I'm James Van Der Beek. I put on makeup and pretend to be other people for a living. My new show Friends With Better Lives airs tonight at 8:30 pm on CBS. I hope you watch it, because diapers aren't free. Looking forward to chatting with you guys. Let's get started.



Comments: 1753 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

peepjynx1728 karma

I have to say, I adored you in "Don't Trust the B**** in Apt. 23" and I want, so much, for that show to come back.

_JamesVanDerBeek1332 karma

I appreciate hearing that. I still keep in touch with the cast and the writers of that show. I think it might have been a little to out there for the network we were on at the time. We joke around about doing a Christmas Special… the most demented Christmas special ever.

dwarf_wookie72 karma

Or a reunion?

I didn't discover the show until recently, but it's the best thing since the original arrested development. What have the writers gone on to do now? Anything similar? Did any of them come with you to friend with better lives?

_JamesVanDerBeek135 karma

Dave Hemingson, who developed Apt 23 with Natch and produced, wrote and directed on it, came aboard FWBL to produce and write with Dana Klein. The other writers are all gainfully employed elsewhere. They were picked off pretty quickly after that ship went down ;)

ensockerbagare1002 karma

Hey James! I want to have this picture on my debit card, but my bank is really anal and won't let me without your permission. Can I please have your permisson James?

_JamesVanDerBeek1270 karma

I think you have to make that face at the bank and see if they cave.

WorkFriendlyAcct250 karma


_JamesVanDerBeek392 karma

That one might get you arrested.

_JamesVanDerBeek603 karma

Thanks guys, that was fun! Some actors would be above plugging their show before they leave, but I am not one of them. Friends With Better Lives - tonight, 8:30pm/7:30c on CBS. Classic multi-camera sitcom shot in front of a live studio audience. We had a blast making it… hope you enjoy! Be safe, and be kind :)

PolanetaryForotdds476 karma

When did you think Dawson's Creek jumped the shark?

_JamesVanDerBeek1270 karma

When I had to convince Katie's character to wear a wire to snitch on her drug dealing dad because a molotov cocktail had been thrown through a window, I remember thinking, "What show am I on again?" But then we crossed back over and got back to more relationship stuff. Six head writers in six years will take you all over the map.

Artvandelay1241 karma

Why did the show go through so many leadership changes? Were there really constant worries about the show's creative direction or was it just typical network obsession with ratings and staying fresh to teens?

_JamesVanDerBeek410 karma

It's tough to remember back that far… but I think it was more a function of our writers being in such high demand that they were eventually wooed with offers their do create their own shows, or just a matter of someone coming into an already established show with a very specific voice and everyone realizing a few steps down the road that it just wasn't quite the right fit.

George_Hale14 karma

Six head writers? Kevin was there for season 1 and 2, so it's 4 in 6 years. That's the only thing i find silly about the first two seasons.

_JamesVanDerBeek110 karma

We had quite a bit of turnover in season 3 in the head writer dept.

ConnDeReplay441 karma

I just finished marathoning "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 for the umpteenth time and I miss it so much. How much fun did you have playing a fictionalized version of yourself?

_JamesVanDerBeek509 karma

Thanks! I loved doing that show, and getting to work with Nanatchka Khan and Krysten Ritter and everyone on that show. Playing a character with absolutely zero shame is really a lot of fun.

Badwolf_NYC208 karma

Arrigotto HEEEEEEEY!

_JamesVanDerBeek246 karma

Hahaha! Krysten, Eric Andre and I still say that to each other...

loomgnodd366 karma

What is your craziest fan stories? From nerve wracking fan mails to people following you around at night. ANYTHING.

On the other note, happy belated birthday! Mine is just a day before yours!

_JamesVanDerBeek1395 karma

Hey there fellow Pisces! Craziest fan story… hmm… I remember a woman following me out of the grocery store, wiping dirt off my car, holding up her hand and saying "I will take this home to my children." That felt outside the realm of normal adult behavior to me...

Artvandelay1788 karma

"Kids, Mom's home! And boy do I have a surprise for you! Remember that half-eaten sandwich I stole from Joshua Jackson at a restaurant last week? Well wait till you hear what I've got now."

_JamesVanDerBeek898 karma

HAHAHA! Right? I also remember driving and hearing screams, and it was because there was a Mom in a minivan full of girls chasing me through town. All the younger fan stories are sweet. It's the adults who get weird.

MiddleGrayStudios314 karma

I absolutely loved your role in Rules of Attraction as Sean Bateman. Don't suppose you've been in talks with Roger Avary over any future work with that role?

_JamesVanDerBeek209 karma

Thank you! I think Roger is a genius. He and I have talked about collaborating again many times… one of these days well will.

dayofthedead204257 karma

Hi James, Thanks for doing this ama!

Was it a lot of fun on the set of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? And what was it like working with Kevin Smith?

_JamesVanDerBeek461 karma

Kevin was super cool. Very thoughtful guy. Funny - that was one afternoon of my life, and yet people bring it up to me all the time. You never can tell what's going to stick...

lightning_balls241 karma

Mr. Van Der Beek, were you part of the creative process for Ke-$-ha's "Blow" music video ? or did she just call you and be like...lets have a laser fight with unicorns ?

_JamesVanDerBeek539 karma

The director, Chris Marrs, got the job by pitching his vision to her, and that vision included me with a laser gun shooting unicorns who bled rainbows. I was in a period in my career where I stopped worrying about what people might think and just started saying yes to anything I hadn't done before that sounded like it might be fun.

visionaryAVA341198 karma

how did you feel about getting referenced by Ving Rhames' character on The Goods?

_JamesVanDerBeek330 karma

My lawyer called me up, very nervous, and told me they were asking my permission to sign off on the scene. I'd worked with Ving (on a pilot that hadn't been picked up) previous to that, and so when I heard how Ving had referenced me, I laughed my ass off. I signed off immediately.

15chainz185 karma

How is "Friends With Better Lives" going to better than every other show out there?

_JamesVanDerBeek623 karma

Well… it's the only show I'm currently in, so… need I say more?

I probably do. Copy that.

We have a lot of fun. It's a classic sitcom, shot in front of a live studio audience. And we have Brooklyn Decker.

Aestheticpash133 karma

It'll kick you when you're down by showing you how great your life could be if you were a funny, interesting and highly attractive person living in a nice city. As a result we'll want more and more of it.

_JamesVanDerBeek504 karma

Exactly. Our goal is to establish our superiority by demoralizing you, thereby making you dependent on us for any ounce of joy you hope to experience in life ;)

teazelbranchlet168 karma

Hi James!

I actually met you a few years back when you were filming "Salem Falls" in Fergus. My friend and I were just hanging out behind the bank when you were filming a scene behind the diner and you happened to go and sit like 10 feet behind us. We both freaked out a bit ( because, small town, biggest thing that had ever happened) and finally managed to introduce ourselves (got our picture taken with you and you signed my copy of Dawsons Creek).

My question is do you ever get frustrated with people just coming up to you and asking for pictures/ autographs or disturbing the filming process? and What did you think of Fergus? We were all pretty excited to have you guys there, but I wondered how you felt about our town?

edit welp, this is going to get buried.

_JamesVanDerBeek238 karma

Not buried! As long as people are polite - and they usually are - I'm very happy to sign, take a pic, or just have a chat. When I'm with my kids I want to give them my full attention, and 99% of the time people totally get that. I know it's said all the time, but it's totally true - without fans, I don't get to do what I do. And I really do enjoy meeting people like you. It's part of the fun - getting an excuse to talk to people you won't otherwise get to meet. And Fergus was a sweet town. I have very pleasant memories of being there.

breaking_balls151 karma

Hey James,

Huge fan here with 2 questions:

  1. Are you actually any good at throwing a football?

  2. Are you actually friends, or even best friends, with anyone like Chloe from "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"?

Please answer because I don't want to wait... for our lives to be over.

_JamesVanDerBeek204 karma

  1. I can hold my own in a flag football game.
  2. I'm very good friends with Krysten Ritter, who is definitely as much fun as Chloe, but minus the psychopathic tendencies.

gypsywhisperer145 karma

My brother calls you "Beeks". Are you okay with this? Is this encouraged?

_JamesVanDerBeek301 karma

Haven't heard that one before. Has kind of a British vibe to it, no? James likey ;)

MiddleGrayStudios117 karma

I thought your role in Rules of Attraction as Sean Bateman was perfect. Just curious, were you actively looking for a role that deviated from your past work, or did Roger Avary convince you to join board? Seems like there were many teen TV idols whose images were taken and shattered in that film (in the best way possible).

_JamesVanDerBeek180 karma

That performance, for me, was really about finding an outlet for the spectrum of the human experience I didn't get a chance to channel while playing the most sensitive teenager on planet Earth. The whole thing felt like an exorcism. Roger's script was (and still is) one of the best I'd ever read… I think we were all probably in the position of wanting to spread our wings as actors beyond what was appropriate viewing for a primetime teenage audience because otherwise, we felt like were only telling part of the truth.

HiHoJufro112 karma

Is it VAN der beek, or van der BEEK?

vwwvwwv170 karma

Een echte Nederlander zegt van der BEEK.

A real American says VAN der Beek.

An angry drunk person yells VAN DER BEEK!!!

_JamesVanDerBeek288 karma

In college, the "Beek" seemed to be optional. My nickname there was "Van Der - and then any insult, name, adjective etc anyone felt like throwing at the end of it. So… pronounce it however you like. I pronounce it the American way.

OakwoodBunny109 karma

Hey James, I really loved your appearance on Criminal Minds - great performance! How much fun was it stepping outside the usual bounds of the characters that you generally play?

_JamesVanDerBeek130 karma

Thank you! That one was fun because it was a challenge, and it was completely supported by the writing. The more you broke those three characters down, the more sense they made… It was a tough shoot - very cold, and psychological demanding, but it did feel satisfying, in a way. We actors are weirdly masochistic like that, I guess.

skineechef73 karma

Any thoughts about making another dark movie? "Rules of Attraction" comes to mind. Have you met Brett Easton Ellis? What was he like?

_JamesVanDerBeek92 karma

Brett is a friend, someone I like to check in with because we always keep it real. He's unafraid to offend, which makes him a very important voice in American culture, love him or hate him. But in person, I've actually found he can be as friendly as he is sharp.

hdlsa72 karma

How was the Eric Andre Show?

_JamesVanDerBeek94 karma

Eric Andre is a brilliant crazy person. And I love him.

Jb080458 karma

James, How was it working with Mewes and Smith in your cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? I always found the scenes with those two, you, and Jason Briggs to be hilarious. Also don't trust the b**** in apartment 23 was fantastic and should have never gotten cancelled.

_JamesVanDerBeek76 karma

Mewes was awesome. Sweet dude.

uberlad51 karma

What's your very best life advice?

_JamesVanDerBeek171 karma

Life's way too short to not have empathy for other people.

chrisncsu42 karma

Growing up near Wilmington, what were your experiences like filming there for Dawson's Creek? Do you ever get a chance to visit?

As someone who has seen Varsity Blues dozens of times and loves to drop random quotes from it, how often do you get bombarded with quotes from your roles? Does it annoy you or do you find it flattering?

_JamesVanDerBeek60 karma

Anytime people remember work you did that long ago, it's a compliment and something to be appreciated.

I love Wilmington. I grew up in Connecticut, but I call Wilmington my adopted home town. Looking forward to taking my family there some day…

Sisiwakanamaru5 karma

Hello, I have some questions for you:

  • What are some of the differences that you feel when you act in multi camera sitcom and single camera sitcom?

  • How Zoe Lister-Jones acts in real life? She was hilarious in the #FWBL pilot episode

Thank you

_JamesVanDerBeek4 karma

The best thing about multi-cam in front of the audience is that the audience tells you what works and what doesn't. That keeps the comedy honest. Zoe Lister-Jones is a juggernaut. She's an All-Star. Can't say enough about her. And she's just as funny in real life as she is on the show, just without so much of the tough, crispy shell. She's actually quite sweet.