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Art emulated life on the set of Dawson’s Creek, at least as far as Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Pacey’s (Joshua Jackson) broken friendship was concerned. While fans have always blamed the character’s fading bond on the love triangle between them and Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), it turns out that some of that on-screen tension stems from real-world emotions (via Cheatsheet). Early on, Van Der Beek and Jackson’s real-life relationship wasn’t nearly as amicable. When the writers realized that the actors didn’t get along, they began to purposefully write their characters apart. That decision left plenty of room for the Pacey/Joey romance to blossom, which was an unexpected tidbit for the writers (via Vanity Fair).
Although the writers of “Dawson Creek” were working towards a romance between Dawson and Joey – childhood friends with an intense fixation on the concept of soul mates – they couldn’t help but notice the chemistry between Jackson and Holmes, which eventually became real met lives (unknown to much of the crew). From Season 1, they started thinking about how to fit that into the story, but initially held back. Showrunner Greg Berlanti shared his reasons for Joey and Pacey’s first kiss with Vanity Fair. “I’ve always loved the Camelot-like story of two close friends and the love story that develops between them.” Ultimately, Joey and Pacey’s romance changed the bond between Dawson, Pacey and Joey forever. In real life, however, cast members’ relationships are just as complex — if not more so.
James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson are now friends
Though James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson didn’t get along during the Dawson’s Creek series, it seems the former co-stars are much closer today. Over the years, the actors have popped up on each other’s social media accounts, usually accompanied by a heartfelt (or humorous) caption. The most famous recall came when Jackson posted a photo of him crying in his role on The Affair, with Van Der Beek’s face endlessly crying (inspired by Dawson’s breakup with Joey). “I come for your crown @vanderjames,” Jackson captioned the photo (via US Weekly).
That same year, the cast shot special covers for Entertainment Weekly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Dawson Creek,” and the accompanying interview prompted a surprising claim from James Van Der Beek: He’s Team Pacey. While discussing the show’s controversial finale, which revealed Pacey and Joey ended up together, Van Der Beek said, “I don’t know, it felt right to me. It seemed like it made more sense.” However, when the interviewer asked Katie Holmes for her opinion, Van Der Beek interjected, “Katie’s in the hot seat.” Meanwhile, Jackson jokingly replied, “She’s not allowed to have an opinion.” Ultimately, Holmes settled on neutral ground, though Jackson was quick to agree to the show ending. “Yes, of course I have.” He added, “My vanity knows no bounds.”
Dawson Creek’s exclusive group chat
Despite the loose relationship between the main cast nearly 20 years after the end of Dawson’s Creek, not everyone who appeared on the show feels so at ease. Busy Phillips, who played Joey Potter’s college roommate Audrey Liddel, has shared some complicated feelings about her time on the teenage soap opera.
In 2018, the actress wrote in her memoir This Will Only Hurt A Little that her experience on Dawson’s Creek was different than her previous show Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks. The cast hung out in their previous job, but the cast of “Dawson’s Creek” didn’t. “Maybe it was when the show started, but by season five when I showed up, the main cast didn’t hang together as much and they obviously had a pretty intense dynamic,” he wrote to Phillips (via Cheatsheet). The actress and author also shared that she finds it difficult to bond with Holmes. “Katie was very sweet but we didn’t spend that much time together.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Phillips is any closer to most leading actors these days. That same year, Phillips shared that she and Michelle Williams, who played Jen Lindley on the show, are not part of the cast’s group chat because they may have missed the memo. “I don’t know why we’re not in it, but we aren’t. Maybe they think we’re okay,” she told US Weekly.