Gurinder Chadha has confirmed that she is to direct Twentieth Century Fox's screen adaptation of TV series Dallas(which ran from 1978-1991.)

Thefilm, scripted by Robert Harling (Steel Magnolias), will star JohnTravolta as Texas oil magnate JR Ewing and Jennifer Lopez as hishard-drinking wife, Sue Ellen. Luke Wilson and Shirley Maclaine are inadvanced negotiations to play Bobby Ewing and Miss Ellie.

Chadha acknowledged that the film, due to shoot in the autumn, willhave "a Syriana element."

"The script, while it honours the fabuloustrashiness of the original series, is quite knowledgeable about thefact that oil is a central issue in America right now," she toldScreenDaily.The director hopes to retain the TV series' distinctive theme music aswell as well as its idiosyncratic titles. However, there are unlikelyto be walk-on parts for old cast members in the new movie.

Dallas is budgeted at more than $60m. "A lot of that budget will begoing to Sue Ellen's liquor," Chadha joked, but refused to divulgewhether or not JR Ewing will be shot in the movie (as he famously wasin a 1980 episode of the TV series.)

The Mistress Of Spices, which Chadha co-scripted and produced with PaulMayeda Berges, was released by Entertainment on 55 prints in the UKthis week.

Meanwhile, the prolific Chadha latest's film will be seen in Cannesnext month. She is one of the directors who has contributed segments toportmanteau picture, Paris Je T'Aime, which will be opening thefestival's Un Certain Regard sidebar.