‘Dawson’s Creek’: How Much Older Was Scott Foley (Cliff) Than Michelle Williams (Jen) in Season 1?

Like many series of the time, the ’90s-’00s hit show Dawson’s Creek often employed 20-somethings to portray its teenage characters. But that wasn’t the case for every actor, leading to the occasional age gap in those playing love interests. Read on to learn about one such example.

Michelle Williams become famous for starring in ‘Dawson’s Creek’

Michelle Williams in 'Dawson's Creek' (1998)
Michelle Williams in ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (1998) | Getty Images

Michelle Williams broke out as one of the four young stars of Dawson’s Creek. She portrayed Jen Lindley, a high school student who moves to Capeside, Massachusetts, from New York City in the pilot. Jen immediately attracts the attention of her neighbor, Dawson Leery, and befriends him, leading to an on-again, off-again romance.

During Dawson’s Creek‘s run, Williams made a handful of film appearances. But it wasn’t until the 2005 hit drama Brokeback Mountain that she became a major success, scoring her first Oscar nomination. She’s earned three more since, as well as an Emmy for her roles in the 2019 limited series Fosse/Verdon.

Scott Foley portrayed her love interest, Cliff Elliot, in Season 1

Though Dawson and Jen were immediately interested in one another, their romance took a little while to get started. Before it began, she went to a dance with Cliff Elliot, a senior. In addition to being jealous, Dawson doesn’t like Cliff because he’s in charge of the film class project, and Dawson sees him as a boring jock.

At the dance, Dawson confronts Jen. Soon after, they start hanging out and share their first kiss. They date for a short time, but their first go at a relationship ends after just a few episodes. Jen then dates Cliff, but she doesn’t find him particularly interesting. She ends things with him following a couple of dates.

Foley left ‘Dawson’s Creek’ for another WB show

Scott Foley, who portrays Cliff, was only in five episodes of Dawson’s Creek Season 1: “Dance,” “Kiss,” “Boyfriend,” “Double Date,” and “The Scare.” A couple of episodes later, the season ended, and though season 2 also takes place during the main characters’ sophomore year, Cliff isn’t around.

While there wasn’t much reason for the character to come back, Foley likely would have been too busy had he been asked to return. He was cast in the leading role of college student Noel Crane in Felicity, another WB young adult drama series that began airing in September 1998 along with Dawson’s Creek Season 2.

How old were Foley and Williams when they acted together?

Dawson’s Creek Season 1 was filmed in 1997. Then still a relatively unknown actor, Foley turned 25 in June of that year, so he played significantly younger both that series and Felicity. Conversely, Williams, who got her start as a teenager, was just 16 or 17 years old when they filmed their scenes together.

While Foley was very old to be playing a high school student, Williams’ youth was unique regarding how close she was to her characters’ actual age. James Van Der Beek (Dawson) was 20 when they started filming, while Joshua Jackson (Pacey) and Katie Holmes (Joey) were 18.