judith Light — who plays her grandmother — but she still felt firsthand the effect of the late actor who was iconic as the wily J.R.
“I didn’t know Larry as much as everyone else did,” Bell admits to Zap2it of starting “Dallas” while Hagman was still working on it, “but from the first day I met him, he was incredibly warm and welcoming … and just this incredible spirit, such a bright color.
“I think that’s the biggest sadness on the set, just losing the man,” adds Bell. “Everyone had all these amazing stories, and I learned so much more about him as a person through the proceeding days and the memorial service.”
A big dose of “Dallas” also familiarized Bell with Hagman as J.R.: “I watched some of the original and the first season of this version, but my mother was the one who was incredibly excited about my working with him in that capacity. I knew him from ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ I used to watch it with my grandmother, and I had the biggest crush on him.”
Thus far, Bell has made her mark largely in horror projects, including the first season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and such movies as “Final Destination 5” and “Frozen.” She doesn’t deny it’s nice now to wear makeup of a more traditional kind for “Dallas,” in which her character also happens to be named Emma.
“The second season was harder for me than this [past] season,” Bell says of watching “The Walking Dead” after her exit. “The second season was like, ‘Oh, I was just there,’ and they still referred to my character a lot. It wasn’t like, ‘I don’t want to watch this,’ but it was a little bit painful. We kind of went through a zombie apocalypse together, and that creates bonds.”