The last time we heard anything about the pointlessly-long-in-development big-screen rendition of Dallas, it was April of 2006 and Ms. Jessica Barnes was saying this: "The flick has been put on hold." Period. And we pretty much hoped figured the project was dead. Well it's back.

Yes, John Travolta will still be playing J.R. Ewing (well, thank GOD), but the director will no longer be Gurinder Chadha. Now think carefully, movie geeks. If you were producing a comedy version of a corny and antiquated ol' prime-time soap opera ... who would you get to direct the thing? Sure, why not the woman who helmed The Brady Bunch Movie and Private Parts? ...and Doctor Dolittle and ... well, I Spy. Yep, according to Variety it's Betty Thomas who'll be directing the inevitably uproarious big-screen version of Dallas. Hot Rod screenwriter Pam Brady will take over on scripting duty.

And yes, they're going for laughs with this version. On purpose, I mean. The original series had to get its chuckles the hard way: unintentionally. But don't go into this new version if you're a fan of the source material. We're told "there is also hope that a comedy about the dysfunctional Ewings will appeal to a younger audience." Makes perfect sense: Take a show that kids have never heard of, make a movie out of it, and gear it towards those kids. Production is scheduled to get underway in January, so expect all sorts of wacky casting announcements real soon.