Before Joey and Dawson and Jen and Pacey...
Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson had to audition to star in Scream writer Kevin Williamson’s coming-of-age TV drama, Dawson’s Creek. Little did they know that it would change their lives and the television landscape forever. Here, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere on Jan. 20, 1998, we consider what might’ve been with a review of the actors who auditioned for the main roles (or have been long-rumored to have auditioned) but didn’t make the cut.
The Cruel Intentions actress was nearly the girl across the creek. “I really loved Selma until, of course, I got the infamous videotape from the basement of the Holmes family in Toledo, Ohio,” creator Kevin Williamson told EW. “And when that video showed up, it changed my whole life.”
Katherine Heigl auditioned for Jen Lindley after Steve Miner, who directed the pilot of Creek and Heigl’s 1994 film My Father the Hero, brought her in. Williamson told EW, “She looked slightly older at that time. Even though she was younger, I just think she was more mature. She gave a great audition, I remember we were all sort of like, ‘Wow, she’s good.'” But then Michelle Williams “walked in and she came across as an angel.”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
In December 2017, the Modern Family actor revealed he took a stab at playing Dawson by posting a photo with James Van Der Beek. “Trivia & Fun Facts: One of these guys auditioned for the role of ‘Dawson’ on Dawson’s Creek and did NOT get the part,” he wrote on Instagram.
Before starring on Sons of Anarchy, Hunnam tried out for a role on the Creek. He may not have gotten the part, but he did meet his now ex-wife, actress Katharine Towne, at the audition.
Before becoming Vinnie Chase on Entourage, Grenier had one heck of an awkward plane ride. “We were both testing for the same role and they sat us next to each other on the plane,” James Van Der Beek once recalled to HuffPo.
Entertainment Tonight once asked Brody about his auditions before The O.C. His response? “I can’t remember specifically, but some very early ones — the Power Rangers maybe, definitely Dawson’s Creek. I read with Scott Speedman and I didn’t get it.”
See the previous slide. Adam Brody said it, not us.
Could Don Draper have been Mitch Leery? “I was in the wrong rooms when I first got to L.A., because I would go and they would want me to play, like, James Van Der Beek’s dad,” Hamm told HuffPost. “And I was like, I think he’s older than me, or like, two years younger or something.”
Obviously, we know he made the cut — as Pacey. But Jackson also auditioned for Dawson. “There was a whole conversation about Josh Jackson being Dawson,” Kevin Williamson told THR. “When you go back and look at the script, Dawson was the underdog, the nerd, the video geek. In what high school do you see the video geek being the hot guy? I fell in love with Josh Jackson because he could read any role, Dawson or Pacey. But something wasn’t complete and that’s when the network said they didn’t see Josh as Dawson, and rightfully so. So, I went, ‘Okay, he’s Pacey,’ because I knew I wanted him in the show no matter what.”