Nevermind that Brenda Strong is working on the relaunch of iconic TV series "Dallas" opposite original cast member Patrick Duffy, she's just happy to play a living character.
"It's nice to be above ground and chewing up some scenery," said Strong, who has played the deceased Mary Alice Young on "Desperate Housewives" since 2004. "It's been so nice to allow myself to breathe, no pun intended, a character again."
The 52-year-old actress plays Ann Ryland Ewing in "Dallas," what TNT is calling a continuation of the series that aired from 1978 to 1991 on CBS.
Ann is the new wife of Bobby Ewing, whom Duffy played for most of the run of the original series (except Season 8, when Bobby died; he came back in an infamous Season 9 shower scene that revealed all of Season 8 had been a dream of his then wife, Pam). Strong says Ann is "very much a Texan woman" who can take care of herself. She's fiercely loyal to and protective of Bobby and Southfork Ranch, and will protect Bobby against anyone who threatens the Ewing family.
"She's not a shrinking violet," Strong said. "She's a steel magnolia."
Strong recognizes that she has to convince viewers Ann is good for Bobby, not unlike how Bobby's first wife, Pam (Victoria Principal), had to convince the Ewing clan she was right for him in the original series.
Bobby's nefarious brother, J.R. (Larry Hagman), never accepted Pam. He and the new generation of Ewings seem to have accepted Ann into the fold.
"I'm hoping because of that the audience will [accept her] as well. I had some big shoes to fill with the previous wives. Pam and Bobby were the Romeo and Juliet of their time," Strong said, revealing that test audiences asked if Pam would be in the new series.
During a June 6 interview at Chicago's Ritz-Carlton, Strong talked more about Ann, working with the original "Dallas" cast members and how she guest starred as a one-night-stand of J.R.'s nemesis, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), in the Season 10 episode of the original series called "Cat and Mouse."
"I think I might have been the 'cat,'" she joked.
Watch the entire video interview above.