James Van Der Beek says we’ve just seen the beginning of “Van Der Week” on Funny or Die. First there was James Van Der Meems. Then there was A–hole For Hire. And coming up later this week? “Me endorsing a line of DILF khakis,” he laughs.
“I’d been poking around [Funny or Die], laughing at all the stuff, and I wanted to join in,” he tells EW. “One of the writers there tentatively said, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a five-second GIF of you crying?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’m well aware of it.’“
Van Der Beek first discovered ‘crying Dawson’ when he started using Twitter. “People would tweet stuff like ‘classic @vanderjames!‘ and I’d expect it to be, like, something heroic from Varsity Blues or a cool shot from Rules of Attraction. But inevitably, it was always the crying gif. It would happen quite often, and I’d always fall for it. And I’d always laugh.”
Van Der Beek says he feels “so detached from Dawson” these days it’s easy to laugh at himself and the character. (The crying? Unscripted! Pure, pure Van Der Beek.) “If it was someone else, I’d be like, ‘Oh man, that poor actor. This was probably a really difficult scene for them,’ or whatever. But because it’s me, I can look at it without any pity.”
Crying Dawson might be a product of the Internet, but “A–hole for Hire” came from Van Der Beek’s regular life. (Contains NSFW language.)
“People I met…especially guys, were always saying that,” says Van Der Beek. “We’d be having a beer or something, and after the third beer, they’d say [in a drunk voice] ‘You know, I gotta say, man, you’re a cool guy, but before I met you, I f—ing hated you! Because my girlfriend loved you!'” He laughs. (I laugh, too. The guy does a really good drunk voice.)
So what’s next after Van Der Week? “I’m really open to jumping back into everything,” the new dad says. “I did the last 10 episodes of Mercy, and I really fell in love with television again. It’ll be interesting to see what pilot season brings up.” Van Der Beek says he and Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson have lunch often, but haven’t talked about an appearance on The Vampire Diaries. “People on Twitter are always asking about it,” he admits. “It’s never come up, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”