James Van Der Beek is still best known for portraying the lovestruck Dawson Leery on "Dawson's Creek," but since graduating from that show he's taken on much darker roles. He's played a jaded drug dealer in "The Rules of Attraction," a dissociative serial killer on "Criminal Minds" and a cocaine-addled film director on "One Tree Hill." In his new movie, "Formosa Betrayed," he plays an FBI agent on an international hunt for the truth.
"Formosa," which comes out February 26, follows Jake Kelly (Van Der Beek) as he looks into the murder of a Taiwanese-American professor on U.S. soil. The investigation eventually brings Kelly to the victim's homeland, where he is given a crash course in Taiwan's tangled political history. As the search for the killer deepens, Kelly clashes with the U.S. State Department, the Chinese Mafia and the Republic of China, which has claimed governance over Taiwan.
Van Der Beek described his character as someone who "finds himself caught in this impossible situation, so he's got to essentially make some really tough calls." He added that making the movie taught him about the complex historical relationship between Taiwan and China. "I wasn't familiar with any of the history about it — I was totally ignorant," he told MTV News.
The film, set in the 1980s, holds extra significance to Van Der Beek because of how important the story was to the people behind it. "It was amazing," he said. "A lot of movies you do because they're fun, they make people forget about their day. This one, the financiers were thanking me for doing it with tears in their eyes."
Did the many conspiracies unraveling over the course of "Formosa," which is inspired by actual events, cause Van Der Beek to become more of a suspicious person?
"You know, I'm not big on conspiracy theory," he said. "It does really kind of get my blood going when I find out there really are conspiracies that actually happened."
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