More James Van der Beek Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for The Rules of Attraction)James Van der Beek had fate on his side for his entrance into the acting world, but it has been his dedication and talent that earned him a leading role in Dawson's Creek and breakthrough feature film roles.
Prior to The Rules of Attraction, Van Der Beek starred opposite Dylan McDermott in Texas Rangers. He also made a cameo appearance in Kevin Smith's recent Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as well as a starring role in Todd Solondz's controversial Storytelling, opposite Selma Blair.
Suffering a mild concussion when he was 13 years old, the athletic Van Der Beek was not permitted to play on the football team that year. So, for the first time, he decided to try out for the school play and landed the lead role of Danny Zuko in the school's production of Grease. Bitten by the acting bug, he continued to do local theatre in his hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut.
He was still focused on acting at age 16, so his mother agreed one summer to travel the three hours each way into New York City for him to pursue acting professionally. The next year, he was cast in the off-Broadway play Finding the Sun, which was written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee. He describes this as the defining experience for him as an actor, and commuted six hours every day during the limited three-month run for rehearsals and performances in the middle of high school.
Van Der Beek's first on-screen performance came with a role in the 1995 film Angus, and he was featured in I Love You...I Love You Not with Claire Danes. His first major starring role was in the box-office hit Varsity Blues, which earned him a 1999 MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance. He also made a cameo appearance in Scary Movie, which earned him an award in a movie awards poll for MTV.com.
A dean's list student, Van Der Beek received an academic scholarship from Drew University in Madison, N.J. where he studied English until the call came from Dawson's Creek. In what little free time he has, he enjoys writing and playing all kinds of sports.
Bio courtesy Lionsgate Films for "The Rules of Attraction" (08-Aug-2002)