The Cast Of Dawson’s Creek Have Reunited – And It’ll Transport You Right Back To Capeside

Throughout the years, there have been a number of television shows that have left lasting legacies. Dawson’s Creek is certainly one of them, as the popular teen series made its mark during its six seasons from 1998 to 2003. And in March 2018 the cast of the show reunited to celebrate Dawson’s Creek’s 20th anniversary – a move that may have thrilled long-time fans and ’90s nostalgics alike.

Fresh from the success of penning the first two Scream movies, Kevin Williamson was the man responsible for first bringing Dawson’s Creek into the world. And the drama – which made its debut on screens in January 1998 – charted the lives of four teenagers in the fictional town of Capeside, including the eponymous Dawson Leery. Unlike a lot of similar shows from that time, though, it had an ace up its sleeve.

In particular, Dawson’s Creek’s dialogue really stood out – not least because it neatly matched the whip-smart tone of Williamson’s previous work. And perhaps down in part to the repartee between its characters, the show ran for almost 130 episodes before coming to an end in 2003. Along the way, too, it both built a loyal fan base and made stars of its young cast.

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Among those cast members, of course, was James Van Der Beek, who played Dawson, a film buff with aspirations of becoming a director. Van Der Beek grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut, alongside his two younger siblings and had harbored early ambitions of becoming a sportsman. However, after picking up a concussion in high school, he altered his plans.

Instead, Van Der Beek started to show an interest in theater. And during his time at the prestigious Cheshire Academy, the youngster showcased his talents in a number of different ways, including through a stint with the college choir. In 1993, though, everything changed when he made his small-screen debut.

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That year, Van Der Beek featured in an episode of the Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All. This would be the start of a TV career that would eventually lead him to his break-out role; before that part eventually arrived, though, he earned his first film role in 1995’s Angus.

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And the actor’s rise didn’t end there, naturally. After having made appearances in TV shows such as Aliens in the Family and As the World Turns, Van Der Beek scored his second film role in 1996; he featured in I Love You, I Love You Not, a romantic drama starring Jude Law and Claire Danes. And off the back of that early work, he was then cast in Dawson’s Creek.

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However, Van Der Beek’s co-star Joshua Jackson had a far busier childhood before being cast as Dawson’s best bud Pacey Witter. Jackson had initially been raised in California but would return to Vancouver, Canada – his place of birth. Then, following the separation of their parents, the youngster and his sister went on to stay with their mom.

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And Jackson started to show aspirations of becoming an actor during those early years – much to his mother’s dismay. After all, she had had experience of the business herself through working as a casting director. Jackson’s mom failed to dissuade him, though, and so the Vancouver native bagged his first film role in 1991’s Crooked Hearts.

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Then Jackson earned one of his breakout roles the following year after he joined the cast of Disney’s The Mighty Ducks; he also starred as Charlie Conway in the film’s two sequels over the next four years. Nor would that be the end of the fledgling star’s time on screen.

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Jackson bagged two parts in a couple of television movies, in fact, and then appeared in a 1997 episode of The Outer Limits. And his brief appearance in Scream 2 later that year was somewhat significant, too. You see, it marked the first time that he had worked with Williamson ahead of his casting in Dawson’s Creek.

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Of course, though, Van Der Beek and Jackson formed only half of the show’s leading quartet. And as fans know, Katie Holmes also famously made her name in the show by playing Joey Potter – Dawson’s childhood friend and on/off love interest throughout much of the series’ run.

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Holmes had grown up in Ohio alongside her four older siblings and had been a bright student with excellent grades at school. Even so, her future aspirations didn’t involve a life in academia. Instead, Holmes harbored a real interest in becoming an actress, and her mother played an important role in helping her realize that dream.

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When Holmes turned 17, you see, both she and her mom arrived in Los Angeles with the intention to seek out auditions. It wouldn’t be until 1997, though, when the aspiring actress finally landed her first on-screen role in The Ice Storm. For the film, she joined a star-studded cast that included Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci and Tobey Maguire.

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And following Holmes’ appearance in that movie, she ultimately earned a place in the Dawson’s Creek cast. There, she would join Michelle Williams, who took on the character of Jen Lindley. Lindley was something of a “bad girl” on the show, although she eventually fell for Dawson over time.

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Williams had grown up in Kalispell, Montana, with her mom and dad. And much like her future co-stars, she showed an interest in acting at a young age. Williams started off her career while still a child, too, by featuring in a 1993 episode of Baywatch.

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Then the following year, the aspiring star appeared on the big screen in a movie version of Lassie. A small stint on TV came next as Williams nabbed a one-episode role in Home Improvement, after which she returned to films through horror flick Species.

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And more spells on screen for Williams came courtesy of movie Timemaster and short-lived show Raising Caines. She also appeared in two television films in 1996 and 1997 before landing a part in A Thousand Acres alongside Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Colin Firth.

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Then, off the back of those performances, Williams scored her breakthrough role on Dawson’s Creek. Outside of the series’ leading quartet, though, there were several other characters that stood out on the drama – including Busy Philipps’ Audrey Liddell. Philipps was a latecomer to Dawson’s Creek, having joined the cast in 2001, but she nevertheless made her mark on the show.

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Years before becoming a TV star, though, Philipps moved from Illinois’ Oak Park to Scottsdale, Arizona, with her family. Then, after graduating from high school, she started to study at Loyola Marymount University. Yet Philipps aspired to act, leading to her scoring her debut television role.

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Specifically, Philipps featured in Saving Graces in 1999. Stardom beckoned, too, after she took on the leading role of Kim Kelly in Freaks and Geeks, with the actress ultimately appearing in all 18 episodes of the cult comedy.

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After that, Philipps starred in The Smokers alongside Keri Lynn Pratt and Dominique Swain before featuring in a 2000 episode of Malcolm in the Middle. And from there, she began her time in Dawson’s Creek, making her debut in season five and appearing in nearly 50 episodes by the time the series ended.

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Then, following Dawson’s Creek’s finale in 2003, the cast went their separate ways and on to other projects. When the series celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, though, Entertainment Weekly brought the stars back together again for the first time since that final episode. And from there, the group proceeded to reflect on the show.

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“I think we’ve all sort of seen each other over the years but not everybody all together,” Holmes told the magazine in an interview published online in March 2018. “And never for long enough.” Meanwhile, Williamson, who was also part of the chat, gave his own thoughts on the show.

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“I run into James and Josh [and] Katie [and] Michelle, and I just get a big smile on my face,” Williamson said. “It’s just a very, very special time in my life.” It seemed, too, that Dawson’s Creek’s filming location of Wilmington, North Carolina, had helped the cast somewhat.

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“It was like growing up together,” Meredith Monroe, the actress who played Andie McPhee, recalled. “I felt like I was so grateful that [Dawson’s Creek] was shooting in Wilmington. We all got to really connect in a way that I don’t think we would have had we been in New York or LA.”

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At that point, the discussion turned towards the show’s dialogue, which did have its detractors at the time. In particular, John Wesley Shipp, who portrayed Dawson’s dad, Mitch Leery, looked back at one particular incident when the subject came to a head.

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“I remember a big star, who shall remain nameless, said to Kevin, ‘Young people don’t talk like that,’” Shipp told Entertainment Weekly. “Kevin said, ‘Well, maybe not, but they’d like to.’ We had a feeling that we were pioneering a different way of telling stories about young people.”

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Jackson, too, explained why he had enjoyed the show’s scripts throughout its run. “Kevin never insulted the audience and never insulted [the actors] by dumbing us down,” he revealed to the magazine. “I loved that part [of Pacey].”

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And while speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mary-Margaret Humes even recalled a big moment for Van Der Beek. “I was actually with James when he signed his first autograph,” said the actress who took on the role of Dawson’s mom, Gail Leery.

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“My husband and I had taken James up to Universal City in LA to watch a movie,” Humes continued. “This girl came up to James and said, ‘Excuse me, aren’t you that guy on Dawson’s Creek? May I have your autograph?’ He signed it and said, ‘Oh my God, Mary-Margaret, that was my first!’ And, of course, my thought was, ‘Oh, honey, hang on.’”

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Then, eventually, the conversation turned towards Dawson’s Creek’s loyal fan base throughout the years. And at that point, Greg Berlanti, who had helmed the show from its third season, touched upon why so many viewers had fallen in love with it back then.

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“[Dawson’s Creek] was really wholesome, and it was really Americana,” Berlanti told Entertainment Weekly. “I think if people want a perfect snapshot of what it was like to come of age in the ’90s and be a young person in that moment, [then] Dawson’s will always be a time capsule of that.”

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Williams backed that up with her own assessment of the show’s lasting success, suggesting that they caught fans at the perfect moment. “I loved that we were able to get in there in those formative years for people,” she said. “That’s why people, I think, are so connected to it.”

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“When something affects you while you were growing up, it kind of stays in there forever,” Williams continued. “When you’re so permeable and open and trying to figure out who you are and what’s going on, whatever reaches you in those moments really becomes part of you.”

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After Dawson’s Creek had ended, though, the main cast members’ careers all went in interesting directions. Van Der Beek in particular had to battle past some unfortunate typecasting in the following period. However, he’s since appeared in a number of TV and film projects, including Alexander Payne’s Downsizing in 2017.

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Meanwhile, Jackson featured in several movies after the show came to a close, such as Cursed, Bobby and Racing Stripes. He also returned to television in 2008 in sci-fi thriller Fringe and took on a key role in Showtime’s The Affair from 2014.

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As for Holmes, she scored a significant role in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins in 2005, although she didn’t return for the sequel three years later. After that, the actress has been seen in various films and TV shows, including How I Met Your Mother and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. And most recently, she has worked on Ray Donovan and Logan Lucky.

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It could be argued, however, that Williams has had the most success since Dawson’s Creek’s end. Since 2005, the Montana native has been nominated for four Academy Awards for her roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain and Manchester by the Sea.

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And like her former co-stars, Philipps has also worked constantly in TV and movies since 2003. The actress has added Cougar Town and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles to her resume in the following years, as well as the Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty and HBO series Camping. In 2018, though, Philipps changed gears a little by becoming the host of her own talk show, which is simply entitled Busy Tonight.

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