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‘Roseanne’ cast reveals who was behind getting actors on board

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By all accounts, Sara Gilbert was the mastermind behind the reboot of "Roseanne," not only getting the revival off the ground but also getting the entire cast on board.

"Sara Gilbert, she's on fire," Roseanne Barr said.

Although most of the cast members said the idea of a meeting up again on TV — in the form of a reunion show, for example — had crossed their minds, many said they'd worried that too much time had gone by for fans and viewers.

"Roseanne" premiered on ABC in October 1988 and chronicled the lives of the working-class Conner family: Roseanne; Dan; their children Darlene, Becky and D.J.; and Roseanne's sister Jackie Harris. The new season debuts March 27.

"Twenty years had passed and I'd given up hope on that, you know," said Laurie Metcalf, who played Aunt Jackie.

But, in March 2017, Gilbert, who played teen daughter Darlene and now cohosts on "The Talk," was sitting on a couch with her former TV dad John Goodman doing a quick sketch of the popular sitcom.

Goodman said the moment "felt like gold."

"It was just like falling out of bed," he said. "It was so easy."

Afterward, during an interview, he was asked whether he'd be interested in doing "Roseanne" again. He said, "Yeah."

Goodman later learned that he wasn't alone in his sentiments.

Gilbert said she'd thought "the climate" was ripe for a "Roseanne" return.

"I felt like having a working-class family on TV, talking about current issues, is something we need more of right now,” she said.

Three weeks later, after Gilbert had made the necessary calls and texts, a deal had been struck with ABC.

"I got a text from Sara Gilbert," said Lecy Goranson, who played Becky Conner for a time on the show. "I think I said probably like, 'Hell yeah!' … Then I thought about it and I went, 'What?!?!?'"

Roseanne Barr said she'd told Gilbert that if Goodman was in, she'd be a part of the revival.

Wary of any potential drama during production, Barr said she'd given Gilbert a list of things she needed in order to do the show without anxiety and stress.

"She (Gilbert) said, "I can do it.' And I said, 'All right. Well, then, do it.' And she did," Barr said.

"[Gilbert] decided that she was going to take it upon herself to bring everybody together," said Michael Fishman, who played the Conners' lone son, D.J., and the family's youngest child. "We all just jumped at it."

Fishman said there had been no hesitation on his part.

"There's always that risk of going back to an old character but to me, the idea of working with this group of people is, kind of, it's just a no-brainer," he said. "This is a dream come true. … It was a dream come true the first time around."

Metcalf, who was doing a play in New York when she got Gilbert's call, said that as a fan of the show she wanted to see what the Conners would be to in 2018.

"If I was curious about it," she said, "I imagine everybody was too, especially people who grew up knowing that family."

Gilbert said that although she'd wanted to do a revival of the show for years, she'd been afraid that Barr would be against it.

"I thought she might be afraid of tarnishing what we had already created," she said.

As for Barr, Gilbert said she'd assured her former TV mom that she'd be her buffer if any conflicts arose. Luckily, Gilbert said, there were no issues.

"It was such a loving, great experience that there was nothing to buffer," she said.

Sarah Chalke, who took over the role of Becky when Goranson left for college, said that when she got the call from Gilbert in the spring of 2107, her reaction was: "Yes, I'm in. Whatever you want me to do, I'm there."

In the new show, Chalke plays a woman who hires Becky, played by Goranson, as her surrogate.

"It (the show) has an amazing way of presenting both sides in such a real, relatable way," Chalke said. "They're a working-class family who, at the end of the day, really care about each other and love each other. … They fight and will have issues. At the bottom of it all, there's just so much love."

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