James Van Der Beek

Cool off from the summer heat with NBC's The Storm (Sunday, July 26, 9/8C), a dark weather-disaster miniseries. Among the familiar TV faces in the cast is Dawson's Creek alum James Van Der Beek.

Van Der Beek plays scientist Kirk Hafner, who's tasked with saving the world when an eccentric billionaire (Treat Williams) tests a weather-creation machine with catastrophic results.

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Van Der Beek told TVGuide.com that he was drawn to the project. "I was fascinated by the idea [of someone who] created technology with the best of intentions and somebody else took it [to use] for their own power," he says. "It's a guy trying to do the right thing when the right thing isn't entirely clear."

Shooting the miniseries, which airs over two consecutive Sunday nights, was stormy to say the least. "There's a ton of action; I was outside underneath the rain towers about every night. It was a very wet shoot for sure," Van Der Beek says.

One storm Van Der Beek has already survived is being in the spotlight at a young age, and coincidentally, so has one of his miniseries castmates, Luke Perry. When asked if the two discussed their similar television careers, Van Der Beek admitted, "I tried to get as much out of him as I could. He's a little bit further past it, but [it] was really interesting to talk to somebody who's been through something so unique like that."

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Similarly, Van Der Beek has come to a place of appreciation for his days on Dawson's Creek after "stepping away from it for a while...The hours were so intense and the opportunities come so fast and furious. It started for me at age 20 so I wasn't in the place of being able to handle everything that was thrown at me."

So what advice does he have for today's young heartthrobs? "Focus on the work, keep good people around you, and don't believe the hype, good or bad."