James Van Der Beek Returns to Television in Viceland’s ‘What Would Diplo Do?’

What Would Diplo Do - James Van Der Beek

Almost 15 years after playing an aspiring director on Dawson’s Creek, James Van Der Beek (above) finally gets to work on the other side of the camera as showrunner and star of Viceland’s first fully scripted series, a mockumentary about the exploits of DJ and producer Diplo. “The real-life Diplo is incredibly smart, and confident enough in his talent that he’s allergic to taking himself too seriously [versus this version],” explains Van Der Beek (who previously spoofed himself on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23). “For our fake Diplo, we kept the musical genius part but gave him a million other blind spots…like recognizing reality and one-on-one human interaction.” And because this is the net’s inaugural scripted effort, the actor says “there was no template, nothing to compare it to or to copy, so they encouraged us to experiment.” The end result, he happily reports, is “fun and wild and thoughtful.”

What Would Diplo Do?, Series Premiere, Thursday, Aug. 3, 10/9c, Viceland