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James Van Der Beek Explains His Notorious ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Crying Face

James Van Der Beek on 'Dawson's Creek' crying face
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images/Columbia TriStar Television

James Van Der Beek played introspective and sensitive aspiring filmmaker Dawson Leery between 1998 and 2003 on the teen drama ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ But, these days, his most famous role has been reduced to a four second GIF clip of Dawson crying, which has become something of an internet sensation.

Van Der Beek certainly has a sense of humor about this development, spoofing the cry face in the Funny or Die sketch ‘Vandermemes.’ So he obviously had no problem discussing the genesis of the now notorious facial expression with The Huffington Post, revealing that he initially wasn’t supposed to cry in the scene, in which Katie Holmes’ character breaks up with him. But, like any good teen drama actor, he improvised.

It wasn’t scripted, I don’t think. I mean, it was appropriate for the scene,” Van Der Beek explained. “So I remember being completely surprised by it because it was completely sincere. The fact that it’s being used to mock me now, I think it’s so funny.”

Van Der Beek’s next project is playing himself on the sitcom ‘Don’t Trust the B___ in Apt 23,’ which premiers Wednesday at 9:30pm on ABC. Given the 35-year-old’s recent embrace of self-parody, don’t be surprised if his unusually emotive face becomes part of the storyline. Check out the famous cry face video below.

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