Celebrity Then and Now
Joshua Jackson
Previously Known For: As Pacey Witter in Dawson’s Creek and as Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks
Currently Known For: As Cole Lockhart in The Affair
Joshua Jackson
Previously Known For: As Pacey Witter in Dawson’s Creek and as Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks
Currently Known For: As Cole Lockhart in The Affair

“I hate people saying anything stupid. I don’t really suffer fools very well at all. When people are acting like idiots, not that I’m not guilty of doing the idiotic thing myself from time to time, but when people say stupid things, it stresses me out.” A Hollywood heartthrob best known for his mischievous charm as Pacey Witter on the popular teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, in the late 1990s, Joshua Jackson has found staying power in the business over the last three decades while proving he only gets better looking and even more talented with time! Don’t believe us? Take a look at his steamy performance as Cole Lockhart in the Showtime series, The Affair… but first, let’s take a trip down memory lane for a closer look at his life and career!

Over a decade before he ever considered acting as a possible career, Joshua Browning Carter was born on June 11, 1978 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Although his parents later settled down in Los Angeles, California, Jackson returned to his Canadian roots in his teens shortly after his parents divorced when he was eight years old. “My parents getting divorced was obviously a very traumatic experience,” Jackson admitted. “And then after, it was just me, my sister and my mother, and we went at it alone. I went from being a very well-off little kid to having a couple rough years, to rebuilding, my mother did that. She and I are very close.”

In high school, Jackson’s independence and attitude blossomed alongside his interest in performing as he was later kicked out of Kitsilano Secondary School after repeatedly missing his first two classes every morning. Later fessing up to the real reason behind his absences during an interview with The New York Times, Jackson confessed that he stayed up well past his bedtime every night to watch The Jon Stewart Show. By the time his alarm rang in the morning, he was too tired to get ready for school, so he skipped his first classes to catch up on sleep. Luckily, his string of absences didn’t hurt his chances of seeing his dreams come true when the 13-year-old missed even more school after he landed his first film role in Crooked Hearts in 1991. He was then cast in the starring role of Charlie in a production of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where his talent caught the eye of casting director Laura Kennedy, who encouraged him to sign on with the William Morris Talent Agency.

With an agent working on his behalf, Jackson didn’t have to wait long to find work and was cast as Charlie Conway in the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures film, The Mighty Ducks, which was a huge hit and spawned two sequels—D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. Jackson’s career blossomed as he took on projects like Digger, Andre, Magic in the Water, and Robin Locksley before he made a cameo in the 1997 thriller, Scream 2. But, Jackson’s good luck was only beginning when he auditioned for and won the part of Pacey Witter on a new teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, starring James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery, Katie Holmes as Joey Potter, and Michelle Williams as Jen Lindley.

Dawson’s Creek was a huge hit for The WB and ignited a craze for teen-themed dramas throughout its six-season run from 1998 to 2003 while making Jackson and his costars overnight celebrities. Often included on Hollywood’s teen heartthrob lists, Jackson cashed in on his growing fame with appearances on the silver screen in Cruel Intentions, The Safety of Objects, The Skulls and Ocean’s Eleven but, by the time Dawson’s Creek ended in 2003, he was disenchanted with Hollywood. “I was quite burnt out,” he said. “Acting is a lot of work and on that show, we were doing 22 episodes a year. It’s a grind… I just wanted to stop.”

Spending the next year taking it easy and trying to figure out his future, Jackson rekindled his passion for acting during a production in London. In 2005, he moved to the United Kingdom and joined Patrick Stewart on the stage in A Life in the Theatre, which earned critical praise as Jackson snagged credits in films like Americano, Shadows in the Sun, Aurora Borealis, Bobby, Shutter and One Week, the latter of which he also produced. In 2008, he caught another huge break when he was cast as Peter Bishop in Fringe, which put Jackson back in the spotlight as one of the sexiest men on television over the next five years.

After wrapping up Fringe in 2013, Jackson landed back on his feet the following year when he was cast as Cole Lockhart in The Affair on Showtime, which was a far different experience than Dawson’s Creek or Fringe with the risqué nature of the show and the production style itself. “It’s much less time because there’s so much less to do,” Jackson said of The Affair. “By only doing 10 episodes and having nine or ten days to shoot each one, it’s an unbelievably luxurious amount of time coming from the schedule I had on network TV. It’s also a character-driven story. We’re not blowing up cars. There’s no guns. No chases. It’s just time to concentrate on getting the character right.”

Still developing his character today as The Affair moves into its fourth season, the 38-year-old Jackson is enjoying the laid-back schedule so much that he’s found time to make cameos in popular series like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Years of Living Dangerously. In 2016, he returned to the stage in a production of Smart People and, as of 2017, starred as James Leeds in the revival of Children of a Lesser God at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. As for his future in film, Jackson is still selective about his work saying, “At this point, it would have to be something good. I want to enjoy the process as much as just go to work.”

Apart from his work on The Affair, Jackson has made a few headlines over the last year after ending his 10-year relationship with actress Diane Kruger in 2016. Of course, Dawson’s Creek fans can’t help but hope that Jackson will rekindle his early romance with Katie Holmes who still says Jackson was her first true love. Of course, that brings up another question—will there ever be a Dawson’s Creek reunion? While Jackson isn’t totally opposed to it, he says there’s a few kinks to work out starting with Jen Lindley. “People always forget that Michelle Williams’ Jen character was killed off,” he says. “So, they really need to figure out a way around that. I guess she could come back as a ghost or they could do it like Dallas and have someone wake up and find her alive in the shower 20 years later…!” That just might work!

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