Re­turn of a Creek god

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story - DAR­REN DEV­LYN

AM­AGAZINE named him one of the 50 most beau­ti­ful peo­ple in the world and he had a le­gion of fe­male fans who wor­shipped his ev­ery line of di­a­logue.

No won­der it took James Van Der Beek the best part of a decade to feel com­fort­able with the enor­mous fame he found as teen drama hunk Daw­son Leery.

When Daw­son’s Creek ended in 2003, Van Der Beek did ev­ery­thing in his power to dis­tance him­self from the Daw­son char­ac­ter. He played a va­ri­ety of roles — a doc­tor, se­rial killer, FBI agent and kid­nap­per among them — to prove he had depth and ver­sa­til­ity as a per­former.

Now he’s achieved that, he is show­ing he has a sense of hu­mour by play­ing a height­ened ver­sion of him­self in the edgy and ac­claimed sit­com, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apart­ment 23.

He stars along­side Krys­ten Rit­ter, who plays the mean­spir­ited Chloe.

‘‘ It’s the most fun I’ve had on any job . . . one of those mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences where it all gels,’’ Van Der Beek, 35, says of the show.

Van Der Beek’s rise to promi­nence was not easy.

He was iden­ti­fied as dyslexic in kinder­garten and learned to read in a spe­cial class, later be­com­ing an hon­ours stu­dent.

He be­gan act­ing af­ter a se­ri­ous con­cus­sion stopped him from play­ing football.

His star rose in Daw­son’s Creek, but he could eas­ily have wrecked his ca­reer for good af­ter leav­ing the show. ‘‘ There was a pe­riod (af­ter Daw­son’s) where I said no to ev­ery­thing, was very pes­simistic. I could have passed into ir­rel­e­vance. I was burnt out,’’ he says.

‘‘ Once the show ended, my re­sponse was to get as far away from it as pos­si­ble. I got to a point where I made a con­scious de­ci­sion to say yes to things.

‘‘ If you say no enough times, peo­ple will stop of­fer­ing.’’ Don’t Trust the B---- in Apart­ment 23, Arena, Mon­day, 7.30pm

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