DALLAS – City officials say there's no substitute for the original when it comes to producing a movie version of the long-running "Dallas" television series.
The Dallas Film Commission has launched the "Shoot JR in Dallas" campaign in hopes of luring the film's producers to North Texas.
"The thought of `Dallas' being made in Toronto is not a good idea," Mayor Laura Miller said.
Dallas officials have said they hope to attract 20th Century Fox by getting the private sector involved to offer incentives. They estimate the film would generate $30 million for the local economy, along with jobs and publicity.
On Wednesday, officials urged residents to help the cause by writing letters and purchasing shirts and hats bearing the "Shoot JR in Dallas" slogan.
In 1980, an estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to the CBS prime-time soap opera to find out who shot J.R. Ewing ( Larry Hagman). The conniving Texas oil baron was blasted within an inch of his life in the previous season's cliffhanger finale. (The shooter turned out to be Ewing's sister-in-law Kristin.)
The Texas Legislature passed a bill last year to offer movie producers up to a $750,000 rebate for production costs, but the initiative remains unfunded.
Other cities are also making a case to host the movie, which is planned for production next fall. Film commissioners from Canada to Louisiana and Florida have made pitches offering their cities as stand-ins.
"A lot of these decisions are about economics," said Paul Sirmons, film commissioner for Florida. "Truthfully, I don't think authenticity plays a big role."
Michael Costigan, co-producer of the big-screen version, told The Dallas Morning News in February that he'd prefer to "make the whole film in Dallas."
"It's now going to come down to really making the numbers work with our studio," he said.
Calgary Film Commissioner Beth Thompson said her city's proposal to host the movie could be hurt by a lack of "big, mansion-style houses."
But the prairies to Calgary's east — opposite the Canadian Rockies — could set the scene of a prairie metropolis.
"It depends on what angle you shoot from. East of here, we have prairies all over the place," she said.