James Van Der Beek Can't Handle Talking About Dawson’s Creek

Frank Ockenfels/Warner Bros TV/REX/Shutterstock
For a few years in the '90s, James Van Der Beek reigned as America’s golden boy. The actor played Dawson Leery, star of Dawson’s Creek. For five years, the WB show tracked four friends riding through the bumps of adolescence together.
But when the American public’s short attention span moves on, the fall from grace can be hard. It’s made even harder when your three co-stars have gone on to careers dripping with prestige, accomplishment, and Academy Awards.
Michelle Williams, who played the ill-fated Jen Lindley, has gone on to garner four Oscar nominations. Katie Holmes, Dawson Creek's Joey Potter, shot to instant fame after marrying, and subsequently divorcing, Tom Cruise. Finally, Joshua Jackson left behind his days as Pacey Witter, and now stars in darker dramas, like Showtime’s critically acclaimed series The Affair.
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Where does that leave James Van Der Beek, if not lingering in the shadow of Dawson Leery? Twenty years on, Van Der Beek is still haunted by ghosts of his former glory. Nowhere was this more obvious, or more blush-inducing, than in today’s interview on British TV.
The actor, now 40, went on the U.K.-based show This Morning to talk about his new TV show. But all the hosts wanted to discuss was his stint as a 1990s teen heartthrob.
The interview gets off to a cringe-worthy start. After the hosts use Jackson, Holmes, and Williams’ impressive career trajectories as an introduction (and point of comparison), Van Der Beek is visibly uncomfortable.
“I have been on television in the last 20 years, I wanted to let you know,” Van Der Beek says flippantly.
Van Der Beek then tries to dissuade the hosts from continuing their Dawson’s Creek line of questioning.
“At a certain point, it became easier to do it, and let it go after that,” he laughs.
Amidst awkward laughter, the hosts reluctantly discuss Van Der Beek's new project. The actor clearly isn't over how awkward the interview was, though — and to be frank, neither are we. What a doozy!
At least Van Der Beek's return to television is certain. You can catch him playing Diplo in a new television series called What Would Diplo Do. Yes, seriously.
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