By Tim Stack
March 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM EDT
COLLIN ERIE for EW

The Beek from the Creek is back! James Van Der Beek, who for six seasons played the wavy-haired Dawson Leary on The WB’s phenom Dawson’s Creek, is back on television and playing a role perfect for him: himself. Following a series of self-spoofing spots on the comedy website Funny or Die and in Ke$ha’s “Blow” music video, the 35-year-old actor has a new scene-stealing role as James Van Der Beek — ­albeit a smarmy, douche-bag version of James Van Der Beek — on ABC’s slightly twisted sitcom Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (debuting April 11 at 9:30 p.m.). The ­comedy focuses on naive New York newcomer June (Dreama Walker), who moves in with the possibly sociopathic Chloe (Krysten ­Ritter), whose ex-boyfriend/best pal just happens to be James Van Der Beek. The Apartment 23 incarnation of the Beek is a womanizer who ­seduces fans to the strains of Creek’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” theme song and launches his own line of jeans with the slogan “Put your cheeks in a Beek.”

“I love doing it,” says the actor. “I love the ego assassination that comes with it. It’s just so healthy and so good for me.” EW talked to Van Der Beek about his Creek castmates, whether he would do a Creek reunion, and what it was like working with Ke$ha and some very unlucky unicorns.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did the Ke$ha video come about?

JAMES VAN DER BEEK: The director had pitched a concept to her in order to get a job and I was just included in the concept. So she said yes without having me. They called and asked if I wanted to do it and I had never done a music video before and I thought, “Why not now?” It’s in the vein of just letting go. Unicorns, lasers, make-believe rainbows, Ke$ha — why not? She was great. She was a hoot.

What did you think watching Michelle Williams at the Oscars? Is it like seeing someone you went to high school with?

Yeah. It makes me feel really happy. ABC asked me to do a pre-Oscar interview and I was talking about Michelle and I started thinking about the [Dawson’s Creek] pilot and everything Michelle has been through and the reaction to her when the show first came out — because she was set up as the character you hate. I just started feeling so warm and fuzzy inside. It was like I had three glasses of wine. Just really, really happy for her.

NEXT PAGE: Van Der Beek on Katie Holmes. Plus: Two bonus photos of Van Der Beek from EW’s photo shoot

I’m sure everyone asks you about Katie Holmes.

I find when most people ask me about that they don’t really care what I think — they wanna say what they think.

When you see Katie now, is that the same Katie you knew years ago?

In some ways, yeah. She seems a little more mature, to be honest with you. I think people transpose whatever preconceptions they have about the whole thing onto whatever behavior they see. Honestly, I don’t see a big shift or difference. It’s her, but a little more mature and I think comfortable in her skin.

Would you ever do a Dawson’s Creek reunion?

I mean, if somebody came up with a brilliant idea how to do it, why not? I always love that Michelle is like, “I definitely wanna do it! I’m in!” which is so easy for her to say because her character is dead. I always smile when I see that. [Laughs]

For more with James Van Der Beek, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

Read more:

James Van Der Beek is a lean, jean-wearing parody machine — VIDEO

ABC’s ‘Apartment 23’ wicked first ad — EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

James Van Der Beek on his ‘Franklin & Bash’ guest spot: ‘I always thought Mark-Paul Gosselaar and I were the same person’

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