Lopez and Travolta lined up for 'Dallas' film

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If you can still hum the theme music to Dallas, then prepare for thrilling news. Long-gestating plans to turn the iconic 1980s television soap into a full-screen blockbuster are close to becoming a reality. That shadow on the horizon? It's JR Ewing in his Texas-sized, 10-gallon-hat.

The wonder, really, is that Dallas, which held millions of us hostage in our living rooms one night a week from 1978 until 1991, has never made it to the cineplex before. Dallas was no ordinary soap. On 21 March 1980, 82 million Americans tuned in to find out who had fired a gun at JR the season before."Who Shot JR?" became a pop slogan of its time. The episode remains the second most-watched television event ever in the US after the last broadcast of Mash. It was much the same story in Britain.

The show, which offered addicts a weekly fix of the back-biting shenanigans of the Ewing oil clan, headed by JR and his booze-soaked wife, Sue-Ellen, is also remembered as the first soap opera to make it in to the primetime schedules.

But Hollywood has now overcome its shyness in remaking the iconic soap, it would seem. According to Daily Variety, work is almost complete on finding a cast, although no contracts are yet signed. Jennifer Lopez is apparently on tap to play Sue-Ellen. Before you declare the project doomed, consider the other star names that have also allegedly been lined up: John Travolta, Luke Wilson and Shirley MacLaine.

Travolta will be our new JR. MacLaine will be the matriarch of the family, Miss Ellie Ewing, while Wilson has been asked to step up as JR's slightly dim brother, Bobby. And remember the scheming daughter, Lucy? It seems they want Lindsay Lohan for that part.

Responsible for all of this is 20th Century Fox and the Australian director Robert Luketic, who brought us the Legally Blonde films. He wants to start shooting this October. But Luketic is being tempted by financial breaks in places other than Dallas, including Canada, Florida and Louisiana. The real Dallas, of course, is mortified.

"The thought of Dallas being made in Toronto is not a good idea," said Dallas's Mayor, Laura Miller, last week. The Dallas Film Commission has launched an 11th-hour campaign - "Shoot JR in Dallas".