Lone Star: Inside Fox’s Hot New Drama

By Fred Topel

HollywoodNews.com: Fox’s big new show for the fall is Lone Star, a drama set in the oil business of Texas. Newcomer James Wolk plays Bob Allen. He’s a con artist leading a double life, one with a wife and the other with a girlfriend, with a different business scheme on each side.

Wolk and his costars and producer presented their show at the Paley Center for Media for PaleyFest: Fall TV Previews. He says he’s gotten good at playing both of his characters on Lone Star.

“I’m actually kind of feeling real good in both of them,” Wolk said. “I am. They’re too different worlds but they’re both fun to play in. Now that I’ve gotten into the character, it makes it much easier.”

Adrianne Palicki plays one of Bob’s ladies, Cat Thatcher. You may know her from TV’s Friday Night Lights. Lone Star shows her in a new light.

“It’s a different concept,” Palicki said. “It’s a different kind of show. Friday Night Lights was very, very gritty and real. This has elements of that but it also has a little bit of that soapy sexy feel that Friday Night Lights didn’t have. Also I get to play completely different characters. I was a high school student on the wrong side of the tracks and now I’m a socialite from the right side of the tracks playing my own age which is awesome.”

Just introducing the con artist and his multiple identities and schemes provides a lot of twists and surprises for episode one. Series creator Kyle Killen promises to keep the twists coming.

“I think when you have a conman at the center of your story, his past, present and future is sort of inherently littered with twists,” Killen said. “I think that’s definitely an ongoing component of the show. I think that’s a balance that we’re constantly trying to strike. How slow is too slow and how fast is too fast? I think the daily management of two literally separate but equal lives and then having his father at the center of that sort of allied against him is something that’s constantly forcing Bob to reinvent himself and his situation so you’re never in one place too long before it has to change.”

Each episode may reveal a hole in Bob’s story. Maybe one of his women will catch on that his stories don’t add up. Palicki thinks she’ll have other things to worry about instead.

“Bob does such a great job at being present in both of his lives,” she said. “She’s also going to have her own things to deal with. Her ex-husband Harry comes back into the picture that she has a seven-year-old daughter with. That’s going to throw a little wrench in her world and maybe her relationship with Bob as well.”

Maybe trying to guess the twists of Lone Star is the wrong approach. Killen’s point with the show is that it’s easy to fall for people like Bob. “We just don’t question each other,” Killen said. “When I tell you that I’m from a certain place, you just believe it. That’s just sort of how we’re trained. We know it’s a show about a conman so we expect to question everything but I think in real life people accept a lot. Bob actually gets a long way on that.”

The show films in Dallas to capture the authentic Texas scenery. It might get brutal for Palicki. “Oh my God, the food in Dallas is unbelievable,” she said. “I might be 300 pounds by the next time you see me.”

It’s also a new world since a TV show explored the oil business of Dallas. “I think how different it is than the oil business they may remember from Dallas,” Killen said. “It’s literally a business. Jon Voight sort of represents the throwback, wildcat, seat of your pants, go with your gut approach to it. His children and Bob have sort of evolved into it’s something you learn how to do at Wharton instead of out in the field.”

LoneStar certainly keeps its star busy. Between the two lives, the oil business and carrying the lead of the show, Wolk is getting a workout. “It’s getting [to be] long days, 14 hour days,” Wolk said. “It’s getting wonderful. Look at these beautiful people over here. I get to work with them all the time. It demands not sleeping. It’s a rigorous schedule, that kind of an emotionally charged journey so it’s a lot of preparation, a lot of work but well worth it.”

Lone Star premieres September 20 on Fox. 

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