James Van Der Beek: Emmy contender for playing himself on ‘Don’t Trust …’?
"It would be a real laugh if people decided to start taking me seriously now that I've completely stopped taking myself seriously in any way, shape, or form," says James Van Der Beek of the prospect of earning an Emmy nomination for the comedy series "Dont Trust … Apt. 23," which debuted on April 11 on ABC. On the series, he plays a parody of himself, trying to find fame and notoriety beyond his signature role on "Dawson's Creek."
"My joke usually whenever we're doing something really ridiculous," he says, "I turn to the crew and go, 'I smell Emmy!'" But a nomination for Van Der Beek may not be completely farfetched. In recent years, several actors have earned nominations for poking fun at their celebrity personas: Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"; Louis C.K. on "Louie"; Matt LeBlanc on "Episodes"; and guest stars on Ricky Gervais's "Extras," including Kate Winslet and Patrick Stewart.
Van Der Beek may still best be known as the lovable title character from "Dawson's Creek" – "quite possibly the sweetest human being on the face of the Earth," says the actor – but in recent years he has been playing against his nice-guy image, appearing in a series of Funny Or Die videos including "A**hole for Hire," in which a penitent Van Der Beek makes amends for setting an unreasonably high standard for men in relationships. He has also played diabolical villains, including a recent turn in the May 2 episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in which he seduced the daughter of an ex-lover.
If nominated for "Don't Trust the B," he is unsure of what episode he'll submit to Emmy judges. "One of my favorites is actually going to air tomorrow night," he says, referring to the May 9 episode, "Making Rent," in which his character launches a line of sexy but uncomfortable menswear called Beek Jeans. "I don't really know if what I do in it is great, I just like the episode itself, because [Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker] are so funny in it … I think actors are probably the worst at deciding what's good work and what's not. I know for myself, personally, unless I have so much distance from it, I can't be objective at all. Give me a couple of years and I'll decide, okay, that's the best one to submit."
"Don't Trust the B" was renewed on May 11. The seventh and final episode of its truncated first season airs on May 23, with the remaining six episodes of its first season order to be held until the series's return.