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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Image Credit: Danny Feld/TNT

James Van Der Beek and Mark-Paul Gosselaar will appear together on television for the first time in tonight’s episode of Franklin & Bash. And if you think it’s wrong that the two former teen icons (and sort-of doppelgangers) have never collided, join the club, Van Der Beek tells EW.

“After years of being confused for one another, we actually met. I always thought we were the same person. It wasn’t until I saw him on set that I realized we weren’t,” he jokes. Van Der Beek guests tonight on an episode that finds Peter (Gosselaar) representing his ex-girlfriend’s fiancé after he is accused of solicitation. “What’s funny is that the more [our characters] talked, the more we found out how similar we are. It trips us both out,” says Van Der Beek. “There’s a line that Breckin Meyer’s character has in the episode where he says, ‘Well, clearly Janie has a type.’” 

For the purposes of this role, Van Der Beek is what he calls “a buttoned-up” guy, a far cry from the character viewers will be seeing in ABC’s fall comedy, Apartment 23, in which he plays a spoof of himself. Don’t look for any of his Van Der Memes, however, in either role. “The memes were something that were tossed out on an afternoon — I’d forgotten,” Van Der Beek says, laughing heartily. “But I guess they were put out there and they’re not going away — which is just fine. But they don’t enter into my work process at all.” The hilarious Funny or Die spot did give way to unexpected job offers, though.

“After the Funny or Die stuff came out, I started getting offers for comedies. The drama, you expect because that’s what I’ve done before. But the comedies, getting offers for that, was a new experience and one I relish,” he said. “I like being a guest star because you can jump in and do something really different and then you’re done. Then you go do something else.”

Van Der Beek’s episode airs tonight on TNT at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Follow Sandra on Twitter @EWSandraG

Read more:
TNT renews ‘Franklin & Bash’ for second season
James Van Der Beek talks Ke$ha, killing unicorns, and playing himself
James Van Der Beek launches James Van Der Memes

Comments (15 total) Add your comment
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  • Templar

    I don’t see the similarity, but OK.

    • Ann

      Neither do I. Their faces aren’t similar and they weren’t on similar TV shows, so I don’t understand the comparison.

    • Chris

      I also don’t see the comparison. The two shows couldn’t be more different. They also look nothing alike. Mark is so dreamy and James is kinda cute in a dorky way.

  • Bob

    You know it!

  • Eve

    Zach Morris and James Van Der Beek together – Yes please!

    • Eve

      I meant to say Zach Morris and Dawson Leery together – Yes please!

      • Chris

        Could you imagine Dawson from Dawson’s Creek and Ephram from Everwood on a show together? Two of the whiniest characters that were ever on TV.

      • Paula

        At least Eprham from everwood had some reason to be whiny (his mom dies, he didn’t knew his dad until they came to everwood, the girl he likes has her boyfriend in a coma, you know… normal stuff), but Dawson was just irritating.E

  • Tookie

    Watching it now and they don’t look at all alike.

  • Jen E.

    I guess I can see somewhat of a bone structure resemblance (VDB’s face is longer) but — as a devotee of both SBTB and DC — it never occurred to me before.

  • Ap

    It’s not a spitting image but there are similarities.

  • I

    Please…like Dawson Leery ever had any of Zacks swag!

    • Kimberly

      That kind of made me do a spit take. I love you right now.

  • chase

    Uhhh… I don’t see it. But I’m a huge fan of both shows and both actors. Would love for Van Derr Beek to replace the short guy.. Man he blows.

  • my swatch collection

    You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

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