Steel Magnolias Writer Pens "Dallas" Script for Feature Film Version of TV Soap

News   Steel Magnolias Writer Pens "Dallas" Script for Feature Film Version of TV Soap Steel Magnolias playwright Robert Harling has long been a fan of soap operas, and even sent them up in his screenplay for "Soapdish," which, as previously reported, he's now turning into a stage musical.

The next movie project for Harling, who also penned screenplays for "Steel Magnolias" and "First Wives Club," is a feature-film tweaking of the pop culture soap smash "Dallas."

The David Jacobs-created prime-time CBS series about the Ewing family of Texas was an international hit in the 1980s, when excess was prized in pop culture; it wasn't long after "Dallas" scored that ABC offered the Denver-set knockoff "Dynasty."

The attempted murder of oil mogul J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) made headlines and the cover of Time magazine 25 years ago. "Dallas" even got its own spinoff, the hit "Knots Landing," prized by fans as superior, characterful caviar compared to the codfish that was "Dallas."

Will Harling's "Dallas" movie be a serious opus in the style of "Giant," the big-screen soaper that prefigured the Ewing saga?

"I don't think there's any way you can look at that series without looking at it askew," Harling told Playbill.com. "There's so many things you can do with it now, if you talk about corrupt power coming out of Texas and huge corporations defrauding people. It's ripped out of the headlines. If you can't take that ball and run with it on some sort of satirical level, what's the point?" He said it won't be camp, but it will be comic. A script is complete.

"We're waiting to hear from the studio," Harling said. "The next step is to cast our J.R. and Sue Ellen and Miss Ellie…"

Steel Magnolias continues at the Lyceum Theatre.