Varsity Blues: About The Cast

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James Van Der Beek portrays second-string quarterback Jonathan Moxon, who has a slightly irreverant approach to the game of football. Van Der Beek is quickly emerging as one of Hollywood's hottest actors and is the star of the hit television series, "Dawson's Creek." Van Der Beek began acting at age 13, performing in local theaters in his hometown of Chesire, Conneticut. By the time the young actor reached 17, he was starring in the off-Broadway production of "Finding the Sun," written and directed by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee.

In 1995 Van Der Beek made his first appearance on screen in a starring role in the comedy "Angus" opposite George C. Scott and Kathy Bates. Other motion picture credits include "I Love You... I Love You Not" with Jeanne Moreau, Claire Danes, and Jude Law and the upcoming independent feature film "Harvest."

JON VOIGHT stars as Coach Bud Kilmer, the hard-driving head coach of a West Texas high school football team who believes winning is everything. Voight began acting in high school in Yonkers, New York. After training for the stage at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, he made his Broadway debut in 1961 in the long-running Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music." He gained further experience on stage in such theatrical productions as Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" and Frank D. Gilroy's "That Summer - That Fall" before making his film debut in 1967.

The actor was catapulted to fame when he earned his first Academy Award(tm) nomination as well as New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, for his portrayal of a naïve hustler in John Schlesinger's "Midnight Cowboy." After memorable performances in films such as "Catch-22," "Deliverance" and "The Odessa File," Voight was honored with an Oscar® for Best Actor for his indelible performance as a disabled and bitter veteran who finds love in "Coming Home." This performance also earned him a Golden Globe Award(tm), Cannes International Film Festival Awardª, and New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Awards(tm) for Best Actor.

He then went on to star in films such as "The Champ," "Lookin' to Get Out" (which he also produced and co-wrote), "Table for Five," (on which he also served as producer), "Desert Bloom" and "Runaway Train," which brought him his third Academy Award(tm) nomination.

More recently, Voight has appeared in the blockbuster "Mission: Impossible" as Jim Phelps, "Rosewood," "Anaconda," Oliver Stone's "U-Turn," Keenan Ivory Wayans' action-thriller "Most Wanted," Michael Mann's "Heat," Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation of John Grisham's "The Rainmaker" and "Enemy of the State." Upcoming, he will appear in John Boorman's "The General." His television credits include the recent Showtime movie "The Fixer," "Convict Cowboy," "Chernobyl: The Final Warning," "The Last of His Tribe," "Return to Lonesome Dove" and "Noah's Ark" for NBC. Voight made his directorial debut with the television film "Tin Soldier."

PAUL WALKER stars as Lance Harbor, star quarterback for the West Canaan Coyotes. Walker's film credits include Gary Ross' "Pleasantville," with Joan Allen, Reese Witherspoon, Tobey McGuire, Jeff Daniels and Bill Macy; "Brokedown Palace," with Claire Danes; and "Meet the Deedles," with A.J. Langer and Steve Van Wormer. Walker will be seen in "She's All That" for Miramax Films with Freddy Prinze Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard to be released in January 1999.

RON LESTER is Billy Bob, the stalwart yet sensitive and fun-loving lineman for the Coyotes football team who's never far from his companion, pet pig Bacon. Lester re-teams with Brian Robbins, having appeared in the director's hit film "Good Burger" as burger-flipping cook "Spatch". Other feature film credits include "Dill Scallion" with Jason Priestley, "Love in the Loo" and "Howl at the Moon." The comedian and actor has made the comedy club scene with stand-up performances at such clubs as The Laugh Factory, Melrose Improv, Punchline and The Ice House. Lester has also guest-starred on "The Chris Leary Show" as well as made regular appearances on Nickelodeon's "All That." Lester has appeared in numerous stage productions in his native Georgia including "Oliver Twist," "West Side Story," "Babes in Toyland" and "Music Machine."

SCOTT CAAN plays Tweeder, a high school football player whose passion for the game is matched only by his desire to party. A native of Los Angeles, Caan has appeared in numerous independent features including "Bongwater" and "Nowhere to Go," premiering at 1998's LA Independent Film Festival and Santa Barbara Film Festivals respectively. Caan's credits also include Tony Scott's "Enemy of the State" and the upcoming James Toback film "Black & White" with Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller. He also appeared in Greg Araki's "Nowhere"; "Lunchtime Special"; and "Aaron Galespie Will Make You a Star."

AMY SMART stars as Jonathan Moxon's high school sweetheart, Jules Harbor, who yearns for a life not overwhelmed by football mania. Smart will be seen in the upcoming film "Outside Providence," with Alec Baldwin and Sean Haddisey. Smart also starred opposite Lauren Dean and Jamie Kennedy in "Starf*cker," which premiered at the LA Independent Film Festival in 1998. Her other feature film credits are "Rune," "How to Make the Cruelest Month," "High Voltage," "Starship Troopers," "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" and "Classic Campfire Tales."

For television, Smart made appearances in MTV's "Rock The Vote" and the mini-series "Murderous Passion: The Diane Borchardt Story."

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Smart has been acting since she was a teenager and currently serves as a spokesperson for the non-profit organization Heal the Bay, dedicated to the preservation of Santa Monica Bay.

ALI LARTER plays Darcy, a cheerleader with a mission to leave small town Texas on the arm of a quarterback. A native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Larter began modeling at the age of 13 which enabled her to travel all over the world. Larter began her pursuit of an acting career shortly after moving to Los Angeles. She landed her first role on the television show "Chicago Sons," and has since guest starred on "Chicago Hope," "Just Shoot Me, " "Suddenly Susan" and "Dawson's Creek." On stage, she has appeared in productions of "Steel Magnolias," "Key Exchange" and "Fine Line."

Larter made her film debut in the independent feature "Casanova Falling" and will next co-star with Melissa Joan Hart in the feature film "Next to You."

ELIEL SWINTON makes his acting debut in "Varsity Blues" in the role of Wendell, a high school football player with dreams of the NFL. Discovered by director Brian Robbins while working as a production assistant in Los Angeles, Swinton had never acted before but his experiences as a professional running back mirror those of his character in the film.

At Montclair Prep High School in Van Nuys, California, Swinton captured the attention of countless university recruiters while shattering several state and national records. Ranked nationally as the 5th best tailback in the United States, Swinton was named to the California Interscholastic Federation All-Time All-Star Team as well as Blue Chip Magazine's All-American First Team. Upon graduating from Montclair, Swinton was selected for the Shrine All-Star Team.

After an outstanding high school career, Swinton received a full scholarship to Stanford University, where he was voted as Stanford's Freshman Player of the Year. After graduating in 1997 with a B.A. in communications, Swinton joined the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent. His first season was cut short due to an injury that forced him to leave the sport prematurely.

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