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Martin Schoeller/TNT

Jesse Metcalfe joins the warring Ewing clan on TNT’s buzzed-about Dallas relaunch.

What Jesse Metcalfe’s roles may lack in variety — he played a hot gardener involved in a steamy romance on ABC’s Desperate Housewives and now stars as a hot rancher involved in a steamy romance on TNT’s Dallas reboot — they make up for in sizzle. But Metcalfe insists his latest role is a step up in the maturity department. “I’ve grown up a bit,” he says. “I’m riding horses and herding cattle now. It’s a lot different than running a weed whacker.” The 33-year-old plays Christopher Ewing, the good-hearted, environmentally conscious son of Patrick Duffy’s Bobby Ewing, facing off with his evil (and apparently bulletproof) uncle, J.R. Ewing, and J.R.’s son, John Ross. As the drama builds, we get Metcalfe to spill about the show and his enviable assignments.

American Way: What is it with you and Texas? Your acting gigs — first the NBC drama Chase, now Dallas — keep taking you to the Lone Star State.
Jesse Metcalfe: Circumstance, man. I love Texas. For a guy who grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut, shooting Dallas in Dallas is one of life’s great adventures, and it lends so much authenticity to our show.

AW: This isn’t a reinvention so much as it’s a sequel, with a lot of the old gang returning.
JM: Yeah, and it’s amazing. Doing the show together for 14 years, they became very close friends. I was born the year Dallas premiered, so I didn’t watch it then, but I’ve watched a few seasons of it recently. It was a great, great show — cutting-edge in its style of storytelling and acting.

AW: Twenty years ago, J.R. Ewing was a supervillain the likes of whom were hardly seen. Today, guys like him are omnipresent in the headlines.
JM: Totally true. It’s amazing how society has changed in just the last 20 to 25 years. But don’t worry, the stage is set for J.R. to be as bad as he ever was. Maybe worse.

AW: And on Dallas, you will continue to romance beautiful women.
JM: I have been very, very blessed in my work. [Laughs]

Live Like a Local
While filming Dallas in its titular city, Jesse Metcalfe got to know what he calls “one of the greatest cities on Earth.” Here, he shares his recommendations for where to go while visiting the Big D.
Best Eats
“Amazing food and amazing atmosphere — Chesterfield couches, taxidermy on the walls, cigar bar in back. And Javier, the owner, is the real-life guy from the Dos Equis commercials. He’s got to be the most interesting guy in the world.”
Best Live Music
The Prophet Bar
“Great vibe. Great bands.”
Best Art
Meadows Museum
“This museum is amazing, and the outdoor garden is mind-blowing.”
Best Golf
Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth
“It’s a Top-10 course, part of the Upper Tour, steeped in rich heritage and old money. You can feel the affluence. Playing here, it’s like actually being one of the guys I’m pretending to be on TV.”