James Van Der Beek is finally back on TV in ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23—and he’s come a long way from playing Dawson Leary on Dawson’s Creek.
In an interview with NBC New York, Van Der Beek said, “I auditioned against six other James Van Der Beeks for this role. I was lucky that four of them were not actors, and two of them didn’t speak English so by default, it was me. No, this has been the most fun I think I’ve ever had doing anything. We came up with this character. By Episode 3, I thought it bore, you know, less and less resemblance to me, which just made it even more fun…I had done some Funny or Die stuff and just had some fun and kind of realized if you tell a joke at a party, you always get more laughs if it’s a self-deprecating joke as opposed to a self-aggrandizing one.”
It’s been quite some time since he hung up his flannel on the WB. Van Der Beek said, “I think once the residual money ran out is really when it became okay to make fun of it. Thankfully they’ve kept me around Hollywood long enough to kind of have a second coming, and it’s a lot more fun not to take myself so seriously, and so this is a great opportunity just to have a lot of laughs and just be part of something that I’m really, really proud of. I mean, the reason to do this, when I was reading the script and just looking at the people involved, it was like a comedy dream team. It was far and away the funniest script I read this pilot season, or really any pilot season.”
Because Van Der Beek is playing himself, it would be easy to assume they’re the same person, but the actor is quick to point out that they aren’t very similar. He said, “This character is just kind of crazy. Like, he’s really sweet, but he’s completely narcissistic. He’s got so many blind spots, and so it was really fun to kind of exploit those blind spots and see what they were and just go as far as we possibly could and into the land of ridiculous but still keep it grounded somehow, which is what the writing allows us to do.”
But don’t get Van Der Beek wrong—he doesn’t believe he’s the star of the show. He said, “I really am just part of the ensemble. I mean, the show’s not based on me. It’s really about these two girls and their relationship and their dynamic and living in New York City, all the crazy adventures they go through. I’m just kind of seasoning to the steak.”
Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt. 23 airs on ABC, Wednesday nights at 9:30 PM.